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11 Hours of Meditation Can Enhance Brain Connectivity, Functioning

IBMT linked with pos­i­tive struc­tur­al changes in brain con­nec­tiv­i­ty (News Med­ical):

- “A Texas Tech Uni­ver­si­ty sci­en­tist study­ing the Chi­nese mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion known as inte­gra­tive body-mind train­ing (IBMT) said he and oth­er researchers have con­firmed and expand­ed on changes in struc­tur­al effi­cien­cy of white mat­ter in the brain that can be relat­ed to pos­i­tive behav­ioral changes in sub­jects prac­tic­ing the tech­nique for a month and a min­i­mum of 11 hours total.”

- “In a paper appear­ing in the online Ear­ly Edi­tion of the Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences (PNAS), sci­en­tists Yi-Yuan Tang of Texas Tech and Michael Pos­ner of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon (UO) report­ed improved mood changes coin­cid­ed with increased brain-sig­nal­ing con­nec­tions. They also found an expan­sion of myelin, the pro­tec­tive fat­ty tis­sue that sur­rounds the nerves, in the brain’s ante­ri­or cin­gu­late region.”

Study: Mech­a­nisms of white mat­ter changes induced by med­i­ta­tion (Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences)

Abstract: Using dif­fu­sion ten­sor imag­ing, sev­er­al recent stud­ies have shown that train­ing results in changes in white mat­ter effi­cien­cy as mea­sured by frac­tion­al anisotropy (FA). In our work, we found that a form of mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion, inte­gra­tive body–mind train­ing (IBMT), improved FA in areas sur­round­ing the ante­ri­or cin­gu­late cor­tex after 4-wk train­ing more than con­trols giv­en relax­ation train­ing. Reduc­tions in radi­al dif­fu­siv­i­ty (RD) have been inter­pret­ed as improved myelin but reduc­tions in axi­al dif­fu­siv­i­ty (AD) involve oth­er mech­a­nisms, such as axon­al den­si­ty. We now report that after 4-wk train­ing with IBMT, both RD and AD decrease accom­pa­nied by increased FA, indi­cat­ing improved effi­cien­cy of white mat­ter involves increased myelin as well as oth­er axon­al changes. How­ev­er, 2-wk IBMT reduced AD, but not RD or FA, and improved moods. Our results demon­strate the time-course of white mat­ter neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty in short-term med­i­ta­tion. This dynam­ic pat­tern of white mat­ter change involv­ing the ante­ri­or cin­gu­late cor­tex, a part of the brain net­work relat­ed to self-reg­u­la­tion, could pro­vide a means for inter­ven­tion to improve or pre­vent men­tal dis­or­ders.

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