Sunday, January 15, 2006

Neuroplasticity, Meditation, and Improving Smarts (Hey, Boy George, You Listening?)

Here, some interesting folks at The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, a non-profit which "works to integrate contemplative awareness and contemporary life, to help create a more just, compassionate, and reflective society." Here, an article on how to meditate; more here.

Here, a link to a Time article on the benefits of meditation: "How to Get Smarter, One Breath at a Time--Scientists Find That Meditation Not Only Reduces Stress, But Also Reshapes the Brain."

At 4:30, when most of Wall Street is winding down, Walter Zimmermann begins a high-stakes, high-wire act conducted live before a paying audience. About 200 institutional investors . . . shell out up to $3,000 a month to catch his daily webcast on the volatile energy markets, a performance that can move hundreds of millions of dollars. . . Zimmermann, 54, watched most of his peers in energy futures burn out long ago. He attributes his brain's enduring sharpness not to an intravenous espresso drip but to 40 minutes of meditation each morning and evening. The practice, he says, helps him maintain the clarity he needs for quick, insightful analysis—even approaching happy hour. "Meditation," he says, "is my secret weapon."

Everyone around the water cooler knows that meditation reduces stress. But with the aid of advanced brainscanning technology, researchers are beginning to show that meditation directly affects the function and structure of the brain, changing it in ways that appear to increase attention span, sharpen focus and improve memory.

One recent study found evidence that the daily practice of meditation thickened the parts of the brain's cerebral cortex responsible for decision making, attention and memory. Sara Lazar, a research scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, presented preliminary results . . .that showed that the gray matter of 20 men and women who meditated for just 40 minutes a day was thicker than that of people who did not. Unlike in previous studies focusing on Buddhist monks, the subjects were Boston-area workers practicing a Western-style of meditation called mindfulness or insight meditation. "We showed for the first time that you don't have to do it all day for similar results," says Lazar. What's more, her research suggests that meditation may slow the natural thinning of that section of the cortex that occurs with age. . .

Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin . . . has collaborated with the Dalai Lama to study the brains of Tibetan monks, whom he calls "the Olympic athletes of meditation." Using caps with electrical sensors placed on the monks' heads, Davidson has picked up unusually powerful gamma waves that are better synchronized in the Tibetans than they are in novice meditators. Studies have linked this gamma-wave synchrony to increased awareness. . . Bruce O'Hara, associate professor of biology at the University of Kentucky . . . had college students either meditate, sleep or watch TV . . . . Those who had been taught to meditate performed 10% better—-"a huge jump, statistically speaking," says O'Hara. . . . Not surprisingly, given those results, a growing number of corporations—-including Deutsche Bank, Google and Hughes Aircraft—-offer meditation classes to their workers. . . .Another benefit for employers: meditation seems to help regulate emotions, which in turn helps people get along.



"Helps people get along," eh? How about meditation lessons for Bubble Boy, Rummy, and, most especially, Cheney?

Might be their only hope.







6 comments:

Blogenfreude said...

I'll think about it ...

enigma4ever said...

shhhh...I am busy trying to breathe...shhh....
( or am I susposed to say ummmmm)

[interesting..really...too bad George can't read...maybe Laura could try to read it to him....oh, that's right she went away this week...no booktime for the King this week..)

No Blood for Hubris said...

Well, whatever's up to Bubble Boy alone, just won't be happening.

Whatever's up to the rest of us, one truly expects, will manifest itself--- multidimensionally.

ASAP.

Yee haw.

enigma4ever said...

NB ..we have to get that "Yee haw " out of you....it has a Krawford twang to it...okay ...I guess you can keep saying it if it makes you happy... ( but really ??? please tell me you are not a cowboy or watch Nascar- it will ruin my image of you :(

but Multidimensional Manifest....oooh now that has such a nice sound....

No Blood for Hubris said...

My "yee-haw" is meant to be an ironic anti-hommage to yee-hawsters everywhere who inhabit the White House and are so stupid and malevolent they don't know that they're stupid and malevolent.

enigma4ever said...

oh now I see....well then you just YEE HAW all you want...Yippee -a- yay while you are at it...

( okay I now have theme music stuck in my head from Okalahoma- and NB this is all your fault....)

maybe I will go breathe and meditate...
yeah...LOL..
I will go Abloggin' instead much more fun....

( I Hope you got to come meet Fluffy?)