Meditation may help brain tune out distractions

November 21, 2011

Experienced meditators seem to be able switch off areas of the brain associated with daydreaming as well as psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, according to a new brain imaging study by Yale researchers.

Less day dreaming has been associated with increased happiness levels, said Judson A. Brewer, assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author of the study published the week of Nov. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Understanding how meditation works will aid investigation into a host of diseases, he said.

“Meditation has been shown to help in variety of health problems, such as helping people quit smoking, cope with cancer, and even prevent psoriasis,” Brewer said.

The … Read more »

Brains of Buddhist monks scanned in meditation study

April 24, 2011

Matt Danzico: In a laboratory tucked away off a noisy New York City street, a soft-spoken neuroscientist has been placing Tibetan Buddhist monks into a car-sized brain scanner to better understand the ancient practice of meditation.

But could this unusual research not only unravel the secrets of leading a harmonious life but also shed light on some of the world’s more mysterious diseases?

Zoran Josipovic, a research scientist and adjunct professor at New York University, says he has been peering into the brains of monks while they meditate in an attempt to understand how their brains reorganise themselves during the exercise.

Since 2008, the researcher has been placing the minds and bodies of prominent Buddhist … Read more »

The neuroscience of mindfulness

October 13, 2009

Psychology Today: We generally think of mindfulness as an idea that has been around for thousands of years, originally emerging out of Buddhist traditions. Many Buddhist researchers are doing great studies showing that mindfulness has an impact on many aspects of human experience.

I have a bit of a problem with that. When you understand the underlying physiology of mindfulness, you begin to see that any discussion about human change, learning, education, even politics and social issues, ends up being about mindfulness. That’s because mindfulness, in some ways, is simply the opposite of mindlessness. And mindlessness is the cause of a tremendous amount of human suffering.

I have a problem with something as important as … Read more »