At the conclusion of the study, functional MRI was used to compare connectivity between areas of the brain as well as the size of the hippocampus. The study group showed an increase in the functional connectivity of the areas specifically impacted by dementia. Both groups showed an atrophy or shrinking in the hippocampus, but this was less in the study group.
The exciting findings of this study are that this population already showed mild cognitive dysfunction at the onset of the study, but with MBSR the decline was slowed as compared to the control group. As well, the study group also showed improvement in the areas of the brain that are specifically impacted as the disease progresses from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer's.
The study authors caution that this was a very small study group, 15 indivduals, and that the change in hippocampal volume was not statistically significant. But it does open the door for future research and offers an intervention that could have benefit without any risk of harm.