Deepak Chopra and Rudy Tanzi joined other experts in Chicago this week for Chicago Ideas Week and talked about their collaboration which has resulted in the launching of a new Clinical Trial to study the effects of deep meditation on those with memory loss.
Super Brain, their recent book, expands on their research and years of medical practice to show how to use the brain as a gateway for achieving health, happiness and spiritual growth.
Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D, is the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and director of the Genetcis and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). As head of the Alzheimer’s Genome Project, Dr. Tanzi codiscovered several Alzheimer’s disease genes, including the first and is the coauthor of the book Decoding darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Deepak Chopra, M.D., is the author of more than 65 books including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His medical training is in internal medicine and endocrinology and he founder of The Chopra Foundation.
Rudy and Deepak met at a urinal at a TED event (TED talks bring together those with ideas worth spreading to stimulate dialogue). Thus, Deepak says it was “karma” that brought the two of them together which is certainly going to have a positive impact for seniors as they tie together Rudy’s neurology research with Deepak’s mind and spiritual studies. The results are that they now know in the deepest state of meditation you can reduce the tangles that are found on the synapses in the brain when Alzheimer’s disease is present.
Deepak and Rudy were entertaining presenters at Chicago Idea’s Week and discussed the fact that we know our memories – imagine a picture of a red rose and you can see it. But the problem is that science has not yet figured out where we store this photo in our mind. We don’t know where the hard drive for these memories lies in the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and researchers now believe the disease begins perhaps decades before symptoms develop. In Alzheimer’s the nervew cells and their connections, which are called synapses, deteriorate mostly in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. The cerebral cortex is a very densely formed maze that is associated with higher mental functions such as reasoning, thought, sensation and motion. The hippocampus performs the role of processing information such as long-term memory and spatial memory (but we still don’t know where the picture of the rose is, remember).
However, both the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus lose mass and shrink as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. Meditation practice is one of the most scientifically proven ways to elicit the relaxation response and reduce stress and when someone is in the deepest state of meditation, research is showing this can reduce the tangles that form on the synapses of the brain when Alzheimer’s disease is present.
Senior caregivers can develop meditation skills to share with their senior clients and also use The Better Memory Kit which includes a meditation CD.