‘Training, meditation can help people with cognitive disorders’

Can a regular training and proper exercises help in the assessment and treatment of cognitive disorders in the long run?

While psychologists and experts in cognitive science across the globe are looking at various methods to understand medical cognition and role of cognitive process in various types of mental health problems, senior scientist and pioneer expert in the field, professor Michael I Posner from US has found a strong connection between training and meditation with white matter in the brain that could lead to assessment and treatment of cognitive disorders in the long run.

Various research studies in US have found connection between the white matter and mindfulness exercises including meditation, said Posner, a professor emeritus from the University of Oregon, while talking to Times of India on Sunday.

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There are also strong evidences to show that training strategies and meditation actually regulate the secretion of cortisone, also known as stress hormone. Similarly, mindful exercises in different cultures have induced changes in behaviour besides affecting the cognition level, he added.

It may be mentioned here that Posner was in the city to inaugurate the 3-day international seminar on ‘recent advances in cognitive science’ organised by the department of psychology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) that began on Saturday (December 18).

In 2009, Posner was awarded the US National Science Medal, the highest award for scientists in the country.

Saying that the development of advanced version of MRI including functional MRI has made it easier to examine the working human brain and its different neural network connections, the scientist also emphasised that efforts are being made to examine the neural network underlying attention that could be used to develop suitable cognitive intervention for various types of psychopathology. “We are also trying to develop training strategies that have compensatory mechanism for brain damage and rehabilitation. It could help people with cognitive disorders to lead a normal and respectful life.” he said.

Referring to the recent experiments to assess the cognitive level of school-going children using psycholinguistic tools, Posner said that experiments clearly showed that students had difficulty in understanding Chinese numerals in comparison to Arabic numerals, though numerals involved simple arithmetic. It is an interesting revelation that shows different behaviour of individuals or the group in different cultures in the world, he added.

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