Meditation May Prevent Psychiatric Disorders, Study Suggests

30 November, 2011 at 12:53 | Posted in Body & Mind, meditation, Science, Spirituality | 2 Comments
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By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Epoch Times Staff

Experienced meditators may be able to switch off areas of the brain associated with daydreaming, anxiety, and certain psychiatric disorders like autism and schizophrenia, according to a new U.S. study.

“Meditation has been shown to help in a variety of health problems, such as helping people quit smoking, cope with cancer, and even prevent psoriasis,” the study’s lead author Judson A. Brewer of Yale University said in a press release.

The researchers performed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans on experienced and novice meditators using three different meditation techniques.

The results showed decreased activity in the default mode network (DMN) in experienced meditators. This neural network has been associated with anxiety-based illnesses, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and plaque formation in Alzheimer’s disease.

Decreased activity was seen in brain regions involved in this network, such as the medial prefrontal and posterior cingulated cortices, irrespective of the form of meditation undertaken during the experiment.

Similarly, when the DMN was active, brain areas linked to self-monitoring and cognitive control were found to be co-activated in experienced meditators but not in novices. This also happened when the meditators were not meditating but simply resting.

Meditation has been linked with increased happiness, said Brewer, according to the release.

The scientists believe that meditators can focus on the present moment better, and are constantly suppressing self-centered and wandering thoughts, which are strongly associated with autism and schizophrenia.

“Meditation’s ability to help people stay in the moment has been part of philosophical and contemplative practices for thousands of years,” Brewer said.

“Conversely, the hallmarks of many forms of mental illness is a preoccupation with one’s own thoughts, a condition meditation seems to affect. This gives us some nice cues as to the neural mechanisms of how it might be working clinically.”

via Meditation May Prevent Psychiatric Disorders, Study Suggests | Beyond Science | Science | Epoch Times

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  1. Meditation is such a powerful practice. It can lead to spiritual, physical and mental benefits. It is amazing how many of us simply don’t meditate because we think it is weird. We should all open our minds and realize this can be one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves and it is completely free to do at any time!

    Great post! 🙂

    If you are interested I have some articles regarding meditation in my blogging community I have developed.

    Check it out if you are interested!

    Cheers! 🙂

    • Hi and nice to read your articles about how you look at spirituality :-). In fact I don’t recognize though that people find meditation weird, not in Sweden anyhow or other places I’ve been to. Perhaps it’s like that among very young people? Or people that aren’t so much in contact with other ways of thinking than what they are used to?
      They might think that it’s strange. Some people perhaps haven’t come into contact so much with things like this, since most of the societies in the West doesn’t promote spiritual things in schools and I have a feeling of that in many families there aren’t so much spirituality in thoughts, words and actions. I think, in fact, it’s a question of education and knowledge of other ways of thinking.
      Kindly Kristina

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