Meditation Can Protect the Brain: Study

   |  Updated: February 25, 2015 18:59 IST

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Meditation Can Protect the Brain: Study

The discipline of meditation is hard to master but once you cross the bridge you'll be in for a real surprise. Anxiety will whiter away, depression will make a u-turn, you'll feel light, healthy and happy. And now another benefit of meditation has come to light.



According to a new study from the University of California at Los Angeles Brain Mapping Center, daily mediation can slow age-related memory loss thus reducing the risk of developing mental illness and neurodegenerative disease. The study was published in the journal 'Frontiers in Psychology' and said that the brain of those who've been meditating for a number of years was less affected than that of those who do not meditate.



(Mindful meditation helps lower blood pressure)



"We observed a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain," explained Florian Kurth, co-author and postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. Researchers believed that the brain begins to decline in the 20's and continues to do so through old age. Meditation might be an effective way to prevent neurodegenerative diseases that come with age. And what makes it even more interesting is that it's a practice which has zero side effects.



For the study, the scientists looked specifically at the association between age and grey matter. They compared 50 people who had meditated for years and 50 who did not. People in both groups showed a loss of grey matter as they aged. But researchers found that among those who meditated, the volume of grey matter did not decline as much as it did among those who did not. As baby boomers have aged and the elderly population has grown, the incidence of cognitive decline and dementia has increased substantially as the brain ages.

"In that light, it seems essential that longer life expectancies do not come at the cost of a reduced quality of life," added Eileen Luders, assistant professor of neurology. The researchers, however, cautioned that they cannot draw a direct, causal connection between meditation and preserving grey matter in the brain. Too many other factors may come into play, including lifestyle choices, personality traits and genetic brain differences.



Authors concluded by saying that "Still, our results are promising. Hopefully they will stimulate other studies exploring the potential of meditation to better preserve our ageing brains and minds."



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With inputs from IANS



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