Potential Link Between Meditation and Brain Function

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Photo Credit: Sebastien Wiertz

Photo Credit: Sebastien Wiertz

 

Meditation isn’t just good for clearing you head. According to a new study from UCLA researchers, the practice may help your brain maintain its capacity for memory, self-control, emotions, and basic functions.

Researchers examined the grey matter of fifty individuals who had been meditating between four and forty-six years and compared it to the grey matter of fifty individuals who did not mediate. They found that while both groups experienced tissue loss, meditators experienced less. The study appears in Frontiers in Psychology.

Because lifestyle and genetics play a large role in brain function and preservation, researchers are hesitant to draw absolute conclusions. However, meditation may be a helpful tool to add to one’s health arsenal.

“While much research has focused on identifying factors that increase the risk of mental illness and neurodegenerative decline, relatively less attention has been turned to approaches aimed at enhancing cerebral health,” explains Dr. Eileen Luders, first author and assistant professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Hopefully [our findings] will stimulate other studies exploring the potential of meditation to better preserve our aging brains and minds. Accumulating scientific evidence that meditation has brain-altering capabilities might ultimately allow for an effective translation from research to practice, not only in the framework of healthy aging but also pathological aging.”

Takeaway Tips: Meditation has been connected to lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, and increase immunity. Although the verdict isn’t out on its connection to brain restoration, that’s still no reason not to give it a try. A small session of five minutes a day can be just enough to help center yourself.

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