It is not surprising if the brain during meditation experience relaxation. What is surprise is that meditation may have long term effects on brain architecture that makes the brain always young and slow aging.
Sara Lazar and his team at Harvard University studied meditators, who has been practicing the art of meditation for 6 hours per week in nine years.
The researchers found that right anterior insula and prefrontal cortex in the brains of meditators turned out to be thicker than non-meditators of the same age.
Lazar believes that the process of meditation is what reverses the process of brain structures depletion that normally occur from time to time. Prefrontal cortex of the brain is central to the process of thinking and planning, and meditation can help the aging brain functions like a young brain.
Recently, a study from UCLA showed that people who meditated also had a strong connection between regions in the brain. The study also showed reduced brain shrinkage that normally occurs as you age. This strong connection that will affect the ability of electrical signals to get to the brain. And significantly, this effect occurs throughout the brain, not just in certain areas.
Assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Eileen Luders and his colleagues have found brain differences between meditators and controls that involve large-scale networks such as the brain frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes and the anterior corpus callosum, as well as limbic structures and brainstem.
“Our results suggest that meditators during long-term have more white matter fibers, more dense or more isolated in the entire brain,” Luders said, according to psychologytoday.
“We also found that decreased white matter tissue which is associated with normal age is much reduced in the active practice of meditation. There is a possibility that the active meditation, especially during long periods of time, can cause changes in the micro-anatomy,” says Luders.
According to Luders, meditation may not only cause changes in brain anatomy that is caused by the stimulation of new growth but meditation also can prevent brain damage.
“That is, if done regularly and over years, meditation can slow the aging-related atrophy of the brain and can affect the immune system in a positive way,” says Luders.
Although tempted to assume that the difference between these two groups is what actually justify the influence effects of meditation, there are still unanswered questions, which is a natural brain versus brain due to training.
“There is a possibility that the meditator may basically have a different brain. For example, certain brain anatomy in meditators may have attracted individuals to eager to meditate or to help maintain an ongoing exercise. This means that increasing fiber connectivity in the meditators causes inclination to meditation, rather than a consequence of the practice of meditation, “explained Luders.
Therefore, further research is needed before meditation can be recommended as a way to nourish the brain. However, Luders which also is actually a meditator says, “Meditation seems to be a powerful mental exercise and can potentially alter the physical structure of the brain”.Tagged with: Meditation, meditation brain, meditation brain function, meditators,