New research at UCLA’s Laboratory of Neuro-Imaging indicates that people who meditate have larger amounts of gyrification ~ the “folding” of the cortex ~ than non-meditators, and this enables their brains to process information faster.
"Rather than just comparing meditators and non-meditators, we wanted to see if there is a link between the amount of meditation practice and the extent of brain alteration," Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA lab, told ScienceDaily. "That is, correlating the number of years of meditation with the degree of folding."
According to ScienceDaily.com:
The meditators had practiced their craft on average for 20 years using a variety of meditation types -- Samatha, Vipassana, Zen and more. The researchers applied a well-established and automated whole-brain approach to measure cortical gyrification at thousands of points across the surface of the brain.
They found pronounced group differences (heightened levels of gyrification in active meditation practitioners) across a wide swatch of the cortex, including the left precentral gyrus, the left and right anterior dorsal insula, the right fusiform gyrus and the right cuneus.
Perhaps most interesting, though, was the positive correlation between the number of meditation years and the amount of insular gyrification.
Luders cautions that while genetic and other environmental factors could have contributed to the effects the researchers observed, "The positive correlation between gyrification and the number of practice years supports the idea that meditation enhances regional gyrification."
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