Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Meditation Gives Brain a Charge, Study Finds

  1. #1
    Senior Member Schattenjäger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Last Online
    Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 @ 08:11 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Ancestry
    Schlesien
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    Germany Germany
    State
    Silesia Silesia
    Location
    rural areas (for now)
    Gender
    Family
    Youth
    Occupation
    would-be historian
    Posts
    487
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Meditation Gives Brain a Charge, Study Finds


    Meditation Gives Brain a Charge, Study Finds

    Brain research is beginning to produce concrete evidence for something that Buddhist practitioners of meditation have maintained for centuries: Mental discipline and meditative practice can change the workings of the brain and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness.

    Wearing a 128-channel geodesic sensor net, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard sits in a soundproof room and talks with Richard Davidson (right) before participating in an electroencephalography (EEG) test at the EEG facility at the Waisman Center in June. Davidson, director of the Waisman Lab for Brain Imaging and Behavior, recently received a grant to create a new research initiative on the neuroscience of compassion, love and forgiveness, where he will investigate how those virtues work in the human mind.

    Those transformed states have traditionally been understood in transcendent terms, as something outside the world of physical measurement and objective evaluation. But over the past few years, researchers at the University of Wisconsin working with Tibetan monks have been able to translate those mental experiences into the scientific language of high-frequency gamma waves and brain synchrony, or coordination. And they have pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex, an area just behind the left forehead, as the place where brain activity associated with meditation is especially intense.

    “What we found is that the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before,” said Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university’s new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior. “Their mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance.” It demonstrates, he said, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.

    Scientists used to believe the opposite — that connections among brain nerve cells were fixed early in life and did not change in adulthood. But that assumption was disproved over the past decade with the help of advances in brain imaging and other techniques, and in its place, scientists have embraced the concept of ongoing brain development and “neuroplasticity.”

    Davidson says his newest results from the meditation study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November, take the concept of neuroplasticity a step further by showing that mental training through meditation (and presumably other disciplines) can itself change the inner workings and circuitry of the brain.

    The new findings are the result of a long, if unlikely, collaboration between Davidson and Tibet’s Dalai Lama, the world’s best-known practitioner of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama first invited Davidson to his home in Dharamsala, India, in 1992 after learning about Davidson’s innovative research into the neuroscience of emotions. The Tibetans have a centuries-old tradition of intensivemeditation and, from the start, the Dalai Lama was interested in having Davidson scientifically explore the workings of his monks’ meditating minds. Three years ago, the Dalai Lama spent two days visiting Davidson’s lab.

    The Dalai Lama ultimately dispatched eight of his most accomplished practitioners to Davidson’s lab to have them hooked up for electroencephalograph (EEG) testing and brain scanning. The Buddhist practitioners in the experiment had undergonetraining in the Tibetan Nyingmapa and Kagyupa traditions of meditation for an estimated 10,000 to 50,000 hours, over time periods of 15 to 40 years. As a control, 10 student volunteers with no previousmeditation experience were also tested after one week of training.

    The monks and volunteers were fitted with a net of 256 electrical sensors and asked to meditate for short periods. Thinking and other mental activity are known to produce slight, but detectable, bursts of electrical activity as large groupings of neurons send messages to each other, and that’s what the sensors picked up. Davidson was especially interested in measuring gammawaves, some of the highest-frequency and most important electrical brain impulses.

    Both groups were asked to meditate, specifically on unconditional compassion. Buddhist teaching describes that state, which is at the heart of the Dalai Lama ’s teaching, as the “unrestricted readiness and availability to help living beings.” The researchers chose that focus because it does not require concentrating on particular objects, memories or images, and cultivates instead a transformed state of being.

    Davidson said that the results unambiguously showed that meditation activated the trained minds of the monks in significantly different ways from those of the volunteers. Most important, the electrodes picked up much greater activation of fast-moving and unusually powerful gammawaves in the monks, and found that the movement of the waves through the brain was far better organized and coordinated than in the students. The meditation novices showed only a slight increase in gamma wave activity while meditating, but some of the monks produced gamma wave activity more powerful than any previously reported in a healthy person, Davidson said.

    The monks who had spent the most years meditating had the highest levels of gamma waves, he added. This “dose response” — where higher levels of a drug or activity have greater effect than lower levels — is what researchers look for to assess cause and effect.


    In previous studies, mental activities such as focus, memory, learning and consciousness were associated with the kind of enhanced neural coordination found in the monks. The intense gammawaves found in the monks have also been associated with knitting together disparate brain circuits, and so are connected to higher mental activity and heightened awareness, as well.

    Davidson’s research is consistent with his earlier work that pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex as a brain region associated with happiness and positive thoughts and emotions. Using functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) on the meditating monks, Davidson found that their brain activity — as measured by the EEG — was especially high in this area.

    Davidson concludes from the research that meditation not only changes the workings of the brain in the short term, but also quite possibly produces permanent changes. That finding, he said, is based on the fact that the monks had considerably more gamma wave activity than the control group even before they started meditating. A researcher at the University of Massachusetts, Jon Kabat-Zinn, came to a similar conclusion several years ago.

    Researchers at Harvard and Princeton universities are now testing some of the same monks on different aspects of their meditation practice: their ability to visualize images and control their thinking. Davidson is also planning further research.

    “What we found is that the trained mind, or brain, is physically different from the untrained one,” he said. In time, “we’ll be able to better understand the potential importance of this kind of mentaltraining and increase the likelihood that it will be taken seriously.”

    Author: Marc Kaufman | Source: Washington Post

    February 2010
    Young Tibet Online

  2. #2
    Account Inactive King Sitric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Last Online
    Sunday, January 9th, 2011 @ 11:57 PM
    Ethnicity
    Nordic/Germanic/Celtic/Hiberno/Eireannach
    Ancestry
    Germany/Norway/Denmark/Gaul/Hibernia/Ireland
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    European Union European Union
    Location
    Dyflin
    Gender
    Family
    free!
    Occupation
    Artizan
    Politics
    Republican
    Religion
    Atheist/Existentialist
    Posts
    96
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    I'm surprised that there are not more responses to this topic.


    Folks, this can only be true, ..... for deep thought, self-reflection and introspection can only be good psychologically, for the human mind and 'soul'. It is as old as humanity itself. I am not religious, nor spiritual in any way, but it is through such good practice of meditation and introspection that the human mind can grow, develop, open up, etc.. to the acceptance of life and mortality, unhindering ones views of the world all around us etc...

  3. #3
    Moderator "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    GroeneWolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Ethnicity
    Dutch
    Subrace
    Don't know
    Country
    Netherlands Netherlands
    State
    Utrecht Utrecht
    Gender
    Age
    37
    Family
    Single adult
    Posts
    3,067
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    317
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    413
    Thanked in
    224 Posts
    This article is for the most part just proof for what people already knew. Interesting of course and gives some more details about what it does. But the conclusion that is good for the brain is hardly surprising, considering that it was already found out that meditation causes more alpha brainwaves to be generated and the beta ones to become less.
    The sense of honor is of so fine and delicate a nature that
    it is only to be met with in minds which are naturally noble or
    cultivated by good examples and a refined education.
    - Sir Richard Steele

  4. #4
    Senior Member Erlkönig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Last Online
    Saturday, August 25th, 2012 @ 03:49 PM
    Ethnicity
    West Prussia
    Ancestry
    From the roots of the Mountain.
    Country
    Australia Australia
    Gender
    Age
    30
    Occupation
    Student.
    Posts
    281
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    2
    Thanked in
    2 Posts
    Its interesting that they link meditation/introspection with compassion and love, when minds such as Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Heidegger came to a rather depressing and uncompassionate conclusion. Personally I would prefer their intelect to the Dalai Lama's.
    Life is a well of delight; but where the rabble also drink, there all fountains are poisoned.

  5. #5
    Account Inactive
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Last Online
    Thursday, July 5th, 2012 @ 07:07 AM
    Subrace
    Atlantid
    Country
    United States United States
    Location
    Metropolis
    Gender
    Age
    39
    Family
    Single
    Occupation
    Journalist
    Religion
    Protestant
    Posts
    6,672
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    10
    Thanked in
    10 Posts
    Meditation is often misunderstood, it does not involve doing anything special to attain a "higher state of being", it merely involves being aware of the present moment, and accepting/understanding one's place in it. It's the opposite of dwelling on the past, or the future - being caught up in daydreams, wishing things were "like they used to be" or hoping they'll get better in the future. Meditation is the opposite of this, it is being alive here and now.

    When we are aware of the present moment, we naturally become more productive.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Schattenjäger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Last Online
    Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 @ 08:11 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Ancestry
    Schlesien
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    Germany Germany
    State
    Silesia Silesia
    Location
    rural areas (for now)
    Gender
    Family
    Youth
    Occupation
    would-be historian
    Posts
    487
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Yes, but in Asia societies spent millennia on advancing brain techniques and developed specialized knowledge in that field. West has nothing in comparison, since western spirituality was never seriously interested in meditation. Unfortunately we are centuries behind them, only theoretically understanding this process.

Similar Threads

  1. Meditation Can Speed Up the Brain, Researchers Say
    By Hersir in forum Psychology, Behavior, & Neuroscience
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 03:45 PM
  2. Original Thinkers More Likely to Cheat, Study Finds
    By Edie in forum Psychology, Behavior, & Neuroscience
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 12:28 AM
  3. Mindfulness Meditation Training Changes Brain Structure in 8 Weeks
    By Hersir in forum Psychology, Behavior, & Neuroscience
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Saturday, January 22nd, 2011, 06:31 PM
  4. Australians More Obese Than Americans, Study Finds
    By Hanna in forum Australia & New Zealand
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: Monday, October 20th, 2008, 02:51 PM
  5. Meditation Found to Increase Brain Size
    By GroeneWolf in forum Psychology, Behavior, & Neuroscience
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Monday, July 7th, 2008, 05:40 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •