A lot of people are practicing meditation to calm their minds and to rejuvenate themselves. And it works. But how exactly does meditation influence our brain? A recent small study investigated this question. The study involved 10 students who were taught how to meditate and practized the “focused attention meditation” 5 times a week for 10 or 15 minutes for 2 months, keeping a journal record of their practice. During this time the researchers used MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging) to observe the eventual changes in their brain patterns.
The results show that meditation training led to faster switching between the 2 brain’s general states of consciousness, the mind wandering state (called the default mode network) and the focused attention (called dorsal attention network), which is necessary for attention-demanding tasks. Moreover, focusing attention as well as maintaining attention once in the focused attention state turned out to be better after the meditation training.
As you can see, this study confirms that meditation works on healthy young people. But what about the elderly group that might need it even more? Can mediation help healthy erderly people but also people with early Alzheimer’s, to enhance their brain health? These questions are still to be answered.
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