How Mindfulness Meditation Permanently Changes Your Brain
Mindfulness meditation works on the brain by decoupling regions that have tended to function together.
What's the Latest?
While many studies have focused on how mindfulness meditation affects newcomers to the practice, a new study out of the University of Pittsburgh examined the brains of long-time meditators specifically when they were not meditating. "MRI scans show that after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s 'fight or flight' center, the amygdala, appears to shrink. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress. As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker."
What's the Big Idea?
Mindfulness meditation works on the brain by decoupling regions that have tended to function together. While researchers noticed an uptick in the brain regions that feel pain among meditators, for example, the individuals themselves reported experiencing less pain than non-meditators. This demonstrates the capacity of meditation to create new neural connections and change how different regions relate to one another. Over time, however, the brains of meditators return to more normal states of functioning, suggesting that the benefits achieved by meditation become default.
Read more at Scientific American
Photo credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock
Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.
- Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
- In nature, properties of Particle B may be depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
- In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.
E-cigarettes may be safer than traditional cigarettes, but they come with their own risks.
- A new study used an MRI machine to examine how vaping e-cigarettes affects users' cardiovascular systems immediately after inhalation.
- The results showed that vaping causes impaired circulation, stiffer arteries and less oxygen in their blood.
- The new study adds to a growing body of research showing that e-cigarettes – while likely safer than traditional cigarettes – are far from harmless.
The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.