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Effects of Meditation versus Music Listening on Perceived Stress, Mood, Sleep, and Quality of Life in Adults with Early Memory Loss: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Contact Information


Kim E Innes,

Alzheimer's disease; cognitive impairment; memory complaints; mind-body therapy; mood; quality of life; sleep; stress; subjective.


Background: Older adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) are at increased risk not only for Alzheimer's disease, but for poor mental health, impaired sleep, and diminished quality of life (QOL), which in turn, contribute to further cognitive decline, highlighting the need for early intervention. Objective: In this randomized controlled trial, we assessed the effects of two 12-week relaxation programs, Kirtan Kriya Meditation (KK) and music listening (ML), on perceived stress, sleep, mood, and health-related QOL in older adults with SCD. Methods: Sixty community-dwelling older adults with SCD were randomized to a KK or ML program and asked to practice 12 minutes daily for 12 weeks, then at their discretion for the following 3 months. At baseline, 12 weeks, and 26 weeks, perceived stress, mood, psychological well-being, sleep quality, and health-related QOL were measured using well-validated instruments. Results: Fifty-three participants (88%) completed the 6-month study. Participants in both groups showed significant improvement at 12 weeks in psychological well-being and in multiple domains of mood and sleep quality (p's≤0.05). Relative to ML, those assigned to KK showed greater gains in perceived stress, mood, psychological well-being, and QOL-Mental Health (p's≤0.09). Observed gains were sustained or improved at 6 months, with both groups showing marked and significant improvement in all outcomes. Changes were unrelated to treatment expectancies. Conclusions: Findings suggest that practice of a simple meditation or ML program may improve stress, mood, well-being, sleep, and QOL in adults with SCD, with benefits sustained at 6 months and gains that were particularly pronounced in the KK group.


Innes, K. E., Selfe, T. K., Khalsa, D. S., & Kandati, S. (2016). Effects of Meditation versus Music Listening on Perceived Stress, Mood, Sleep, and Quality of Life in Adults with Early Memory Loss: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD, 52(4), 1277–1298.





Conent Area

Kim E Innes

EWB-Related Construct

(4) quality of life;

Study Design

Species or Study Population

(5) RCT

Sex (%Female)


Age (Mean, SD)

60.58, 1.01

Younger Controls?


Longitudinal Data?


Sample Size



Meditation versus Music Listening intervention

Ethnicity (%white)


Inclusion Criteria

Adults at least 50 years old with (a) MCI or (b) SCD, defined as:
a) Physician confirmed diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at least 6 weeks ago and current exam within the past 12 months
b) Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) meeting the following criteria:
 1) presence of subjective cognitive deficits within the past 6 months;
 2) frequency of memory problems at least 1x/wk;
 3) able to give an example in which memory/cognitive problems occur in everyday life;
 4) belief that one’s cognitive capacities have declined in comparison with 5 or 10 years previously; and
 5) absence of overt cognitive deficits or dementia diagnosis
 6) concerns/worries regarding memory problems
For those with MCI, a study buddy willing to attend all assessment visits; For those with SCD and concerned about their ability to fully understand consent or complete questionnaires, study buddy willing to attend baseline visit and other assessments if needed
- Willing and able to complete the intervention and all assessments
- Willing to avoid new treatments other than the assigned intervention

Exclusion Criteria

Practiced meditation or other relaxation technique within the past year

Recently (within the last 6 weeks) changed dosage of cholinesterase inhibitors (e.g., donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne), rivastigmine (Exelon)) or psychotropic medication (e.g., anti-psychotics, tricyclics, SSRIs, MAOIs, anti-panic or anti-anxiety agents)
History of psychotic or schizophrenic episodes, major neurologic diagnosis (Parkinson’s, stroke, brain injury, epilepsy) or other condition that might impair cognition or confound assessments (e.g., cardiovascular event within the past 6 months (myocardial infarction, unstable angina, hospitalization for congestive heart failure, bypass surgery or angioplasty (coronary or carotid), TIA)
History of chemotherapy treatment within the past 10 years
Recent (within the last 3 months) serious physical trauma or diagnosis of serious chronic health condition requiring medical treatment and monitoring (e.g., uncontrolled hypertension, serious endocrine or pulmonary disorder, renal disease, active cancer treatment)
Not English-speaking
Participant in another intervention study within the past 30 days

EWB Measures

Psychological Well Being Scale (PWBS)

Non-EWB Behavioral

body mass index (BMI
10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)
Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)
health-related quality of life (36-item MOS Short Form-36 (SF-36)
Memory Functioning Questionnaire (MFQ)
Trail Making Test Parts A and B (TMT)
Credibility/Expectancy Questionnaire (CEQ)
Wechsler Digit-Symbol Substitution Test (DSST)

Physiological Measures


Brain IMaging Modality

Brain IMaging Paradigm


Brain Region/Circuit


Biological Measures


Other Neural Measures

Data Availability?


Data Avalability Details


Diagnostic Measures

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