Mudita Journal

Meditation makes your brain bigger, prevents natural age-related thinning of the cortex

May 9, 2011 · Filed under: Health, Meditation, Mindfulness

A 2006 Harvard Gazette story “Meditation found to increase brain size” begins:

People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don’t.

Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.

In one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger people. That’s intriguing because those sections of the human cortex, or thinking cap, normally get thinner as we age.

“Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. “These findings are consistent with other studies that demonstrated increased thickness of music areas in the brains of musicians, and visual and motor areas in the brains of jugglers. In other words, the structure of an adult brain can change in response to repeated practice.”

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Thanks for the link, Marsh.

UPDATE: Looks like this study has made the front page of Mudita Journal before. And from the same tipster. Perhaps if I meditated more, I would have noticed sooner.

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