The protective effect of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices on ageing: Hypotheses, models and experimental implementation.

Le 02 Nov 2021

Auteur : Lutz A, Chételat G, Collette F, Klimecki OM, Marchant NL, Gonneaud J

Année : 2021

Journal : Ageing Res Rev 1872-9649

PubMed Id : 34718153

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) represents a major health and societal issue; there is no treatment to date and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this disease are not well understood. Yet, there is hope that AD risk factors and thus the number of AD cases can be significantly reduced by prevention measures based on lifestyle modifications as targeted by non-pharmacological preventive interventions. So far, these interventions have rarely targeted the psycho-affective risk factors related to depression, stress, anxiety, and feeling of loneliness, which are all prevalent in ageing. This paper presents the hypothesis that the regular practice of mindfulness meditation (MM) and loving-kindness and compassion meditation (LKCM) in the ageing population constitutes a lifestyle that is protective against AD. In this model, these practices can promote cognition, mental health, and well-being by strengthening attention control, metacognitive monitoring, emotion regulation and pro-social capacities. Training these capacities could reduce the risk of AD by upregulating beneficial age-related factors such as cognitive reserve, and down-regulating detrimental age-related factors, such as stress, or depression. As an illustration, we present the Medit-Ageing study (public name Silver Santé Study), an on-going European project that assesses the impact and mechanisms of non-pharmacological interventions including meditation, in the ageing population.