Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Meditation and the Brain (Brain ... Brain ... Brain ...)

Within the last decade, research has shown that connections among brain nerve cells are not fixed early in life and unchanging in adulthood as scientists used to believe. Scientists are now embracing the concept of ongoing brain development and "neuroplasticity." Current research conducted at the University of Wisconsin, where researchers have been working with Tibetan monks, translates the mental experiences of meditation into "the scientific language of high-frequency gamma waves and brain synchrony, or coordination." And this translation has been paying off:
"What we found is that the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before," said Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university's new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior. "Their mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance." It demonstrates, he said, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.
The Washington Post's website has the full article. It's a good read.

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