Science & Technology
Meditation slows brain age of Buddhist monk
By T.K. Randall
March 18, 2020 · 1 comment
Could meditation make you younger ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Adityamadhav83
An intriguing new study suggests that regular meditation may actually help to slow down the aging process.
Mankind has been obsessed with gaining immortality for thousands of years, but even despite the incredible advances in science and medicine achieved over the last few centuries our species still remains just as vulnerable to the aging process as our ancestors were millions of years ago.
One man however - a Buddhist monk named Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche - is challenging what we know about aging and in particular, how meditation impacts the rate at which our brain ages.
Rinpoche, 41, began meditating at the age of 9 and has continued the practice throughout his life.
For the study, scientists scanned his brain 4 times over the course of 14 years using structural MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). At the same time, a control group of 105 volunteers who did not practice meditation were also scanned in the same way.
A machine learning tool called the Brain Age Gap Estimation (BrainAGE) framework was then used to determine from this data just how old the brain of each individual actually was.
Incredibly, the results seemed to suggest that Rinpoche's meditative practices had reduced his biological age by 8 years.
"The big finding is that the brain of this Tibetan monk, who has spent more than 60,000 hours of his life in formal meditation, ages more slowly than the brains of controls," said the study's senior researcher Richard Davidson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Whether this would mean that he'd be likely to live longer overall, however, remains unclear.
"It kind of makes sense biologically, because stress is a thing that causes aging," said neurologist Dr. Kiran Rajneesh from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Perhaps doing those few minutes of meditation and slowing down our lives, even for some amount of time, is likely to help."
Source: Live Science
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