Prayer may help stave off Alzheimer's disease

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

Our take: A study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has found that a habit of regular prayer can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by almost half. Researchers found that women, who are at a much higher risk of developing the disease than men, can possibly hold it off through prayer. People with a higher level of spiritual well-being had a slower progression of the disease, according to the research findings.

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.

“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.

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