Studies Show Just Eight Weeks of Meditation Research Can Make Your Brain Faster


Researchers at Binghamton University scanned the student’s brain before and after eight weeks of meditation training.Credit: Binghamton University

Millions of people around the world seek spiritual clarity through meditation, most of which follow or are inspired by centuries of Buddhist practice.

Anecdotally, meditators say it helps calm their minds, renew their thoughts, and cut through the “noise” to show what really matters. Scientifically, however, it shows the effect of meditation on humans. brain Turned out delicate.

A new study from the Thomas J. Watson University of Applied Sciences at Binghamton University tracks how the brain patterns of 10 students in the university’s academic program changed while practicing meditation for just two months. made.

The seeds of the research are George Weinschenk, MA ’01, Ph.D., Weiying Dai assistant professor and lecturer. Born of an informal conversation with. ’07, both from the computer science department.

Weinschenk has practiced meditation for many years and his wife worked as an administrator at Namgal Monastery in Ithaca, the North American seat of the Dalai Lama’s private monastery.

“I have made very close friendships with some of the monks,” he said. “We spent time together and were taught by some of the Dalai Lama’s teachers, where we took classes, read a lot, and got a three-year certificate in Buddhist studies.”

Die holds a PhD in Brain Function Mapping and Biomedical Imaging. At the University of Pittsburgh, she followed patients with Alzheimer’s disease using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

“be interested Brain research To see how our brains actually work and how all kinds of diseases affect our brains,” she said. “”

The two faculty members had adjacent offices and once had a conversation about their backgrounds. Weinschenk said he was asked to teach a long semester in a university meditation program.

“I said to Weiying, ‘Yes, meditation really has a transformative effect on the brain,’ Weinschenk said. “She was a little skeptical as to whether she had spent so little time learning to meditate and what made the difference. She quantifies this with modern technology. I suggested it might be possible. “

In the fall semester of 2017, Dai got a grant and started collaborating. Towards the start of the semester, she took the participants to Cornell University for an MRI of their brains. Weinschenk taught the students how to meditate, told them to practice five times a week for 10 or 15 minutes, and asked them to keep a practice journal. (The program also included other lessons on the cultural transmission of meditation and its application to health.)

“The academics at Binghamton University wanted to do what they were assigned and wanted them to do well, so they didn’t need a lot of prompts to maintain a regular meditation routine. He said, “To ensure an objective report, they will report their experience directly to Weiying on how often they practiced.”

Results recently published in the journal Scientific report, Indicates that meditation training led to a faster switch between the two general states of consciousness of the brain.

One is called Network in Default Mode. It becomes active when the brain is awake and at rest and is not focused on the outside world, such as when it fantasizes or wanders the mind. The other is a dorsal attention network that engages in sensitive tasks.

The results of this study show that meditation can strengthen the connections between these two brain networks and within the brain networks, not only by maintaining attention but also by wandering in a state of attention. It shows the effect of meditation on quickly switching between things and focusing.

“Tibetans have the word that they can easily change state. They call it mental flexibility. It is the ability to shape and allow the mind to be shaped. said Weinschenk. “They also consider the goal of concentration to be one of the basic principles of self-growth.”

Dai and Weinschenk have yet to test other students in the Scholars program, as they are still analyzing the data taken from the 2017 MRI. Alzheimer’s disease and autism can be caused by problems with the network of d back attention, and Die is considering future studies in which meditation can be used to alleviate these problems.

“This population was a young student, so I’m thinking of studying the older people,” she said. “I want a group of healthy seniors, then another group with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. I want to see if the brain changes induced by meditation can improve cognitive abilities. Write suggestions and attract. Funding in that direction you are trying to. “

Formerly skeptical of this question, she added, “after doing this study, I am quite confident about the scientific basis for meditation.” “Maybe I just go to George’s class when he’s teaching so I can enjoy it too!” ”

Meditation based on mental silence can strengthen the brain’s network of attention and control of performance

For more information:
Zhang, Z. et al, Longitudinal Effects of Meditation on Resting Functional Connectivity of the Brain. Scientific staff (2021).

Provided by
Binghamton University

Quote: Studies Show Just Eight Weeks of Meditation Research Can Make Your Brain Faster (Aug 12, 2021). Obtained from August 12, 2021

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Studies Show Just Eight Weeks of Meditation Research Can Make Your Brain Faster

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