Meditation and Your Aging Brain

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: atsukosmith)

As all of us of a certain age begin to make our way through the latter part of life, there is much concern about retaining our ability to lead productive happy lives and continue to be independent if not productive members of society. The good news is that we are learning how our lifestyle choices can positively impact our continued health and well being. No longer is it a forgone conclusion that we will all be subject to the ravages of aging just because we have advanced in years.

I remember years ago hearing Deepak Chopra remark that aging was a mistake. By that he meant that we did not necessarily have to succumb to many of the health issues and declining capacities that previous generations believed were inevitable. Science is beginning to show us how true his statement is–and even better it is showing us the tools and their effects on how to make this our reality.

Here is an excerpt from some research on mindfulness and how it affects the brain from Harvard/MGH.

“Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of Dr. Lazar’s research is the finding that cortical thickness was more pronounced in the older subjects. A number of factors, including age, sex and genetics, influence the thickness of the human cortex, with age being the leading factor. Despite the affects of aging on the prefrontal cortex, Dr. Lazar and her team found that the average cortical thickness in two regions of the cortex of the 40 -50 year old meditators was similar to the average thickness of the 20- 30 year old meditators and control subjects. This suggests that meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration in specific locations of the cortex.”

Read the full article here: http://www.hms.harvard.edu/hmni/On_The_Brain/Volume12/OTB_Vol12No3_Fall06.pdf

 

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