Praying May Heal More Than Just Your Soul |

Israeli-U.S. Study: Praying Regularly Could Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's

Study shows females who prayed regularly had 50 percent less chance of having mild dementia or Alzheimer's.

Dan Even
Dan Even
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Dan Even
Dan Even

Praying regularly can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and milder memory problems by 50 percent, according to a joint Israeli-American study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The study was aimed at identifying factors that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Researchers examined several aspects of the subjects' lives, including what they did in their spare time during their 20s and 30s. It turns out females who prayed regularly had 50 percent less chance of having mild dementia or Alzheimer's.

Lead researcher Prof. Rivka Inzelberg said they couldn't determine the connection between praying and Alzheimer's amongst men because 90 percent of their male subjects prayed daily. "But among the women, only 60 percent of the women prayed five times a day, as per Islamic custom, but 40 percent didn't pray regularly, so we were able to compare the data," Inzelberg explained.

The study did not characterize the connection between prayer and memory, but Inzelberg noted, "Prayer is a custom in which thought is invested, and the intellectual activity involved in prayer, beyond the content of the prayers, may constitute a protective factor against Alzheimer's."

The findings, presented at a Tel Aviv conference last month, also showed that 50 percent more women suffer memory problems than men and that formal schooling reduced the risk of Alzheimer's and memory impairments.

Other risk factors that were identified were high blood pressure, diabetes, excess fats in the blood and heart problems.

In addition, researchers said those who gardened in their youths also had a reduced risk of dementia, though they hadn't calculated the exact degree of influence.

This is not the first study suggesting a link between religion and health. In 2005 researchers concluded that adopting a spiritual or religious lifestyle slows down the progress of Alzheimer's. An earlier study showed that more people succumbed to heart problems and cancer in secular kibbutzim than in religious ones.

The Israeli group Assia found that the morbidity and mortality rates among infants was much lower in religious communities than in secular ones. And researchers who conducted another joint Israeli-American study postulated that the mortality rate was lower for Arab dialysis patients than Jewish patients as a result of spiritual and community support.

Read this article in Hebrew

A man praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, June 2012.Credit: Emil Salman



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott