More scientific support for meditation practices was presented in the New York Times earlier this month. Several studies were cited in the article.
The study with the most promising results (IMHO) revealed that long-term meditators “had greater gyrification — a term that describes the folding of the cerebral cortex, the outermost part of the brain.”
While the study was not conclusive, it does corroborate other studies that appeared on this blog and elsewhere.
Scientific Support for Meditation Practices
The New York Times article then states,
Published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal in February, the study is the latest effort from the U.C.L.A. lab to determine the extent to which meditation may affect neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to make physiological changes. Previous studies found that the brains of long-term meditators had increased amounts of so-called gray and white matter (the former is believed to be involved in processing information; the latter is thought of as the “wiring” of the brain’s communication system.)
It follows other studies examining possible links between meditation and physical benefits. In 2009, for example, a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting suggested that the mental relaxation produced by meditation has physiological benefits for people with established coronary artery disease.
The U.C.L.A. study, like previous ones, is inconclusive but intriguing. “You could argue that more folds mean more neurons,” said Dr. Eileen Luders, the recent study’s lead author, who practices meditation herself. “These are the processing units of the brain, and so having more might mean that you have greater cognitive capacities.”
Dr. Luders and her team used M.R.I. scans to measure the features of the subject’s brains and compare them to a control group of nonmeditators.
A striking finding of the study was that the degree of cortical gyrification appeared to increase as the number of years practicing meditation increased.
Here is a video of Dr. Eileen Luders explaining neuroplasticity.
So much for scientific evidence for meditation practices! The rubber meets the road when you sit down (or lie down) and meditate yourself!
Are you practicing yet? Great! Continue!
If not, why? Let us help you get started. What more evidence do you need? Share your thoughts and feelings below.