Meditation may slow brain aging
Practicing meditation may help a person slow the normal aging process of his or her brain, according to a new study.
Scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) recruited 100 individuals between the ages 24 and 77. The researchers first asked the participants questions about their meditation practice. Half of the participants reported meditating regularly for between four and 46 years, while the other half reported never having practiced meditation. The researchers then used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan each participant's brain.
The researchers said they were surprised to find that the people who had regularly practiced meditation showed much lower gray matter loss in multiple regions of their brain than those who had never meditated. The study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, suggests yet another potential benefit of meditation. Previous studies have found that meditation could help breast cancer survivors and also reduce chronic pain, depression and anxiety.
The scientists acknowledged that the study did not establish a causal relationship between meditation and less deterioration of the brain's gray matter, as it did not account for various factors such as lifestyle choices, genetics and personality traits.