Study Shows Prayer Tied To Prevention Of Alzheimer’s
The next time you’re passing a church, a mosque or a synagogue, you might want to pop in for a few moments. A new American-Israeli study has found that praying regularly can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50 percent.
The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., found that women, who have a significantly larger chance of developing forms of dementia – of which Alzheimer’s is one form – could stave off the disease through prayer. The findings confirm earlier studies that indicated religion can play a positive role.
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“We found that people with higher levels of spiritual well-being had a significantly slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” Yakir Kaufman, the head of the neuropsychiatric department at Herzog hospital in Jerusalem, told The Media Line.
The Israeli organization Melabev has ten centers serving about 600 Alzheimer’s patients for whom prayer is part of the daily routine. “If prayer is done in a center or a religious facility, it is communal and there is a social aspect,” Susan Sachs, the director of public relations and development at Melabev told The Media Line. “It gives hope and perspective, and for many people it helps retain their dignity. They’re doing something that they did all their lives.”
Melabev provides an alternative to institutionalizing Alzheimer’s patients by providing a full day of activities. Sachs estimates there are 100,000 people suffering from the disease in Israel. The centers provide them with laminated cards with the most popular prayers printed in large type, although many of the patients rely on memory, which also helps strengthen their cognitive function. While prayer has some cognitive elements, it strengthens emotional functioning even more.