Saturday November 17, 2018

Daily meditation may keep you attentive in old age

"Meditation has the potential to alter longitudinal trajectories of cognitive change across a person's life," Zanesco added

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  • Meditation can help old people to stay attentive
  • Meditative practices can increase cognition
  • It can improve health overall

Want to stay attentive in your old age? Start doing meditation. Regular and intensive sessions over the course of a lifetime may help you to stay focused and attentive even in advanced years, according to a new study.

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Meditation can increase attention span. wisdonquterly

“This study is the first to offer evidence that intensive and continued meditation practice is associated with enduring improvements in sustained attention and response inhibition,” said lead author of the study Anthony Zanesco, now at the University of Miami.

“Meditation has the potential to alter longitudinal trajectories of cognitive change across a person’s life,” Zanesco added. The research evaluates the benefits that people gained after three months of full-time meditation training and whether these benefits are maintained seven years later.

Also Read: Stem Cells May Help To Stay Strong In Old Age

This study, published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, follows up on previous work by the same group of researchers at the University of California in 2011. The 2011 study assessed the cognitive abilities of a group of people who regularly meditated before and after they went on a three-month-long retreat.

After the first group’s initial retreat was over, the second group received similar intensive training. As part of this study, follow-up assessments were conducted six months, 18 months and seven years after completion of the retreats. During the last appraisal, participants were asked to estimate how much time over the course of seven years they had spent meditating outside of formal retreat settings, such as through daily or non-intensive practice.

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Meditative practices can improve cognition. Pixabay

The participants who had remained in the study all reported some form of continued meditation practice — 85 percent attended at least one meditation retreat and they practised amounts on average that was comparable to an hour a day for seven years. The participants again completed assessments designed to measure their reaction time and ability to pay attention to a task. IANS

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Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period.

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A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published Friday.

Children at 1 in 3 schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries.

Guinea-Bissau in West Africa has the worst school toilets while Ethiopian children fare worst at home, with 93 percent of homes lacking a decent toilet according to the report, released ahead of World Toilet Day on Monday.

toilets, students
Students arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012. VOA

“The message here is that water and sanitation affect everything,” WaterAid spokeswoman Anna France-Williams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If there’s no toilet in schools, children will miss lessons and it will have an impact on their growing up.”

Diarrhea, infection risk

A lack of proper sanitation puts millions of children around the world in danger of diarrhea, which kills 289,000 children younger than 5 a year, WaterAid said.

But some regions have started to clean up their act, notably South Asia, where access to toilets in schools has improved.

More than half the schools in Bangladesh now have access to decent toilets, while students in 73 percent of schools in India and 76 percent of those in Bhutan can access basic sanitation.

Akramul Islam, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Bangladeshi charity BRAC, said the country’s once-high levels of open defecation — using open ground rather than toilets — were now less than 1 percent.

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India’s plight in sanitation has not improved much since ages.
Pixabay

“Today, schools have separate toilets for girls and boys and the issue of menstrual hygiene is also being addressed,” he said. “This has happened because of initiatives taken by both the government, the NGOs and other stakeholders.”

Also Read: 3 HIV+ Students Banned From School in Indonesia

Improvement needed

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period, WaterAid said, urging greater investment in basic sanitation.

“If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now,” said Chief Executive Tim Wainwright. (VOA)