I recently read a very interesting article about how researchers at Yale university have shown how people who meditate on a regular basis can switch off areas of their brain which operate in the “default mode network”, which is linked to largely self-centred thinking.
The researchers suggest that by “tuning out” the “me” thoughts, meditators develop a new default mode, which is more present-centred.
Meditation can also help deal with a variety of health problems, from quitting smoking, to coping with cancer…
How Meditation Benefits The Brain
Medical News Today
Published November 23, 2011
Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Copyright: Medical News Today
A new brain imaging study led by researchers at Yale University shows how people who regularly practise meditation are able to switch off areas of the brain linked to daydreaming, anxiety, schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. The brains of experienced meditators appear to show less activity in an area known as the “default mode network”, which is linked to largely self-centred thinking. The researchers suggest through monitoring and suppressing or “tuning out” the “me” thoughts, meditators develop a new default mode, which is more present-centred.
A report of their findings is due to be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Meditation can help deal with a variety of health problems, from quitting smoking, to coping with cancer, and even preventing psoriasis, one of the researchers said in a statement. For this study, they wanted to look further into the neurological mechanisms that might be involved.
Lead author Judson A. Brewer, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale, and colleagues, used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans to observe the brains of both novice and experienced meditators as they practised three different forms of meditation.
They found that the experienced meditators, regardless of the type of meditation they practised, seemed able to switch off the default mode network, which has been linked to lapses of attention, and disorders such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. This part of the brain, comprising the medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortex, has also been linked to the accumulation of beta amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease