Regular meditation is believed to not only calm and soothe the mind but thanks to a new study it’s said to shave years off a person’s brain age. Researchers scanned the brains of 100 Americans – 50 men and women who meditate regularly, and 50 who do not. By analysing the data from both sets, they were able to tell a person’s brain age based on its physical condition.
Those who did not meditate were shown to have brains the same as their actual ages. For those who do? Their brains were revealed to be 7.5 years younger. According to the results of this study published in NeuroImage journal, the intense, deep thinking required by a person who meditates is thought to forge stronger connections in the brain as well as creating new brain cells. A meditator with an age of 50 was shown to have a 43-year old’s brain. Plus, the benefits of meditation for those over 50 are even greater: they are likely to have an additional year shaved off their brain age.
Researcher Christian Gaser, of Jena University Hospital in Germany, who worked with US and Australian scientists on the study, said: “These findings seem to suggest that meditation is beneficial for brain preservation, with a slower rate of brain ageing throughout life.” He goes on to add that at this stage there’s no hard proof as to the specifics. It could be that the “feel good” factor of meditation plays a part, or that people who meditate live healthier lives overall. Whatever the cause, it’s believed that brain shrinkage is responsible for a host of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Another interesting revelation from the study highlighted that a person’s sex can also have an effect on their brain age. On the whole, women brain’s – whether they meditated or not – were shown on average to be three years younger than men’s.
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