A newly published UCLA study suggests that meditation might be the key to keeping the brain youthful. After age 25, brain tissue begins to shrink, and this shrinkage may contribute to forgetfulness as people age. “Less brain matter in some regions is associated with less cognitive functioning,” said Dr. Florian Kurth, one of the lead researchers on the study. Kurth encourages meditation for brain health.
Kurth and his colleagues found that the brains of people who meditated regularly showed less shrinkage than the brains of a control group. While the exact effect is not known, Kurth proposes that meditation simultaneously reduces stress and fortifies certain parts of the brain. “Imagine body building,” he says, “it may just be that some regions in the brain grow bigger and stay bigger over time, and that makes a difference.” Kurth believes that meditation effectively “bulks up” areas of the brain associated with youthful cognitive function.
So while the study fails to show a direct link between meditation and tissue preservation, meditation for brain health “doesn’t hurt,” says Kurth.
Read more about the UCLA study here.
Learn how to meditate and download guided meditations here.