Meditation to keep your brain young
More and more research highlights evidence that meditation improves cognitive abilities of the brain. The reason that is targeted is inducing the formation of new synapses, or neural connections. Share article in ABC Ramiro Calle.
From makes half century, the hope of life in all the world has increased of way spectacular, and now live of medium ones 10 years more. This is good news. But it has a downside: to live more years, neurodegenerative diseases and brain age-associated deterioration are booming.
So the Decade of life that we have gained brings with it an increased risk of neurodegenerative and mental illness. As the generation of the baby boom (born between 1946 and 1964) age and the population of age advanced grows, increases the incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia substantially. In the absence of neuroprotective drugs, the solution to avoid this could be in meditation, according to a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology.
Previous work suggested that the people that meditate are less atrophy associated to the age in the matter white of the brain, that is, the "wiring" that allows connections between different areas of the brain. And this new study carried out by researchers of the University of California (UCLA) you've seen that meditation seems to also help preserve the grey matter of the brain, which is the tissue that contains the neurons.
The scientists studied specifically the association between the age and it matter grey. Compared to 50 people who had thought for years and another 50 who did not. Each group in the study consisted of 28 men and 22 women aged between 24 and 77 years, who had been meditating for a period of years that went from 4 to 46 years, with an average of 20. The brains of the participants were scanned using high-resolution magnetic resonance images.
The people of both groups showed a loss of field grey as aged. But in that meditating, gray matter volume did not decrease as much as between not meditators, to the extent that the researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the difference. They apparently hoped to see small localised effects in some regions that had previously been associated with meditation. But what actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed the entire brain.
"It is essential that any longer a life expectancy are not at the expense of a reduction in the quality of life - Eileen Lüders, participating in the study - highlights." So far research has focused on identifying the factors that increase the risk of mental disease and neurodegenerative decline, but has been given less attention to the approaches for improving brain health."
Although the researchers found a negative correlation between gray matter and age in both groups of people - which suggests a loss of brain tissue associated with age - they also found that a large part of the gray matter in the brain of people who contemplated seemed to be better preserved.
The researchers emphasize that cannot set outcomes a relation cause-effect direct between meditation and the preservation of the grey matter in the brain, because there are many other factors that can come into play, including the lifestyle, personality traits and genetic brain differences. What means that not is can say that the cause of that it matter grey is best preserved is must to the meditation. "However, our results are promising - designated-. Hope that stimulate others studies to explore the potential of the meditation to preserve better our brain as age. The accumulation of scientific evidence of the effects of meditation on the health of the brain could allow a effective translation of research to practice, not only in the framework of the healthy aging, but also the pathological aging, as in mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease."
And it is that there is a growing evidence of the beneficial effects of meditation on a series of cognitive domains including attention, memory, verbal fluency, executive function, processing speed, cognitive flexibility generally, as well as conflict management or even creativity. One hypothesis to explain these benefits is that meditation induces the formation of new synapses, that he would bring an increase in gray matter between those who practice meditation able to counter the subsequent loss associated with age.