The brain has been “on my brain” for the last few weeks as I’ve been planning the New Science of the Brain teleseminar series.
I’ve started to wonder how mindfulness meditation can change the brain. Turns out, others have been wondering the same thing…
Sara Lazar, PhD runs a Meditation Laboratory out of Harvard. Her lab has used magnetic resonance imaging to measure the cortical thickness of individuals who have had extensive meditation experience.
The results: Brain regions associated with attention, interoception and sensory processing were thicker in meditation participants than matched controls, including the prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula.
And the thickness corresponded to the amount of meditation experience the participant had. The differences in prefrontal cortical thickness were particularly seen in older participants.
Now, I can’t claim to be a world-class meditator but it does make me think that we’re on to something here. While those of us who meditate know that mindfulness works, it’s still nice to know that science is backing us up.
In our webinar series on The New Brain Science we talk about The Neurobiology of Mindfulness and focus specifically on clinical applications. Again, we’ll be drilling down into how we can harness the power of neuroplasticity.
In our last blog post, I talked about how one of the things we can all do to improve brain function is to exercise. Now in addition to exercising, we can also keep up with our mindfulness practices. Meditation just might help to offset age-related cortical thickening. Your brain will thank you for it.
But there’s a lot more to it than that.
Come join our series to find out more. You can find the series here.
What do you think? Share your comments on mindfulness and brain health.