Yoga Increases Healthy Brain Marker
The researchers used brain imaging scans (CT) to measure the cortical thickness of 42 Brazilian women older than 59. Twenty-one of the subjects had practiced hatha yoga regularly for at least eight years. These women were compared to 21 other women matched for age and education who engaged in other physical activity comparable to hatha yoga.
The researchers found that the cortical thickness in the yoga practitioners was significantly greater in the left prefrontal lobe of the brain. This portion of brain gray matter is linked to awareness, attention, executive function and memory, suggesting that hatha yoga practice may be associated with cognitive preservation.
The scientists added, “The present results parallel those previously reported in which younger yoga and meditation practitioners had greater gray matter volumes than non-practitioners compared to non-practitioners in the following brain regions: larger gray matter volume in the right anterior insula and right inferior temporal gyrus.”