New study on whether meditation can reduce ageing

Do you think that meditation can reduce ageing? It would be nice, wouldn’t it. Cheaper than a wrinkle cream! The Guardian have reported on a study from The University of California.

Date: 24th April 2011
Source: The Guardian

meditation can reduce ageingScientists from a range of fields are starting to compile evidence that rather than simply being a transient mental or spiritual experience, meditation may have long-term implications for physical health. Called The Shamatha Project, it is one of the longest running studies, spanning eight years and costing nearly $4m.

Pagnoni, a student of meditation and a neuroscientist, has previously used brain imaging to show that meditation may protect against the cognitive decline that occurs as we age. But the Shamatha project is the first to suggest that meditation plays a role in cellular ageing. If that link is confirmed, he says, “that would be groundbreaking”.

Meditation seems to be effective in changing the way that we respond to external events. After short courses of mindfulness meditation, people produce less of the stress hormone cortisol, and mount a smaller inflammatory response to stress. One study linked meditators’ lower stress to changes in the amygdala – a brain area involved in fear and the response to threat.

There are many kinds of meditation, including transcendental meditation, in which you focus on a repetitive mantra, and compassion meditation, which involves extending feelings of love and kindness…”