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09.09.2013
Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. Previous studies from Lazar’s group and others found structural differences between the brains of experienced meditation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. For the current study, magnetic resonance (MR) images were taken of the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before and after they took part in the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. Meditation group participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises, and their responses to a mindfulness questionnaire indicated significant improvements compared with pre-participation responses.
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. James Carmody of the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the co-authors of the study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the British Broadcasting Company, and the Mind and Life Institute. Harvard Business School students, staff, and faculty are known for their sleek, polished style - sometimes with a hint of the unexpected. Harvard staff photographers interviewed four sets of twins currently enrolled as undergraduates at Harvard College, to gain a glimpse into these unusual relationships. Author and journalist Michael Pollan has spent a fellowship year at Radcliffe changing directions and focusing on a fresh project, exploring a budding rebirth of psychedelic drugs for medicinal uses. A day after attending Stephen Hawking’s talk at Harvard, reporter Peter Reuell received an invitation from Cumrun Vafa — would he be interested in attending a dinner party in Hawking’s honor? Citing the harmful impact created by gender discrimination affecting students at Harvard College, administrators announced that beginning in the fall of 2017, new students who join unrecognized single-gender social organizations will not be permitted to hold leadership positions in recognized student organizations and athletic teams. Researchers at the Wyss Institute at Harvard have developed a workflow that could diagnose a patient with Zika within two to three hours. Numerous studies have indicated the many physiological benefits of meditation, and the latest one comes from Harvard University. The study was led by a Harvard-affiliated team of researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the teama€™s MRI scans documented for the very first time in medical history how meditation produced massive changes inside the braina€™s gray matter. The study involved taking magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the braina€™s of 16 study participants two weeks prior to participating in the study. The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Previous studies from Lazara€™s group and others found structural differences between the brains of experienced meditation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration.
It is amazing to see that it has been proved that meditation does modulate the way brain functions, a concept followed from centuries by Ancient Indians. In the end, we would like to leave you with an amazing video that will make you understand what is the difference between grey and white matter in our brain and what is its importance for the well being and creative thinking for us, humans.
What was Nolan trying to explain in Interstellar with love being the quantifiable force which can transcend space and time?


Meditation has been used for years by monks and other religious figures to gain a closer connection to their particular deity.
A recent study conducted by Yale, Harvard and Mass General Hospital, suggests that meditation can increase gray matter in the parts of the brain most closely associated with processing information and paying attention as well as sensory input. An eight week study revealed an increase in neurons in the region of the brain related to memory and learning, the hippocampus.
On average, people who meditate on a regular basis need less sleep than those who don’t to achieve the same level of awareness.
Earlier this year, the American Heart Association cited that meditation lowers blood pressure without the use of drugs and pills.
With so many mental and health benefits associated with meditation, it’s easy to see why so many people are turning to this ancient art to alleviate high blood pressure and increase their brains natural ability.
Given all the positive effects meditation can have on the body and the mind, it’s no wonder why so many holistic healers rely on it to help their patients.
Most people are aware that meditation has a number of benefits: lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and a decrease in tension-related pain are just a few of these benefits. But while the psychological benefits of meditation have long been acknowledged, scientists were still somewhat in the dark about the specifics of how meditation affects the brain. Scientists from Harvard University just published a study that examined the effects of meditation on the physical structures of the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Sara Lazar, the senior author of the study, is a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program. Previous studies have shown that there are structural differences between the brains of people who meditate regularly and those who don’t.
The study also found a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region of the brain closely associated with stress and anxiety.
Britta Holzel, a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany, is another one of the study’s primary authors.
But those investigations could not document that those differences were actually produced by meditation.
In addition to weekly meetings that included practice of mindfulness meditation — which focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings, and state of mind — participants received audio recordings for guided meditation practice and were asked to keep track of how much time they practiced each day.
The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. Although no change was seen in a self-awareness-associated structure called the insula, which had been identified in earlier studies, the authors suggest that longer-term meditation practice might be needed to produce changes in that area. The goal of developing the low-cost, rapid paper-based diagnostic system for strain-specific detection of the Zika virus is its use in the field to screen blood, urine, or saliva samples. Ita€™s the very first study to document that meditation impacts the braina€™s grey matter over time.


This breakthrough can lead to the understanding of the secrets that our brains carry and how to improve the efficiency of brain to complete tasks with full concentration and how can we creatively boost our good old brains.
Now people from every walk of life utilize meditation in their personal lives for its calming effects. People who participated in the study showed increased gray matter when they had their brains scanned.
This practice was once reserved for very religious figures but in the future, everyone may meditate. However, this study is the first to demonstrate that those differences are the direct result of meditation. None of these changes occurred in the control group, showing that the changes were indeed a direct result of the meditation. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter. A set of MR brain images was also taken of a control group of nonmeditators over a similar time interval. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time. Several recent studies suggest that meditation also plays a key role in promoting proper brain function.
Similar research has revealed an increase of neurons in the region of the brain responsible for concentration. People who meditate on a regular basis are hardly ever tense and this may be the reason for the lower blood pressure. When stress is permitted to build up and accumulate, it can negatively affect the body and lead to significant health problems. Given the ringing endorsement that meditation received from the American Heart Association, we may soon see doctors advising their patients to meditate as a means to relieve their hypertension.
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There was also an increase of neurons in the area of the brain responsible for emotions and the region of the brain that processes sights and sounds. People who meditate address their stress on a regular basis and alleviate it so it doesn’t accumulate.



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