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Study: Long-term meditation can help slow down aging-related brain volume decline



Long-term med­i­ta­tion tied to less brain loss (Reuters):

Peo­ple who report­ed med­i­tat­ing for an aver­age of 20 years had high­er brain vol­umes than the aver­age per­son, researchers report in Fron­tiers in Psy­chol­o­gy.

Kurth and his col­leagues write that they can’t say med­i­ta­tion caused its prac­ti­tion­ers to lose less brain vol­ume, how­ev­er. Oth­er habits of long-term med­i­ta­tors may also influ­ence brain vol­ume…

Near­ly 18 mil­lion adults and 1 mil­lion chil­dren prac­ticed med­i­ta­tion in the U.S. in 2012, accord­ing to a sur­vey on com­ple­men­tary med­i­cine from the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health and the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion…

Over­all, the vol­ume of gray mat­ter shown on the brain scans decreased as the age of the par­tic­i­pants increased. But the med­i­ta­tors’ brains appeared bet­ter pre­served than aver­age peo­ple of the same age…

The new study “adds a lit­tle bit more evi­dence to the idea that the brain has plas­tic­i­ty, and by prac­tic­ing cer­tain men­tal activ­i­ties, such as med­i­ta­tion, we can see struc­tur­al changes in the brain as a result,” he said.

Study: For­ev­er Young(er): poten­tial age-defy­ing effects of long-term med­i­ta­tion on gray mat­ter atro­phy (Fron­tiers in Psy­chol­o­gy)

  • Abstract: While over­all life expectan­cy has been increas­ing, the human brain still begins dete­ri­o­rat­ing after the first two decades of life and con­tin­ues degrad­ing fur­ther with increas­ing age. Thus, tech­niques that dimin­ish the neg­a­tive impact of aging on the brain are desir­able. Exist­ing research, although scarce, sug­gests med­i­ta­tion to be an attrac­tive can­di­date in the quest for an acces­si­ble and inex­pen­sive, effi­ca­cious rem­e­dy. Here, we exam­ined the link between age and cere­bral gray mat­ter re-ana­lyz­ing a large sam­ple (n = 100) of long-term med­i­ta­tors and con­trol sub­jects aged between 24 and 77 years. When cor­re­lat­ing glob­al and local gray mat­ter with age, we detect­ed neg­a­tive cor­re­la­tions with­in both con­trols and med­i­ta­tors, sug­gest­ing a decline over time. How­ev­er, the slopes of the regres­sion lines were steep­er and the cor­re­la­tion coef­fi­cients were stronger in con­trols than in med­i­ta­tors. More­over, the age-affect­ed brain regions were much more extend­ed in con­trols than in med­i­ta­tors, with sig­nif­i­cant group-by-age inter­ac­tions in numer­ous clus­ters through­out the brain. Alto­geth­er, these find­ings seem to sug­gest less age-relat­ed gray mat­ter atro­phy in long-term med­i­ta­tion prac­ti­tion­ers.

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