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Meditation Improves Self-Regulation Thru Changes in Brain’s White Matter

23 Jan

Investigators from the Institute of Neuroinformatics at Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China, explored whether brief meditation could produce the changes in white matter connectivity that increase anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activity and improve self-regulation. They also were interested in discovering more specifics about the mechanisms that produce these changes.

In previous studies, these researchers showed that 3 (??) hours of what they call “mental training” or meditation, based on traditional Chinese medicine (integrative body-mind training, IBMT), increased ACC activity and improved self-regulation.

Findings from this study show that 11 hours of IBMT increase fractional anisotropy (FA), an index indicating the integrity and efficiency of white matter in the corona radiata, an important white-matter tract connecting the ACC to other structures. This is a reasonable explanation of how IBMT could provide a means for improving self-regulation, in addition to perhaps reducing or preventing various mental disorders.

Citation:  Tang YY, Lu Q, Geng X, Stein EA, Yang Y, Posner MI. Short-term meditation induces white matter changes in the anterior cingulate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U S A. 2010 Aug 31; 107 (35): pp. 15649-52. Epub 2010 Aug 16. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award