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Neuroreport. 2009 Jan 28;20(2):170-4. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328320012a.

Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem.

Author information

1
Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. peterv@pet.auh.dk

Abstract

Extensive practice involving sustained attention can lead to changes in brain structure. Here, we report evidence of structural differences in the lower brainstem of participants engaged in the long-term practice of meditation. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we observed higher gray matter density in lower brain stem regions of experienced meditators compared with age-matched nonmeditators. Our findings show that long-term practitioners of meditation have structural differences in brainstem regions concerned with cardiorespiratory control. This could account for some of the cardiorespiratory parasympathetic effects and traits, as well as the cognitive, emotional, and immunoreactive impact reported in several studies of different meditation practices.

PMID:
19104459
DOI:
10.1097/WNR.0b013e328320012a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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