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Archive for ‘Increases gray matter in the brain’

Changes Brain Structure

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-70Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered that meditation directly corresponds with structural changes in the brain. Participants practiced mindfulness meditation for thirty minutes each day for eight weeks. The brain images taken at the end of the eight-week program had noticeably changed from those taken before the program. These images showed increased growth in the areas of the brain associated with learning and memory, and decreased growth in the area associated with anxiety and stress responses. The scientists suspect that a longer meditation program would also affect the brain tissue that controls self-awareness. Meditation causes powerful structural changes in the brain, yielding positive results related to participants’ overall well being.

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Builds Up Bigger Brain Areas

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-71UCLA researchers have determined that long-term meditation can cause certain areas of the brain to enlarge. Prior to the study, researchers were already aware of the benefits of meditation, such as reducing stress, improving focus, and benefiting the immune system. However, upon observing the MRI brain images of long-term meditators, they discovered growth in the hippocampus and increases in gray matter in brain areas associated with controlling emotions. Researchers explained that due to the above-average gray-matter density of their brains, long-term meditators are more easily able to control their emotions. They next plan to investigate the correlation between meditation and an increased number of neurons in the brain.

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Thickens Cortical Regions

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-72Researchers from Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that meditating regularly can cause increased cortical thickness in the brain. Participants were regular Buddhist Insight meditators who meditated for forty minutes each day on average. Their brain images displayed cortical regions of greater thickness than those of non-meditators, in areas of the brain associated with sensory, auditory, visual, and internal perception. Increased cortical thickness benefits heart rate and breathing, and is predicted to slow aging of the frontal cortex. Researchers suspect that meditation as well as other mind-body exercises like yoga can increase the amount of gray matter in anyone’s brain.

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