Meditators Have Younger Brains

When researchers at UCLA compared the brains of meditators to non-meditators they found that meditator’s brains were almost a decade younger by the time people reach their mid 50s.

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We’ve long known that normal aging is accompanied by a decrease in brain size. This decrease in brain size is due to age-related loss of connective tissue in the brain, often referred to as brain shrinkage, and affects memory, emotional regulation, and executive function. New research from the UCLA School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology shows that long-term meditators have younger brains, with higher concentrations of tissue in the brain regions most depleted by aging. In other words, the study found that meditation practice may help to minimize brain age and protect against age-related decline.

Using brain imaging data from a previous investigation of the impact of meditation on cortical thickness, this new study examined whether the estimated brain composition of meditators aged 50 and beyond differed from that of non-meditators. To answer this question, researchers compared brain images of a matched sample of 50 meditators and 50 non-meditating controls ranging in age from 24 to 77 years. Both groups included 22 women and 28 men, and had a mean age of 51.4 years. Meditators had close to 20 years of meditation experience on average (range 4 to 46…