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Meditation Research

“Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress.” (Harvard Gazette)

Harvard students conducted an 8 week trial to compare if meditation really did help to relax the brain. The Harvard students were separated into two groups, one group who practiced daily meditation and one group that did not meditate.  The 16 study participants were tested 2 weeks prior to the program and 2 weeks following the completion of the program. After conducting the program the scientists concluded that meditation plays an important role in stress and anxiety and can also help increase basic memory and learning skills. Just one half hour of meditation can help to ease your mind and make you less stressful.

Read more at http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/

“These activity patterns are thought to minimize distractions, to diminish the likelihood stimuli will grab your attention,” says Christopher Moore, an MIT neuroscientist and senior author of the paper. “Our data indicate that meditation training makes you better at focusing, in part by allowing you to better regulate how things that arise will impact you.”

The study is a “beautiful demonstration” of the effects of meditation training, and of the ability to cultivate an internal awareness of one’s own bodily sensations, says Clifford Saron, associate research scientist at the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California at Davis, who was not involved in the research.

A study was recently tested at MIT testing whether meditation did contain medicinal properties. After conducting the 8 week trial the scientists concluded that meditation produces brain waves called alpha rays that help people to focus and helps to minimize distractions. These alpha rays flow through the cortex of the brain and help suppress irrelevant sensory information. The study subjects did not suffer from chronic pain but the findings suggest that this did help to reduce the feeling of pain.

Read more at http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/meditation-0505.html

"What we found is that the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before," said Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university's new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior. "Their mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance." It demonstrates, he said, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.

A recent test by the University of Wisconsin proves that there is sufficient evidence to prove that meditation can jump start the brain. The University of Wisconsin did brain scans on 10 Tibetan monks to determine whether meditation really does help the body. After conducting the tests the scientists concluded that the long time practitioners had higher brain activation. This test concludes that by conducting meditation, you can train your mind and make it more physically active.

Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43006-2005Jan2.html

“And the results are clear: it's not wanting to meditate but actually meditating that improves your brain's performance.

A recent paper in the journal Psychological Science tries to identify brain functions that are actually enhanced by meditating. The study shows that intensive meditation can help people focus their attention and sustain it — even during the most boring of tasks. “

This article describes how meditation can help make people focus even during extremely menial tasks. A study was taken with 30 participants sent to a retreat in Wyoming and another 30 participants were asked to wait 3 months before being sent to the Shambhala Center. The two groups were tested three separate times on concentration. The two study groups were tested prior to the test, midway through the experiment and after in concluded. After conducting the test the results were that even in the most boring of tests the meditation group had higher scores and proved to be more focused.

Read more at http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2008914,00.html

“Can we train ourselves to be compassionate? A new study suggests the answer is yes. Cultivating compassion and kindness through meditation affects brain regions that can make a person more empathetic to other peoples' mental states, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”

A recent study conducted by the University of Wisconsin- Madison proves that compassion and kindness can be taught through meditation. The study uses magnetic resonance imaging to show positive emotion such as kindness and compassion. The scans are used to reveal emotions within the brain.  This study can be helpful for children that take part in bullying due to depression. This study can help to create more harmonious relationships and add more kindness and compassion to the world.

Read more at http://www.news.wisc.edu/14944

“Long-term meditators showed a 40 percent to 50 percent reduction in brain activity in response to pain compared with a control group of non-meditators. After meditation training and five months of practice, people in the control group also showed a 40 percent to 50 percent decrease in brain activity during the painful hot water stimulus. Meditation did not change the volunteers' rating of pain intensity, suggesting that its effect was in reducing anxiety and distress, researchers concluded.”

The University of Oregon conducted a test to see all of the areas in which meditation could help. After conducting a series of tests the scientists concluded that meditation can sharpen your attention, cultivate compassion and even increase your pain tolerance. The Oregon scientists conducted a test in which they pitted two groups of people, one group who did meditate and one group that did not. After conducting the test it showed that the long term meditators showed a far greater reduction in response to pain than the group without meditating experiences. The long term meditators were able to push aside the anxiety and distress and focus away from the pain.

Read more at http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2008/06/scientists_study_links_between.html

 


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