As we age our brains naturally atrophy. This means they slowly lose neurons and the connections between them.
But, new data suggests long-term meditators are bucking this trend. Their brains are showing stronger connections and less atrophy; they are, essentially, looking younger.
Now, Eileen Luders, assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neurological Imaging is asking: Could meditation be the key to fighting senile dementia?
“If practiced regularly and over years, meditation may slow down aging-related brain atrophy,” she writes. “Perhaps by positively affecting the immune system."
Luders and her colleagues studied brains on meditation using a new technique called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). They used 27 active meditation practitioners and 27 control subjects. The experimental group had between 5 and 46 years of experience.
Results showed the meditators brains’ to be structurally different from the control group. The meditators enjoyed a range of brain areas with stronger neural connections and less atrophy.
The study appears in the current online edition of the journal NeuroImage.
Luders, herself a meditator, conducted the experiment as a follow-up to a previous study.
Two years ago, she and her team revealed that the brains of longterm meditators were larger and had more…