Abstract ID: 3782

Primary Topic: Mind-body (including meditation and yoga)
Secondary Topic: Integrative Health and the Underserved
Tertiary Topic: Integrative medicine delivery models

Effects of Meditation and Music-Listening on Blood Biomarkers of Cellular Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease in Adults with Preclinical Memory loss: An exploratory randomized controlled trial (RCT)
Kim Innes, PhD, MSPH, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV, United States; Terry K Selfe , DC, PhD, University of Florida , Gainesville , FL, United States; Caitlin Montgomery, MPH, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV, United States; Hannah Bowles, MS, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV, United States; Sahiti Kandati, MPH, DDS, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV, United States; Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, , Albuquerque, NM, United States; Zenzi Huysmans, MS, West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Morgantown, WV, United States

Late Breaker: No


Telomere length (TL), telomerase activity (TA), and plasma beta-amyloid (Aβ) levels have emerged as possible predictors of cognitive decline and dementia, and as potential targets for intervention. In this pilot RCT, we assess 1) the effects of two 12-week relaxation programs on TL, TA, and plasma Aβ in older adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD); and 2) the relationship of changes in these biomarkers to improvements in cognitive function, psychosocial status, and quality of life (QOL).

Methods/Session Format

Adults with SCD were randomized to a Kirtan Kriya Meditation (KK) or music listening (ML) program and asked to practice 12 minutes/day for 12 weeks. Blood samples were collected at baseline and 3 months to measure plasma Aβ(38/40/42) and peripheral blood mononuclear cell TL and TA. At baseline, 3 and 6 months, we also measured memory and cognitive function, perceived stress, sleep, and mood and QOL using validated instruments.


Baseline blood samples were available for 53 participants (25 KK, 28 ML). Both KK and ML groups showed increases in TA, although changes were significant only among those above the 30th centile in practice adherence. Changes in TL and TA varied by baseline values of these markers, with greater increases among participants with respective values ≤50th centile (p’s for interaction<0.006). The ML group showed significantly greater declines in Aβ40 than did the KK group, and greater increases in Aβ42/40 ratio. Both groups improved significantly in memory, cognitive function and psychosocial status (p’s≤0.05), with improvements in stress, mood, and QOL greater in the KK group (p’s≤0.08). Increases in plasma Aβ levels were significantly correlated with improvements in cognitive function, mood, stress, sleep, and QOL at both 3 and 6 months; these relationships were particularly pronounced in the KK group. Increases in TL and TA were also significantly associated with improvements in certain measures of psychosocial status and cognitive function.


Practice of simple mind-body therapies may alter plasma Aβ levels, TL, and TA. Increases in these biomarkers were associated with improvements in cognitive function, sleep, mood, and QOL, suggesting a possible functional relationship.