Navigation Links
Meditation associated with structural changes in brain

The regular practice of meditation appears to produce structural changes in areas of the brain associated with attention and sensory processing. An imaging study led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers showed that particular areas of the cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain, were thicker in participants who were experienced practitioners of a type of meditation commonly practiced in the U.S. and other Western countries. The article appears in the Nov. 15 issue of NeuroReport, and the research also is being presented Nov. 14 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, DC.

"Our results suggest that meditation can produce experience-based structural alterations in the brain," says Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study's lead author. "We also found evidence that mediation may slow down the aging-related atrophy of certain areas of the brain."

Studies have shown that mediation can produce alterations in brain activity, and meditation practitioners have described changes in mental function that last long after actual meditation ceases, implying long-term effects. However, those studies usually examined Buddhist monks who practiced mediation as a central focus of their lives.

To investigate whether meditation as typically practiced in the U.S. could change the brain's structure, the current study enrolled 20 practitioners of Buddhist Insight meditation ?which focuses on "mindfulness," a specific, nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind. They averaged nine years of mediation experience and practiced about six hours per week. For comparison, 15 people with no experience of meditation or yoga were enrolled as controls.

Using standard MRI to produce detailed images of the structure of participants' brains, the researchers found that regions involved in the mental activities that characterize Insight meditation were thicker in the medi tators than in the controls, the first evidence that alterations in brain structure may be associated with meditation. They also found that, in an area associated with the integration of emotional and cognitive processes, differences in cortical thickness were more pronounced in older participants, suggesting that meditation could reduce the thinning of the cortex that typically occurs with aging.

"The area where we see these differences is involved in both the modulation of functions like heart rate and breathing and also the integration of emotion with thought and reward-based decision making ?a central switchboard of the brain," says Lazar. An instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School, she also stresses that the results of such a small study need to be validated by larger, longer-term studies.


'"/>

Source:Massachusetts General Hospital


Related biology news :

1. Increased risk of osteoporosis associated with gene that one in five people have
2. Signs of aging: Scientists evaluate genes associated with longevity
3. Radio-tracking associated with dramatic shift in water vole sex ratio
4. B cells are required for development of epithelial cancer associated with chronic inflammation
5. Reversal of role for a viral protein associated with the development of lymphoma
6. Researchers identify genes associated with lung transplant rejection
7. Forsyth scientists find three bacteria associated with oral cancer
8. HIV inserts into human genome using a DNA-associated protein
9. Whole-genome study at Johns Hopkins reveals a new gene associated with abnormal heart rhythm
10. Bocavirus infection may be associated with pneumonia in Thailand, especially in children
11. Breast implants not associated with cancer risk, study reports
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/1/2016)... 2016  Today, the first day of American Heart ... develop a first of its kind workplace health solution ... In the first application of Watson ... ), and Welltok will create a new offering that ... analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The effort ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, the ... pharma and publication industries, will provide the data management ... Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis measures ... whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as health ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... MINNETONKA, Minn. , Jan. 20, 2016   ... that supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is ... in 2015. MedNet,s significant achievements are the result of ... of) iMedNet eClinical , it,s comprehensive, ... --> --> Key MedNet growth ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTRV ), ... of targeted antiviral therapies, announced today that it will ... be held February 8-9, 2016, at the Waldorf Astoria ... & Healthcare Conference, taking place in New ... James Sapirstein , Chief Executive Officer of ContraVir, will ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... , ... Many of the engineers at FireflySci, Inc. have been manufacturing quartz ... from other cuvette manufacturers is their supercharged customer service and their extensive database of ... steady flow of inside information, they have recently revamped their manufacturing techniques to reduce ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... YORK and HOLLISTON, Mass., Feb. 3, 2016 ... HART ), a biotechnology company developing bioengineered ... trachea and bronchus, today announced that CEO ... BIO CEO & Investor Conference on Tuesday, ... New York City . HART,s ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... ... annual report which summarizes and analyzes nearly 750 unique supply chain notifications ... and analysis service. , Supply chain risk management practitioners subscribe to the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: