We know that exercise can help reverse brain aging, and reverse the normal shrinkage of the brain in older subects, can mindful meditation also produce similar effects?
In this blog post the author describes the results of a recent mindful meditation experiment:
The study we will discuss today used 8 weeks of meditative training and practice and the researchers examined the size of various brain regions (using a brain scan) and compared the meditators versus a control group at the end of the 8 week time period, compared to their results before the experiment started.
And the results of a mere 8 weeks of mediation was reported as:
Similar to the walking study they scanned all of the subject’s brains before the start of this experiment and again at the end (in this case 8 weeks). What the researchers found was that the mindfulness group had a greater brain volume change than the control group:
“You can see in these four brain regions depicted in the graphs above the mindfulness trained group have greater positive changes in their selected brain volumes compared to the control group.
You might also notice that in the control group not all of these brain regions shrank as you might have thought based on the previous study we discussed. But compared to the study we talked about last week these subjects were younger (38 vs in the walking study an average age of 67) and the time period was shorter (8 weeks vs 1 year).
In the walking study they found a difference in the hippocampus size which is important for memory formation. This mindfulness study also examined this important region and found a difference between the groups for the left hippocampus, with the mindfulness group displaying better results.”
Hence, it appears that mindful meditation can also protect the brain from the gray matter brain loss that normally occurs with aging, and in some cases reverse it. So try meditation and through in some exercise and you will do great work for your brain health.