New studies by scientists revealed that you can slow down the gray matter loss of your brain through mediation. Your brain starts to decrease in weight and volume when you reach mid-to-late-20s, which ultimately brings loss of functional abilities of your brain.
This is why even though the average age of people living has increased since 1970, the added year have come with increased risks to neurodegenerative diseases and other mental illnesses. The current study conducted by the researchers in UCLA demonstrated that you can preserve your brain’s gray matter (neuron containing tissues) by regular sessions of meditation.
The researchers specifically looked at the association of age and the gray matter by comparing 50 people who never meditated with 50 people meditating for years. Loss of gray matter was experienced by both the groups. However, the decrease in gray matter volume is considerably less in people who mediated compared to the non-mediating group.
The coauthor of this study, Dr. Florian Kurth, the postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, told that they have not expected such widespread effect of meditation on brain tissue. They actually anticipated rather distinct and small localized effects on regions of brain that had earlier been associated with meditating. But, they noticed far widespread effect of meditation encompassing regions all through the brain.
Each of the two study groups are made of 28 men and 22 women of the age group 24 to 77 years. The group of people who meditated had been doing so for 4 to 46 years, the average being 20 years.
Although the scientists discovered a negative correlation between age and gray matter in people from both the groups suggesting an inevitable loss of brain tissue with increase in age, they observed that significantly large parts of the brain tissue were preserved in people who meditated.
At the same time the researchers have cautioned that no direct causal connection can still be established between meditation and preserving brain’s gray matter. There are too many other factors that may be responsible for preservation of gray matter in meditating people such as, choice of lifestyle, genetic brain differences and personality traits.
Source: Journal Frontiers in Psychology.
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