Learning mindfulness meditation may help people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) with the fatigue, depression and other life challenges that commonly accompany the disease, according to a study published in the September 28, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
‘Mindfulness’, the process of learning to become more aware of our ongoing experiences, increases well-being in adolescent boys, a new study reports. Researchers from the University of Cambridge analyzed 155 boys from two independent UK schools, Tonbridge and Hampton, before and after a four-week crash course in mindfulness.
Just 11 hours of learning a meditation technique induces positive structural changes in brain connectivity by boosting efficiency in a part of the brain that helps a person regulate behavior in accordance with their goals, researchers report. The technique – integrative body-mind training (IBMT) – has been the focus of intense scrutiny by a team of Chinese researchers led by Yi-Yuan Tang of Dalian University of Technology in collaboration with University of Oregon psychologist Michael I. Posner.
A number of benefits from meditation have been claimed by those who practice various traditions, but few have been well tested in scientifically controlled studies. Among these claims are improved performance and decreased sleep need. Therefore, in these studies we assess whether meditation leads to an immediate performance improvement on a well validated psychomotor vigilance task (PVT), and second, whether longer bouts of meditation may alter sleep need. Check the end of this report for a link to download this open access study.
Scientists believe that your brain has a built-in “negativity bias.” In other words, as we evolved over millions of years, dodging sticks and chasing carrots, it was a lot more important to notice, react to, and remember sticks than it was for carrots. That’s because – in the tough environments in which our ancestors lived – if they missed out on a carrot, they usually had a shot at another one later on. But if they failed to avoid a stick – a predator, a natural hazard, or aggression from others of their species – WHAM, no more chances to pass on their genes.
As doctors increasingly prescribe meditation to patients for stress-related disorders, scientists are gaining a better understanding of how different techniques from Buddhist, Chinese, and Vedic traditions produce different results. A new paper published in Consciousness and Cognition discusses three categories to organize and better understand meditation.
It is nearly impossible to pay attention to one thing for a long time. A new study looks at whether Buddhist meditation can improve a person’s ability to be attentive and finds that meditation training helps people do better at focusing for a long time on a task that requires them to distinguish small differences between things they see. Participants took part in several experiments; results from one are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
How much change in the brain makes a difference in the mind?
That is the issue raised by a very interesting comment regarding my previous post, The Brain in a Bucket. So I have taken the liberty of posting the comment here (hoping that’s OK in blog etiquette; still learning as I go), and then responding.