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Daily prayer might reduce risk of dementia: study

(Xinhua)

09:13, July 27, 2012

JERUSALEM, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Praying regularly could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's by up to 50 percent, according to a recent joint Israeli-American study.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health Study showed that females who prayed regularly had 50 percent less chance of developing mild dementia or Alzheimer's.

The study, presented at a Tel Aviv conference last month, aimed at mapping factors that increase the risk of Alzheimer's, according to the Ha'aretz daily.

While the study did not detail the alleged connection between prayer and memory, researchers tried to explain their findings.

"Prayer is a custom in which thought is invested, and the intellectual activity involved in it may constitute a protective measure against the disease," Prof. Rivka Inzelberg, lead researcher from Tel Aviv University said.

The researchers had difficulty in determining the connection between prayer and Alzheimer's among men, since 90 percent of the male subjects said they prayed daily, thus skewing the sampling.

"However," Inzelberg said, "among the women, only 60 percent of the women prayed five times a day and 40 percent didn't pray regularly, so we were able to compare the data."

This is not the first study trying to map a link between religion and health.

In 2005, researchers concluded that adopting a religious or spiritual lifestyle slowed Alzheimer's progress.

Also, the Israeli research group, Assia, found the morbidity and mortality rates among infants were much lower in religious communities.

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