Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Meditation Could Ease Psychiatric Disorders

How Meditation Could Ease Psychiatric Disorders

Amanda Chan / Source: Huffington Post<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/23/meditation-brain-psychiatric-disorders_n_1108238.html>

Research has shown that mediation has a multitude of health benefits, from
stress relief, to lowering blood pressure, to helping people with cancer. A
new study shows that it could also have effects on psychiatric disorders.

In the study to be published in the journal *Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences*, researchers from Yale University found that people
who are experienced meditators have the ability to turn off certain brain
regions tied with daydreaming, autism and schizophrenia.

"Meditation's ability to help people stay in the moment has been part of
philosophical and contemplative practices for thousands of years," study
researcher Judson A. Brewer, psychiatry professor at Yale, said in a
statement. "Conversely, the hallmarks of many forms of mental illness is a
preoccupation with one's own thoughts, a condition meditation seems to
affect. This gives us some nice cues as to the neural mechanisms of how it
might be working clinically."

For the study, researchers conducted brain imaging (MRI scans) on newer and
more experienced meditators, who went through three different meditation
techniques. They found that when the experienced meditators meditated, a
brain region called the default mode network had decreased activity. This
brain region has been linked with ADHD, anxiety, and even amyloid-plaque
buildup associated with Alzheimer's disease, researchers said.

In addition, when this default mode network was active in the experienced
meditators, researchers found that their brain regions linked with brain
control and self-monitoring were *also* activated. Researchers said this
means that they are able avoid "me" thoughts and can keep their minds from
wandering, which has been linked with psychiatric disorders like
schizophrenia and autism.

Quite literally, sustained meditation leads to something called
neuroplasticity, which is defined as the brain's ability to change,
structurally and functionally, on the basis of environmental input.

For much of the last century, scientists believed that the brain
essentially stopped changing after adulthood.

But research by University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson has
shown that experienced meditators exhibit high levels of gamma wave
activity and display an ability — continuing after the meditation session
has attended — to not get stuck on a particular stimulus. That is, they're
automatically able to control their thoughts and reactiveness.
*Edited by: Lawyer Asad*<http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=www.stealthesesecretsyet.com%2Fhow-meditation-could-ease-psychiatric-disorders%2F&src=sp>

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