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Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation

Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation
Related:  New Brain Health

Stanford studies monks' meditation, compassion Stanford neuroeconomist Brian Knutson is an expert in the pleasure center of the brain that works in tandem with our financial decisions - the biology behind why we bypass the kitchen coffeemaker to buy the $4 Starbucks coffee every day. He can hook you up to a brain scanner, take you on a simulated shopping spree and tell by looking at your nucleus accumbens - an area deep inside your brain associated with fight, flight, eating and fornicating - how you process risk and reward, whether you're a spendthrift or a tightwad. So when his colleagues saw him putting Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns into the MRI machine in the basement of the Stanford psychology building, he drew a few double-takes. Knutson is still interested in the nucleus accumbens, which receives a dopamine hit when a person anticipates something pleasant, like winning at blackjack. Only now he wants to know if the same area of the brain can light up for altruistic reasons. Meditation science Stress reduction Effect on aging

Wired 14.02: Buddha on the Brain The hot new frontier of neuroscience: meditation! (Just ask the Dalai Lama.) By John GeirlandPage 1 of 2 next » The Dalai Lama has a cold. He has been hacking and sniffling his way around Washington, DC, for three days, calling on President Bush and Condoleezza Rice and visiting the Booker T. Story Tools Story Images Click thumbnails for full-size image: The mood is tense. The 14th incarnation of the Living Buddha of Compassion approaches the podium, clears his throat, and blows his nose loudly. The Dalai Lama is here to give a speech titled "The Neuroscience of Meditation." But the invitation has sparked a noisy row within the neuroscience community. All of which may explain the lama's ailment. The protesters complain that the Tibetan leader isn't qualified to speak about brain science. One of the petition organizers, Lu Yang Wang, is even more blunt: "Who's coming next year?" Richard Davidson, 54, is at once a distinguished scientist and an avid spiritual seeker.

How Meditation Changes the Structure of Your Brain digg HJ: Meditation has long been known to be beneficial on a number of levels and science is now confirming this to be true, but perhaps what is even more interesting is the fact that science is also discovering things that were not previously perceptible such as the fact that meditation actually changes the structure of your brain. This is a fascinating and incredible discovery with many implications into the relationship between the body and mind. - Truth A Little Meditation Goes a Long Way By Jason Marsh | Greater Good I consider myself something of a prospective meditator—meaning that a serious meditation practice is always something I’m about to start… next week. So for years, I’ve been making a mental note of new studies showing that meditation can literally change our brain structure in ways that might boost concentration, memory, and positive emotions. Well, a new study offers some hope—and makes the benefits of meditation seem within reach even for a novice like me.

THE BRAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM Since the 1970s, laboratories that do research about sleep have been established in many parts of the world. Thanks to their discoveries, we now know that the health problems caused by lack of sleep are far more numerous than we once imagined. These laboratories have also identified over 100 different disorders that can affect our sleep. More and more studies in animals and humans (see sidebar) tend to suggest that hypocretins (also known as orexins), a class of neuropeptides produced solely by the neurons of the hypothalamus, play a role in narcolepsy. In its most complete form, narcolepsy is also accompanied by a condition that is startling, to say the least, to those who witness it: cataplexy, a sudden decrease in muscle tonus, varying in intensity and lasting less than a minute. An attack of cataplexy is usually caused by a strong emotional trigger such as laughter, anger, surprise, or sexual arousal. Sleep paralysis and sleep hallucinations are other symptoms of narcolepsy.

Center for Narcolepsy - Stanford University School of Medicine The Stanford Center for Narcolepsy has now identified circulating immune T cells that react to hypocretin, together with a specific protein target of the autoimmune attack, conclusively demonstrating the autoimmune basis for the disease in a process called molecular mimicry. Learn more about this groundbreaking discovery and how you can help support future discoveries. Click here to read the full scientific article published December 18th, 2013 in the journal of Science Translational Medicine. Our Mission: The goals of the Stanford Center for Narcolepsy are to: find the cause of narcolepsy, develop new treatments and eventually prevent and cure this complex disorder. The Disorder: Narcolepsy is a life-long, disabling illness that affects more than 1 in 2,000 Americans. Narcolepsy is characterized by permanent, overwhelming feelings of sleepiness and fatigue. Our Research: The Stanford Center for Narcolepsy was established in the 1980s. Today, under the direction of Dr. Donate:

Inside Perspectives | of Asperger Syndrome and the Neurodiversity Spectrum aspie quiz | Search Results There are quite a few online Asperger’s Syndrome tests. I thought it might be fun to take each of them and then do a little write up. So, welcome to “Take a Test Tuesday,” a new series that will go on for as many weeks as I can continue digging up new tests to take. I’m going to kick it off with my favorite online Asperger’s test, The Aspie Quiz, but first a few words about online tests in general. Although some of the tests you’ll find on the internet are used as part of a diagnostic battery, it’s important to remember than an official diagnosis includes additional elements such as neuropsychological testing, observation by a psychiatrist, an assessment of childhood development and interviews with family members. While you can take these quizzes and get a result that says you’re “most likely an aspie,” they aren’t diagnostic instruments. With that in mind, let’s get started. The Aspie Quiz The Aspie Quiz was developed by Rdos. Pros and Cons of the Aspie Quiz Pros Cons Taking the Test Mine:

As we sleep, speedy brain waves boost our ability to learn Scientists have long puzzled over the many hours we spend in light, dreamless slumber. But a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests we're busy recharging our brain's learning capacity during this traditionally undervalued phase of sleep, which can take up half the night. UC Berkeley researchers have found compelling evidence that bursts of brain waves known as "sleep spindles" may be networking between key regions of the brain to clear a path to learning. These electrical impulses help to shift fact-based memories from the brain's hippocampus -- which has limited storage space -- to the prefrontal cortex's "hard drive," thus freeing up the hippocampus to take in fresh data. Spindles are fast pulses of electricity generated during non-REM sleep, and they can occur up to 1,000 times a night. "A lot of that spindle-rich sleep is occurring the second half of the night, so if you sleep six hours or less, you are shortchanging yourself.

How to Increase Dopamine Levels: Foods to Eat and What to Do Dopamine is the brain’s feel good chemical, sending feelings of well-being and pleasure into your body. In addition to simply making you feel good, dopamine helps control weight, energy levels, and supports brain and heart health. Without it, we would be more fat, unhappy, and tired. But if you know how to increase dopamine levels, you can take advantage of this feel good chemical on command. The best part? You can increase dopamine levels just by eating certain foods. Fat, unhappy, and tired—those words seem to fit many Americans quite well. But, how can you boost dopamine levels naturally? Another solution for how to increase dopamine levels and flood your brain with this feel-good chemical is exercise. Alternatively, you could also take supplements to boost dopamine, although foods and exercise may be the two best and most beneficial options. What you put in your body and how you use your body determines how you feel. Additional Sources: RaySahelian Medhelp Reuniting NaturalNews

The Craving Brain “All I want is a huge steak. I must need more iron.” Chances are you, too, have uttered similar words, and quickly proceeded to a local steakhouse for dinner. For years, popular belief has held that our cravings indicate what is lacking in our diet, that cravings are our bodies’ way of telling us what they need. Most of us have food cravings. Some cravings shed light on what’s missing from our diet. They don’t, of course. A monotonous diet—and not a nutritional gap—may be more to blame for your yen for a certain food. In fact, some research shows that cravings have less to do with biology and more to do with psychology. The MRIs, completed during the induced cravings, showed that the parts of the brain involved in food cravings—the hippocampus, caudate and insula—are identical to those involved in drug addiction. Triggers of Yearning Hormones are also involved. But do those diet-induced cravings stick around? The good news? Picture, if You Will Try beating the craving at its own game.

Memory Loss & the Brain by Daniel Pendick Parkinson’s disease is notorious for so-called motor symptoms like muscle rigidity, tremor, slowed movement, and unsteady posture and gait. Less well known -- even to some doctors who treat the disease -- are the effects of Parkinson’s on thinking. Parkinson’s disease and the medications used to treat it may also affect how the brain learns. The death of dopamine Parkinson's is caused by the death of brain cells that produce dopamine, one of the chemicals that carry messages between neurons. Drug treatments try to shore up dopamine levels. Dopamine-boosting drugs address motor symptoms, and this allows people to function better. Research priorities In 2001 and again in 2006, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) held meetings at which scientists, doctors, and patients discussed priorities in Parkinson’s disease research. What is needed, Babcock says, is more research. Impulse-control disorders Changes in learning New learning test