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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 31;7(1):10160. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-07764-x.

Reduced age-associated brain changes in expert meditators: a multimodal neuroimaging pilot study.

Author information

1
Inserm, Inserm UMR-S U1237, Université de Caen-Normandie, GIP Cyceron, Caen, France. chetelat@cyceron.fr.
2
Inserm, Inserm UMR-S U1237, Université de Caen-Normandie, GIP Cyceron, Caen, France.
3
Normandie Univ, UNICAEN, EPHE, INSERM, U1077, CHU de Caen, Neuropsychologie et Imagerie de la Mémoire Humaine, 14000, Caen, France.
4
Rheumatology, 67000, Strasbourg, France.
5
Shechen Monastery, P.O. Box 136, Kathmandu, Nepal.
6
Lyon Neuroscience Research Center INSERM U1028, CNRS UMR5292, Lyon 1 University, Lyon, France.

Abstract

Aging is associated with progressive cerebral volume and glucose metabolism decreases. Conditions such as stress and sleep difficulties exacerbate these changes and are risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Meditation practice, aiming towards stress reduction and emotion regulation, can downregulate these adverse factors. In this pilot study, we explored the possibility that lifelong meditation practice might reduce age-related brain changes by comparing structural MRI and FDG-PET data in 6 elderly expert meditators versus 67 elderly controls. We found increased gray matter volume and/or FDG metabolism in elderly expert meditators compared to controls in the bilateral ventromedial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex, insula, temporo-parietal junction, and posterior cingulate cortex /precuneus. Most of these regions were also those exhibiting the strongest effects of age when assessed in a cohort of 186 controls aged 20 to 87 years. Moreover, complementary analyses showed that these changes were still observed when adjusting for lifestyle factors or using a smaller group of controls matched for education. Pending replication in a larger cohort of elderly expert meditators and longitudinal studies, these findings suggest that meditation practice could reduce age-associated structural and functional brain changes.

PMID:
28860449
PMCID:
PMC5578985
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-07764-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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