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The meditation-and-the-brain research has been rolling in steadily for a number of years now, with new studies coming out just about every week to illustrate some new benefit of meditation. Below are some of the most exciting studies to come out in the last few years and show that meditation really does produce measurable changes in our most important organ. Last week, a study from UCLA found that long-term meditators had better-preserved brains than non-meditators as they aged. A review study last year at Johns Hopkins looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain: Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing. A lot of people start meditating for its benefits in stress reduction, and there’s lots of good evidence to support this rationale. A growing number of studies has shown that, given its effects on the self-control regions of the brain, meditation can be very effective in helping people recover from various types of addiction. For developing brains, meditation has as much as or perhaps even more promise than it has for adults.
Meditation is not a panacea, but there’s certainly a lot of evidence that it may do some good for those who practice it regularly. People take part in “The Planet Meditates,” a worldwide meditation event, at Bolivar square in Bogota, Colombia, on Sept. Such spiritual practices may seem a world away from biomedical research, with its focus on molecular processes and repeatable results. Working with biologist Joe Gall at Yale in the 1970s, Blackburn sequenced the chromosome tips of a single-celled freshwater creature called Tetrahymena (“pond scum,” as she describes it) and discovered a repeating DNA motif that acts as a protective cap. Epel, now director of the Aging, Metabolism and Emotion Center at UCSF, has a long-standing interest in how the mind and body relate. With some trepidation at approaching such a senior scientist, the then postdoc asked Blackburn for help with a study of mothers going through one of the most stressful situations that she could think of—caring for a chronically ill child.
Blackburn’s research until this point had involved elegant, precisely controlled experiments in the lab. The most frazzled women in the study had telomeres that translated into an extra decade or so of aging compared to those who were least stressed, while their telomerase levels were halved. When the paper finally was published, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in December 2004, it sparked widespread press coverage as well as praise. The big question for researchers now is whether telomeres are simply a harmless marker of age-related damage (like grey hair, say) or themselves play a role in causing the health problems that plague us as we age.
Blackburn, however, says she is increasingly convinced that the effects of stress do matter.
Blackburn is now moving into even bigger studies, including a collaboration with health care giant Kaiser Permanente of Northern California that has involved measuring the telomeres of 100,000 people.
In the decade since Blackburn and Epel’s original study, the idea that stress ages us by eroding our telomeres has also permeated popular culture. But as evidence of the damage caused by dwindling telomeres piles up, she is embarking on a new question: how to protect them.
There are hundreds of ways to meditate but this morning I’m trying a form of Buddhist mindfulness meditation called open monitoring, which involves paying attention to your experience in the present moment. Blackburn too is interested in the nature of reality, but after a career spent focusing on the measurable and quantifiable, such navel-gazing initially held little personal appeal and certainly no professional interest. In their latest study, Epel and Blackburn are following 180 mothers, half of whom have a child with autism. Theories differ as to how meditation might boost telomeres and telomerase, but most likely it reduces stress. Inevitably, when a Nobel Prize-winner starts talking about meditation, it ruffles a few feathers. Any connotation of religious or paranormal beliefs makes many scientists uneasy, says Chris French, a psychologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, who studies anomalous experiences including altered states of consciousness. Blackburn’s view is that meditation is a fair topic to study, as long as robust methods are used. That study, of 239 healthy women, found that those whose minds wandered less—the main aim of mindfulness meditation—had significantly longer telomeres than those whose thoughts ran amok. In September 2006, she attended a conference held at the Menla Mountain Buddhist center, a remote retreat in New York’s Catskill mountains, at which Western scientists met with Tibetan-trained scholars including the Dalai Lama to discuss longevity, regeneration and health.
If Epel’s psychiatry research had been another world, the scholars’ Eastern philosophy seemed to Blackburn more alien still.
But instead of dismissing her Eastern counterparts, she was impressed, finding the Dalai Lama to have “a very good brain,” for example. In the future, information from telomeres may help doctors decide when to prescribe particular drugs.
Conventional medical tests give us our risk of particular conditions—high cholesterol warns of impending heart disease, for example, while high blood sugar predicts diabetes.
Ultimately, however, the pair want entire countries and governments to start paying attention to telomeres. While arguments for tackling social inequality are hardly new, Blackburn says that telomeres allow us to quantify for the first time the health impact of stress and inequality and therefore the resulting economic costs. But it seems that most scientists and politicians still aren’t ready to leap across the interdisciplinary canyon that Blackburn and Epel bridged a decade ago. This article has been republished by The Irrawaddy under a Creative Commons license from Mosaic, a new online science research magazine published in the United Kingdom by the Wellcome Trust foundation. A weblog on the sciences and practices of living healthily very long – perhaps hundreds of years.
Discussions of basic pathways involving chronic stresses, inflammatory processes and healthful interventions.
Archeologists and scholars speculate that primitive hunter-gatherer societies may have discovered meditation and its altered states of consciousness while staring at the flames of their fires, although there is little recorded pre-history on the origins of meditation. The earliest documented records of meditation stem from the teachings of the Vedas in ancient India, about 1500 BCE.
Although for many centuries mediation was primarily only practiced in Asia, Christian, Jewish and Muslim mystics each developed their own forms of meditative practices.  By the 18th century translations of ancient eastern teachings began to be studied by scholars in the West. In 1959 Shunryu Suzuki, a Zen Buddhist teacher from Japan  arrived in San Francisco and began teaching Zen meditation practices to Americans.
For over thirty-five years  there has been a growing movement to both understand the scientific mechanisms of meditation and to  de-mystify meditation and make the once esoteric practices available in numerous therapeutic settings.  A pioneer in this field is Jon Kabot-Zinn who, in 1979, founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) Program. This was the first science-based program to use mindfulness mediation to treat patients with chronic illnesses.
Mindfulness and other Buddhist meditation techniques are being advocated in the West by innovative psychologists and expert Buddhist meditation teachers such as  S.N. Currently mindfulness and other meditation practices are often taught to elementary school students, prisoners, sports teams, CEOs, caregivers and many other diverse populations. Breathing Rate with Meditation Determines the size change of a very specific area under the occipitotemporal lobe. That sounds like hyperbole from a “blow hard” or recent convert, but it is actually from an article with a Nobel Laureate as a senior author! Several studies including randomized clinical trials have evaluated meditation of various types on reducing stress among normal individuals, among cancer patients, college studies, and among those with essential hypertension. 2006 Passage meditation reduces perceived stress in health professionals: A randomized, controlled trial. A randomized controlled clinical trial was done in 2008 by the center for Contemplative Meditation at the U. 2004 Review of Controlled Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program and Cardiovascular Disease. One study has shown that transcendental meditation reduces lipid peroxide levels in serum.  This was another surprise!
This particular section of this blog is the longest and I am concerned I may lose my audience, so here is the one graph that will convince any scientist or lay person that meditation makes a dramatic change in HRV. Here is  a diagram from the American College of Cardiology on the Frequency Power Spectrum of HRV.
Not only could this be measured in the power spectrum of HRV, it could also be measured simply with the change in time domain (rMSSD, SDNN, etc.). Interestingly, these extremely prominent oscillations in HRV correlated with slow breathing. Lowered sodium diet – lowering sodium in the diet improves HRV, whereas increasing salt in the diet makes HRV worse.
Lack of Sleep and Jet Lag– cutting across time zones and disrupting normal circadian rhythms dramatically decreases HRV. Chronic Hypoxia – Chronic hypoxia (such as in sleep apnea or COPD) does not affect heart rate that much but has a dramatic effect on HRV. Happiness vs Depression – Happiness increases HRV whereas depression dramatically reduces HRV. There is also strong evidence that melatonin has health span and life span enhancing properties through molecular mechanisms that are related to caloric restriction, specifically SIRT1 activation and Nrf2 activation. The most fascinating recent molecular mechanism that has been discovered is the effect of melatonin on preventing cellular senescence (see Reference below).
Reference: 2010 Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators.
Conclusion:  Mindful meditation and other forms of meditation clearly increase telomerase activity. There is very strong scientific evidence that meditation has profound benefits for treating depression.  The first Reference below is a doctoral dissertation on the effects of meditation on depression.
A randomized, prospective study of TM was done by Alexander and colleagues from Maharishi International University in Fairfiled, Iowa in 1989. In this study, they looked at mortality in a group of elderly volunteers in rest homes with an average age of 81.After one year, the transcendental group showed a significant improvement in quality of life and BP.

Conclusion:  This study has not yet been published, but when it does, all doubts about the importance of mental health and telomeres will be dispelled. DHEA-S levels in meditators was higher in all 11 age groups studied, in both male and female, and was independent of diet, BMI, and exercise.
In several studies, DHEA-S levels in serum (blood) was measured and found to be higher in meditators vs non-meditators.
Grey matter and white matter both increase in specific areas, including right orbitofrontal cortex, middle frontal cortex, superior frontal cortex, right insula, funds of the central sulcus, right middle and frontal sulci, left superior temporal gyrus, and left inferior temporal gyrus. Summary:  Specific areas of the brain increase with meditation. Both white matter and grey matter volume change with regular meditation and prevent the age-related decline in brain volume!
What was even more notable was that in control brains (those that did not meditate), the brains underwent normal, age-related decline in volume! Research on meditation has shown that an immediate reduction in stress and anxiety can be had, in addition to lower blood pressure and increased overall happiness. This shortening happens as a natural process of aging, but it can be accelerated by stress, which in turn speeds up the aging process. In 2004, she and a team of researchers concluded that stress was a significant corollary to shorter telomere length in certain disease-fighting antibodies in humans. In addition, a growing trend in research is finding that we can slow the degeneration of brain matter that naturally occurs with age through meditation. This study found that cortical thickness in middle aged meditators was comparable to that of non-meditators decades younger. Lastly, a study in 2014 by Eileen Luders, PhD, professor of neurology at UCLA, looked at the volume of white matter in 20 areas of the brain. Luder’s team found that white matter definitely lowered with age, but that the age-related degeneration was less extreme in meditators compared to those that did not. These studies conclude that our old thinking about the inevitability of aging may be flawed. Skeptics, of course, may ask what good are a few brain changes if the psychological effects aren’t simultaneously being illustrated? Since mind-wandering is typically associated with being less happy, ruminating, and worrying about the past and future, it’s the goal for many people to dial it down.
Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. One study, for example, pitted mindfulness training against the American Lung Association’s freedom from smoking (FFS) program, and found that people who learned mindfulness were many times more likely to have quit smoking by the end of the training, and at 17 weeks follow-up, than those in the conventional treatment. There’s been increasing interest from educators and researchers in bringing meditation and yoga to school kids, who are dealing with the usual stressors inside school, and oftentimes additional stress and trauma outside school.
Yet just up the coast, at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), a team led by a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist is charging into territory where few mainstream scientists would dare to tread.
Born in 1948, she grew up by the sea in a remote town in Tasmania, Australia, collecting ants from her garden and jellyfish from the beach. She cites as influences both the holistic health guru Deepak Chopra and the pioneering biologist Hans Selye, who first described in the 1930s how rats subjected to long-term stress become chronically ill. Epel’s plan was to ask the women how stressed they felt, then look for a relationship between their state of mind and the state of their telomeres. Epel’s work, on the other hand, was on real, complicated people living real, complicated lives. The more stressed the mothers said they were, the shorter their telomeres and the lower their levels of telomerase.
Robert Sapolsky, a pioneering stress researcher at Stanford University and author of the bestselling Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, described the collaboration as “a leap across a vast interdisciplinary canyon.” Mike Irwin, director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California, Los Angeles, says it took a lot of courage for Epel to seek out Blackburn. They pointed out that the study was small, and questioned the accuracy of the telomere length test used. Researchers have since linked perceived stress to shorter telomeres in healthy women as well as in Alzheimer’s caregivers, victims of domestic abuse and early life trauma, and people with major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Lab studies show that the stress hormone cortisol reduces the activity of telomerase, while oxidative stress and inflammation—the physiological fallout of psychological stress—appear to erode telomeres directly. Age-related conditions from osteoarthritis, diabetes and obesity to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and stroke have all been linked to short telomeres. People with genetic mutations affecting the enzyme telomerase, who have much shorter telomeres than normal, suffer from accelerated-aging syndromes and their organs progressively fail. Although the genetic mutations affecting the maintenance of telomeres have a smaller effect than the extreme syndromes Armanios studies, Blackburn points out that they do increase the risk of chronic disease later in life. The hope is that combining telomere length with data from the volunteers’ genomes and electronic medical records will reveal additional links between telomere length and disease, as well as more genetic mutations that affect telomere length. In addition to Blackburn’s many scientific accolades, she was named one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential people in the world” in 2007, and received a Good Housekeeping achievement award in 2011. Sit upright and still, and simply notice any thoughts that arise—without judging or reacting to them—before letting them go. In one ambitious project, Blackburn and her colleagues sent participants to meditate at the Shambhala mountain retreat in northern Colorado. The trial involves measuring the women’s stress levels and telomere length over two years, then testing the effects of a short course of mindfulness training, delivered with the help of a mobile app.
The practice involves slow, regular breathing, which may relax us physically by calming the fight-or-flight response. In general, Blackburn’s methodical approach to the topic has earned a grudging admiration, even among those who have expressed concern about the health claims made for alternative medicine.
Surgeon-oncologist David Gorski is a well-known critic of alternative medicine and pseudoscience who blogs under the name of Orac—he’s previously described Dean Ornish as “one of the four horsemen of the Woo-pocalypse.” Gorski stops short of pronouncing meditation as off-limits for scientific inquiry, but expresses concern that the preliminary results of these studies are being oversold. Helped in part by that NIH money, researchers have developed secularized—or non-religious—practices such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and reported a range of health effects from lowering blood pressure and boosting immune responses to warding off depression. So when her research first pointed in this direction, she was undaunted by concerns about what such studies might do to her reputation. We’re at an Art Nouveau-themed bistro just down the road from the Curie Institute, where she is on a short sabbatical, arranging seminars between groups of scientists who don’t usually talk to one another. Over dinner one evening, while explaining to the other delegates how errors in the gene for telomerase can cause health problems, she described genetic mutation as a random, chance event.
For example, telomerase activity predicts who will respond to treatment for major depression, while telomere length influences the effects of statins. Telomere length, by contrast, gives an overall reading of how healthy we are: our biological age. A growing body of work now shows that the stress from social adversity and inequality is a major force eroding these protective caps. We can also now pinpoint pregnancy and early childhood as “imprinting periods” when telomere length is particularly susceptible to stress. Management of constitutional stress is one of the primary aspects of health that meditation is good for.
Roles of circadian rhythms, sleep and sleep stages and relationship of sleep stages to what occurs in meditation Meditation must work via established evolutionarily-driven biological mechanisms. The American students that joined Suzuki to sit and study Zen eventually formed the San Francisco Zen Center with Suzuki, one of the first meditation teaching centers in the US.  Through the 1960’s -1970’s numerous meditation teachers from Tibetan, Vipassana and Zen Buddhist and Hindu traditions came to Europe and the USA to teach their forms of  meditation. Goenka,  Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Sharon Salzberg, who have been widely attributed with playing a significant role in integrating the healing aspects of Buddhist meditation practices with the concept of psychological awareness and healing. Blackburn and others have since developed an intense research program on meditation, since it was discovered that meditation can activate the telomerase enzyme better than any drug or supplement. This appears to be mediated by an increase in NO production with a high sodium diet and increased NO sensitivity as an adaptive function due to the high sodium.
Randomized controlled trials of mindfulness meditation training have also been done which show objective measurements of improvement in sleep and mood.
Elisbeth Blackburn talk about depression and telomere length being very accurate predictors of mortality. These are great reasons to start meditating now, but continued exploration of the practice has revealed that it could also add years to our lives, and improve our lives as we age. This enzyme can even add length back onto a shortened telomere, allowing that particular cell to love longer.
Shorter telomere length is therefore linked with cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, poor immune system functioning, and Alzheimer’s disease, according to Elissa Epel, PhD, professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. They were studying mothers with chronically ill children compared to mothers with normal healthy children. It was found that the women in the study who perceived their stress levels as high had short telomere length equivalent of one decade of aging over the lower stress women. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital in conjunction with Harvard Medical School in 2000 measured thickness of white and grey matter in the brain using MRI data on meditators and non-meditators of all ages. Research by this team further delving into questions related to meditation and aging are underway.
By practicing meditation and mindfulness, we might actually preserve our brains and bodies more than previously thought as we age more gracefully than generations prior. Luckily, there’s good evidence for those as well, with studies reporting that meditation helps relieve our subjective levels of anxiety and depression, and improve attention, concentration, and overall psychological well-being. Several studies have shown that meditation, though its quieting effect on the DMN, appears to do just this. If this sounds low, keep in mind that the effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3, which makes the effect of meditation sound pretty good.
In fact, the increase in score was equivalent to 16 percentile points, which is nothing to sneeze at. Studies have shown its benefits in reducing anxiety, even years after the initial 8-week course. Whereas Western biomedicine has traditionally shunned the study of personal experiences and emotions in relation to physical health, these scientists are placing state of mind at the center of their work.
When she began her scientific career, she moved on to dissecting living systems molecule by molecule.

They shield the ends of our chromosomes each time our cells divide and the DNA is copied, but they wear down with each division.
Psychiatrists and biochemists don’t usually have much to talk about, but Epel was interested in the damage done to the body by chronic stress, and she had a radical proposal.
After reading about Blackburn’s work on aging, she wondered if telomeres might fit the bill. Collaborators at the University of Utah would measure telomere length, while Blackburn’s team would measure levels of telomerase. To give the highest chance of a meaningful result, the women in the two groups—stressed mothers and controls—had to match as closely as possible, with similar ages, lifestyles and backgrounds.
She and Epel had connected real lives and experiences to the molecular mechanics inside cells.
But Armanios questions whether the smaller reductions in telomere length caused by stress are relevant for health, especially as telomere lengths are so variable in the first place. The results aren’t published yet, but Blackburn is excited about what the data already shows about longevity. A workaholic character played by Cameron Diaz even described the concept in the 2006 Hollywood film The Holiday.
For Buddhists this is a spiritual quest; by letting trivial thoughts and external influences fall away, they hope to get closer to the true nature of reality. Those who completed a three-month course had 30 per cent higher levels of telomerase than a similar group on a waiting list.
And the past few years have seen a spurt of neuroscience studies, like Lazar’s, showing that even short courses of meditation can forge structural changes in the brain. Contemplative traditions from Buddhism to Taoism believe that presence of mind promotes health and longevity; Blackburn and her colleagues now suggest that the ancient wisdom might be right. In a low, melodious voice that I strain to hear through the background clatter, the 65-year-old tells me of her first major brush with Buddhist thinking. But she combines that grounding with an open mind toward new ideas and connections, and she seems to love breaking out of established paradigms.
In general, however, Blackburn is more interested in how telomeres might help people directly, by encouraging them to live in a way that reduces their disease risk. And although we already know that we should exercise, eat well and reduce stress, many of us fall short of these goals. People who didn’t finish high school or are in an abusive relationship have shorter telomeres, for example, while studies have also shown links with low socioeconomic status, shift work, lousy neighborhoods and environmental pollution.
Together, she says, this evidence makes a stronger case than ever before for governments to act.
Nrf2 and NF-kappaB have long been featured in this blog as well as the benefits of xenohormetic interventions involving phytochemicals – far too many links to list here but they can be found by searching in the blog.
The first 12 minutes of this 40 minute sessions involved teaching the individuals to breathe deeply. Over 17,895 PubMed research publications have been written on HRV as of this year and the scientific evidence on the importance of this health biomarker is getting stronger and stronger.
Even in the 15-year follow-up study, there was a lower cardiovascular mortality rate than in the control group. The first group, naturally with a higher stress level, had significantly shorter telomere length than the control group.
It was found that telomere length was positively correlated with more years of meditation experience. And even when the mind does start to wander, because of the new connections that form, meditators are better at snapping back out of it. Other research has found that mindfulness training, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) can be helpful in treating other forms of addiction. Studies have confirmed the cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation for schoolchildren, but more work will probably need to be done before it gains more widespread acceptance.
They are engaged in serious studies hinting that meditation might—as Eastern traditions have long claimed—slow aging and lengthen life.
In the 1980s, working with graduate student Carol Greider at the University of California, Berkeley, Blackburn discovered an enzyme called telomerase that can protect and rebuild telomeres. At first, she was doubtful that it would be possible to see any meaningful connection between stress and telomeres. It was the first indication that feeling stressed doesn’t just damage our health—it literally ages us. One showed that elderly men whose telomeres shortened over two-and-a-half years were three times as likely to die from cardiovascular disease in the subsequent nine years as those whose telomeres stayed the same length or got longer. She traces the curve with her finger: as the population ages, average telomere length goes down.
Joggers and dog walkers amble across, while groups of pelicans hang out on the water before taking wing or floating out of sight. A pilot study of dementia caregivers, carried out with UCLA’s Irwin and published in 2013, found that volunteers who did an ancient chanting meditation called Kirtan Kriya, 12 minutes a day for eight weeks, had significantly higher telomerase activity than a control group who listened to relaxing music. Being able to step back from negative or stressful thoughts may allow us to realize that these are not necessarily accurate reflections of reality but passing, ephemeral events. Oncologist James Coyne of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, who is skeptical of this field in general and describes some of the research on positive psychology and health as “morally offensive” and “tooth fairy science”, concedes that some of Blackburn’s data is “promising”. For example, she and Epel have shown that the effects of stress on telomeres can be passed on to the next generation. Blackburn believes that putting a concrete number on how we are doing could provide a powerful incentive to change our behavior. Children are particularly at risk: being abused or experiencing adversity early in life leaves people with shorter telomeres for the rest of their lives. Meditation is a worthy addition to the health interventions mentioned in these blog entries. Blackburn Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators.
Mediation analyses indicated that the effect of the retreat on telomerase was mediated by increased Perceived Control and decreased Neuroticism. These findings lent additional support to Epel’s hypothesis that meditation can have a profound effect on cellular aging. Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to help people with social anxiety disorder: a Stanford University team found that MBSR brought about changes in brain regions involved in attention, as well as relief from symptoms of social anxiety. Genes were seen as by far the most important factor determining telomere length, and the idea that it would be possible to measure environmental influences, let alone psychological ones, was highly controversial. In another study, looking at over 2,000 healthy Native Americans, those with the shortest telomeres were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes over the next five-and-a-half years, even taking into account conventional risk factors such as body mass index and fasting glucose. A surfer, silhouetted black against the sky, bobs about for 20 minutes or so, catching the odd ripple toward shore before he, too, is gone. But one of the most effective interventions, apparently capable of slowing the erosion of telomeres—and perhaps even lengthening them again—is meditation. And a collaboration with UCSF physician and self-help guru Dean Ornish, also published in 2013, found that men with low-risk prostate cancer who undertook comprehensive lifestyle changes, including meditation, kept their telomerase activity higher than similar men in a control group and had slightly longer telomeres after five years. It also helps us to appreciate the present instead of continually worrying about the past or planning for the future. She still uses short bursts of meditation, which she says sharpen her mind and help her to avoid a busy, distracted mode.
If women experience stress while pregnant, their children have shorter telomeres, as newborns and as adults—in direct contradiction of the standard view that traits can only be passed on via our genes. In fact, she and Epel have just completed a study (as yet unpublished) showing that simply being told their telomere length caused volunteers to live more healthily over the next year than a similar group who weren’t told.
And through telomeres, the stress that women experience during pregnancy affects the health of the next generation too, causing hardship and economic costs for decades to come. What basic science researchers have discovered is that cellular stress accelerates telomere shortening. In turn, changes in Perceived Control and Neuroticism were both partially mediated by increased Mindfulness and Purpose in Life. Madhave Goyal, MD, MPH, reviewed 18,000 earlier studies on depression and ultimately arrived at 47 quality studies that had been done as randomized clinical trials (RCTs) to study the effects of meditation on depression.  Together, the number of patients in these 47 RCTs was over 3,500 patients. A few meters back from the water’s edge, a handful of people sit cross-legged: members of a local Buddhist center about to begin an hour-long silent meditation.
And when they get too short, our cells start to malfunction and lose their ability to divide—a phenomenon that is now recognized as a key process in aging.
But as a mother herself, Blackburn was drawn to the idea of studying the plight of these stressed women. But at age 75–80, the curve swings back up as people with shorter telomeres die off—proof that those with longer telomeres really do live longer. Nobel Prize-winners are not infallible.” Blackburn’s own biochemistry community also seems ambivalent about her interest in meditation.
Additionally, increases in Purpose in Life directly mediated the telomerase group difference, whereas increases in Mindfulness did not. You can imagine that the birds and joggers and surfers are like thoughts: they inhabit different forms and timescales but in the end, they all pass. Although we did not measure baseline telomerase activity, the data suggest that increases in perceived control and decreases in negative affectivity contributed to an increase in telomerase activity, with implications for telomere length and immune cell longevity. Ray Lam was there and said it was difficult to understand the Dali Lama, but that he was a very moving speaker. All of these changes were statistically significant in this study that was carried out for 6 months.

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Comments Meditation aging process

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