By 2030, about 72 million people in the U.S. will be over age 65, and by 2025, more than 7 million Americans are expected to have Alzheimer's.
As the U.S. population grows older, brain aging will become a greater concern. An aging brain increases the risk of age-related cognitive decline and dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia.
However, cognitive decline does not have to be an inevitable part of growing older. Now research reports meditation may help prevent brain aging and improve brain function.
Meditation Positively Changes Brain Structure
A 2005 breakthrough study published in Neuroreport found meditation increased the thickness of the brain's prefrontal cortex. Normally, as the brain ages the cortex thins and the brain shrinks. The prefrontal cortex is associated with attention, higher thought and planning.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston took MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scans of 20 experienced meditators and 15 non-meditators. During scanning the meditators did insight meditation while the non-meditators thought about whatever they wanted.
The meditators practiced insight meditation for about six hours weekly for an average of nine years. Insight meditation cultivates mindfulness -- an awareness of the present moment. (MORE)
Source: Huffington Post