22 May 2009

Brain: Meditation: Grow the Brain, Grow Your IQ



From Denny: Looks like science is beginning to catch up with what the truly spiritual people already know! Meditation makes us more intelligent! And now science has figured out the obvious.

Who did the study?

The study was published in the journal NeuroImage by the researchers from The University of California at Los Angeles.

Regular meditation has been found to enlarge the size of the brain. For those who have been meditating for a very long period of time brain scans revealed they had significantly larger amounts of the little grey cells.

Which area of the brain was larger?

Researchers using an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanned the brain's hippocampus because it is the area of the brain that is associated with our memory and learning ability. They found the area to be much larger in those who practiced regular meditation.

What was found in those who did not practice meditation?

Turns out the areas of their brains linked to emotion were much larger. The study inferred that with a larger emotionally area it is more difficult for a person to control their emotions.

What are the benefits of meditation to our brains?

It helps tremendously to maintain emotional control. Those who meditate are better focused and can control their emotions far better than those who do not meditate. Another benefit is reduced levels of stress which help boost the immune system. Some of this has been known from previous studies.

What has not been known until now about the link between the brain structure and meditation?

They studied 44 people, only half had practiced meditation for 5 - 46 years. They tended to meditate for between 10 - 90 minutes each day. Deep concentration was said to be part of their meditation routine.

The MRI scans verified "significantly larger cerebral measurements in meditators." It is these changes in the brain structure that might explain why meditators "have a singular ability to cultivate positive emotions," according to Eileen Luders, lead researcher, "The differences in brain anatomy might give us a clue as to why meditators have these exceptional abilities." The brain has been proven to change its structure over time as revealed in previous studies.

Summary

Researchers found in meditators increased brain size in the area of the right hippocampus and in the right frontal cortex, enlarging the brains' measurements.

For now researchers are speculating about this area of the brain so closely linked to our emotions. Eileen Luders wonders, "These might be the neuronal underpinnings that give meditators' brains the outstanding ability to regulate their emotions and allow for well-adjusted responses to whatever life throws their way."

Written by Denny Lyon
Copyright 21 May 2009
All Rights Reserved

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