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Meditation found to increase brain size

Meditation found to increase brain size
Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office Sara Lazar (center) talks to research assistant Michael Treadway and technologist Shruthi Chakrapami about the results of experiments showing that meditation can increase brain size. People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don’t. Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input. In one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger people. “Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. Controlling random thoughts

Related:  Neuroscience

Brain Atlas - Introduction The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and the spinal cord, immersed in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Weighing about 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms), the brain consists of three main structures: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brainstem. Cerebrum - divided into two hemispheres (left and right), each consists of four lobes (frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal). The outer layer of the brain is known as the cerebral cortex or the ‘grey matter’. It covers the nuclei deep within the cerebral hemisphere e.g. the basal ganglia; the structure called the thalamus, and the ‘white matter’, which consists mostly of myelinated axons. – closely packed neuron cell bodies form the grey matter of the brain.

Love Deactivates Brain Areas For Fear, Planning, Critical Social Assessment Love Deactivates Brain Areas For Fear, Planning, Critical Social Assessment Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki of the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, University College London have found using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) that love turns down activity in some areas of the brain in part so that we will not see flaws in the object of our affections. However the key result was that it's not just that certain shared areas of the brain are reliably activated in both romantic and maternal love, but also particular locations are deactivated and it's the deactivation which is perhaps most revealing about love. Among other areas, parts of the pre-frontal cortex – a bit of the brain towards the front and implicated in social judgment – seems to get switched off when we are in love and when we love our children, as do areas linked with the experience of negative emotions such as aggression and fear as well as planning. Well, consider the possibilities.

Led Scientists Find Antibodies that Prevent Most HIV Strains from Infecting Human Cells Scientists have discovered two potent human antibodies that can stop more than 90 percent of known global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the laboratory, and have demonstrated how one of these disease-fighting proteins accomplishes this feat. According to the scientists, these antibodies could be used to design improved HIV vaccines, or could be further developed to prevent or treat HIV infection. Moreover, the method used to find these antibodies could be applied to isolate therapeutic antibodies for other infectious diseases as well. “The discovery of these exceptionally broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV and the structural analysis that explains how they work are exciting advances that will accelerate our efforts to find a preventive HIV vaccine for global use,” says Anthony S.

Neuron All neurons are electrically excitable, maintaining voltage gradients across their membranes by means of metabolically driven ion pumps, which combine with ion channels embedded in the membrane to generate intracellular-versus-extracellular concentration differences of ions such as sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium. Changes in the cross-membrane voltage can alter the function of voltage-dependent ion channels. If the voltage changes by a large enough amount, an all-or-none electrochemical pulse called an action potential is generated, which travels rapidly along the cell's axon, and activates synaptic connections with other cells when it arrives. Neurons do not undergo cell division. In most cases, neurons are generated by special types of stem cells.

Why you should learn to lucid dream If you’ve never experienced it then you may find it hard to understand what lucid dreaming is all about. In fact you may be thoroughly sceptical and dismiss the whole thing as silly nonsense. But I can tell you from personal experience that lucid dreams are very real and something that many millions of people regularly enjoy.

Researchers discover 'master switch' gene for obesity, diabetes A team of researchers, led by King's College London and the University of Oxford, have found that a gene linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels is in fact a 'master regulator' gene, which controls the behaviour of other genes found within fat in the body. As fat plays a key role in susceptibility to metabolic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, this study highlights the regulatory gene as a possible target for future treatments to fight these diseases. Published today in Nature Genetics, the study was one part of a large multi-national collaboration funded by the Wellcome Trust, known as the MuTHER study. It involves researchers from King's College London, University of Oxford, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the University of Geneva.

Making Sense of the World, Several Senses at a Time Our five senses–sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell–seem to operate independently, as five distinct modes of perceiving the world. In reality, however, they collaborate closely to enable the mind to better understand its surroundings. We can become aware of this collaboration under special circumstances. In some cases, a sense may covertly influence the one we think is dominant. The Top 10 Psychology Studies of 2010 The end of 2010 fast approaches, and I'm thrilled to have been asked by the editors of Psychology Today to write about the Top 10 psychology studies of the year. I've focused on studies that I personally feel stand out, not only as examples of great science, but even more importantly, as examples of how the science of psychology can improve our lives. Each study has a clear "take home" message, offering the reader an insight or a simple strategy they can use to reach their goals , strengthen their relationships, make better decisions, or become happier. If you extract the wisdom from these ten studies and apply them in your own life, 2011 just might be a very good year. 1) How to Break Bad Habits If you are trying to stop smoking , swearing, or chewing your nails, you have probably tried the strategy of distracting yourself - taking your mind off whatever it is you are trying not to do - to break the habit.

disorder is not just one disease Zeta-Jones treated for bipolar disorder Bipolar disorder is a complex condition that isn't easy to categorize Left untreated, bipolar disorder tends to worsen over time Men and women are equally likely to have bipolar disorder Catherine Zeta Jones has checked herself into a mental health facility for treatment of bipolar II disorder, her rep confirmed to CNN on Wednesday. The 41-year-old actress has been by husband Michael Douglas' side since his treatment for throat cancer last fall. ( -- Although the symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary significantly from person to person, mental health professionals have identified four main subtypes of the illness that together are referred to as bipolar spectrum disorders: bipolar I, bipolar II, bipolar not otherwise specified, and cyclothymia. Factors that differentiate the types of bipolar include the duration and intensity of the mood swings.