Study shows how prayer, meditation affect brain activity

October 25, 2012

Katie Harmer, Deseret News: How do prayer and meditation affect brain activity? Dr. Andrew Newberg, MD, is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomson Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College, and he has studied the neuroscientific effect of religious and spiritual experiences for decades.

In a video that recently aired on “Through the Wormhole” narrated by Morgan Freeman on the TV channel Science, Dr. Newberg explains that to study the effect of meditation and prayer on the brain, he injects his subjects with a harmless radioactive dye while they are deep in prayer / meditation. The dye migrates to the parts of the brain where the blood flow … Read more »

Scans show more brain activity when people meditate

December 23, 2010

People who pray, meditate and perform religious rituals show considerably more activity in their brain’s frontal lobe during these activities than when the brain is at rest, a scientist has found.

Andrew Newberg from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College in the US is a proponent of neurotheology, which tries to study the relationship between the brain and religion.

Newberg studied the brain activity of experienced Tibetan Buddhists before and during meditation, reports the Daily Mail.

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He found an increase of activity in the meditators’ frontal lobe, responsible for focusing attention and concentration, during meditation. He attributes the change to the effects of their religious experience, a

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Belief in God changes our brain, physician says

November 10, 2010

Dr. Andrew Newberg, author of the book, “How God Changes Your Brain,” and other books in the field of neuroscience, is a physician in internal medicine and nuclear medicine as well as director of research in Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia. Newberg has pioneered study of the brain during religious and spiritual experiences.

Newberg was a guest Friday at the 11th annual Spirituality and Health Seminar. His lectures focused on how our health and happiness is affected by spirituality and by our emotions.

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How does your brain interpret the image at right?

The image shows four circles with one part of each

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Meditation may protect your brain

March 24, 2010

For thousands of years, Buddhist meditators have claimed that the simple act of sitting down and following their breath while letting go of intrusive thoughts can free one from the entanglements of neurotic suffering.

Now, scientists are using cutting-edge scanning technology to watch the meditating mind at work. They are finding that regular meditation has a measurable effect on a variety of brain structures related to attention — an example of what is known as neuroplasticity, where the brain physically changes in response to an intentional exercise.

A team of Emory University scientists reported in early September that experienced Zen meditators were much better than control subjects at dropping extraneous thoughts and returning to the … Read more »

Meditation improves cognition in those with memory loss

March 2, 2010

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation has announced data demonstrating that a meditation performed daily for eight weeks increased brain activity in areas central to memory and actually improved cognition in patients suffering from memory problems. The results of the study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, will be published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in April, 2010.

The risk of Alzheimer’s disease rises dramatically as people age and, as the ranks of our nation’s elderly swell, the number of people facing this dreadful disease will devastate our already overburdened healthcare system. Slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s by five or ten years would lessen this burden dramatically, but few options to slow, or perhaps … Read more »

The brain at prayer

Ever since he was five years old, Andrew Newberg has been asking himself the big questions – why are we here? Is there a God? How big is the Universe? Now as a neurologist and radiologist, Dr Newberg is still asking big questions about how the mind and brain work.

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Meditation mapped in monks

January 3, 2002

Snapshots of monks’ brains provide clues as to what goes on inside the head during meditation. Read more