Mindfulness meditation training changes the brain
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A recent study compared mindfulness meditation training vs relaxation training with stressed adults.
The study found that the biological health-related benefits of mindfulness meditation training occur through fundamental changes to brain network functional connectivity patterns.
These brain changes are linked to a reduction in Interleukin-6, an inflammatory health biomarker.
People who received the relaxation training did not show these brain changes.
David Creswell, lead author and associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences commented:
We think that these brain changes provide a neurobiological marker for improved executive control and stress resilience, such that mindfulness meditation training improves your brain’s ability to help you manage stress, and these changes improve a broad range of stress-related health outcomes, such as your inflammatory health
The study was a randomized controlled trial, involving 35 stressed adult job-seekers.
Participants were put on either an intensive three-day mindfulness meditation retreat program or a well-matched relaxation retreat program that did not have a mindfulness part.
All participants completed a five-minute resting state brain scan before and after the three-day program.
They also provided blood samples right before the intervention began and at a four-month follow-up.
The study was published in Biological Psychiatry (Creswell et al., 2016)
Image credit: mindful.org