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Meditation may help reduce decline of cognitive functions

Since the 1970s, life expectancy increased significantly, but those who live longer may not be as healthy as to enjoy the added years. On the other hand, researchers noticed as early as late-20s than brain’s volume and size start do decrease slowly, leading to impaired cognitive function over time.

Some of the steps involved in slowing down the process involve meditation as a potentially effective method.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Scientists analyzed the association between age and gray matter by comparing 50 people who had meditated for years and 50 who did not.

In each group there were 28 men and 22 women with ages between 24 and 77. Those who meditated had done so between 4 and 46 years, with an average of 20 years.

Even though both groups showed a loss of gray matter associated with age, those who meditated had a higher volume of gray matter than participants who did not meditate frequently.

Researchers took scan images to participants’ brains using high-resolution magnetic resonance that showed a correlation between gray matter and age in both groups.

“We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating,” Dr. Florian Kurth, a co-author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Brain Mapping Center. “Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”

Researchers however were cautious about making a direct connection between meditation and preserving gray matter, and suggested factors such as lifestyle choices, genetic brain differences and personality traits need to be looked into first.

Meditation may help reduce decline of cognitive functions

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