Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chinese Meditation Found to Boost Brain Connectivity

03.09.2010
Just 11 hours of learning a meditation technique induces positive structural changes in brain connectivity by boosting efficiency in a part of the brain that helps a person regulate behavior in accordance with their goals, researchers report.

The technique -- integrative body-mind training (IBMT) -- has been the focus of intense scrutiny by a team of Chinese researchers led by Yi-Yuan Tang of Dalian University of Technology in collaboration with University of Oregon psychologist Michael I. Posner.

IBMT was adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s in China, where it is practiced by thousands of people. It is now being taught to undergraduates involved in research on the method at the University of Oregon.

The new research -- published online the week of Aug. 16-21 ahead of regular publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences -- involved 45 UO students (28 males and 17 females); 22 subjects received IBMT while 23 participants were in a control group that received the same amount of relaxation training. The experiments involved the use of brain-imaging equipment in the UO's Robert and Beverly Lewis Center for Neuroimaging.

A type of magnetic resonance called diffusion tensor imaging allowed researchers to examine fibers connecting brain regions before and after training. The changes were strongest in connections involving the anterior cingulate, a brain area related to the ability to regulate emotions and behavior. The changes were observed only in those who practiced meditation and not in the control group. The changes in connectivity began after six hours of training and became clear by 11 hours of practice. The researchers said it is possible the changes resulted from a reorganization of white-matter tracts or by an increase of myelin that surrounds the connections.

"The importance of our findings relates to the ability to make structural changes in a brain network related to self regulation," said Posner, who last fall received a National Medal of Science. "The pathway that has the largest change due to IBMT is one that previously was shown to relate to individual differences in the person's ability to regulate conflict."

In 2007 in PNAS, Tang, a visiting scholar at the UO, and Posner documented that doing IBMT for five days prior to a mental math test led to low levels of the stress hormone cortisol among Chinese students. The experimental group also showed lower levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue than students in a relaxation control group.

In 2009 in PNAS, Tang and Chinese colleagues, with assistance from Posner and UO psychology professor Mary K. Rothbart, found that IBMT subjects in China had increased blood flow in the right anterior cingulate cortex after receiving training for 20 minutes a day over five days. Compared with the relaxation group, IBMT subjects also had lower heart rates and skin conductance responses, increased belly breathing amplitude and decreased chest respiration rates.

The latter findings suggested the possibility that additional training might trigger structural changes in the brain, leading to the new research, Tang and Posner said. The researchers currently are extending their evaluation to determine if longer exposure to IBMT will produce positive changes in the size of the anterior cingulate.

Deficits in activation of the anterior cingulate cortex have been associated with attention deficit disorder, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and many other disorders. "We believe this new finding is of interest to the fields of education, health and neuroscience, as well as for the general public," Tang said.

In their conclusion, the researchers wrote that the new findings suggest a use of IBMT as a vehicle for understanding how training influences brain plasticity.

IBMT is not yet available in the United States beyond the research being done at the UO. The practice avoids struggles to control thought, relying instead on a state of restful alertness, allowing for a high degree of body-mind awareness while receiving instructions from a coach, who provides breath-adjustment guidance and mental imagery and other techniques while soothing music plays in the background. Thought control is achieved gradually through posture, relaxation, body-mind harmony and balanced breathing. A good coach is critical, Tang said.

Co-authors with Tang and Posner on the new PNAS paper were Qilin Lu of the Dalian University of Technology and Xiujuan Geng, Elliot A. Stein and Yihong Yang, all of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-Intramural Research Program in Baltimore, Md.

The James S. Bower Foundation based in Santa Barbara, Calif., John Templeton Foundation in West Conshohocken, PA, National Natural Science Foundation of China and U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse-Intramural Research Program supported the research.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 63 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The UO is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Media Contact: Jim Barlow, director of science and research communications, 541-346-3481, jebarlow@uoregon.edu

Links:
Posner Web page: http://www.neuro.uoregon.edu/ionmain/htdocs/faculty/posner.html
Yi-Yuan Tang site on IBMT: http://www.yi-yuan.net/english/tyy.asp
Dalian University of Technology (English version): http://www.dlut.edu.cn/en/
National Institute on Drug Abuse-Intramural Research Program: http://irp.drugabuse.gov/
James S. Bower Foundation: http://www.jsbowerfoundation.org/
John Templeton Foundation: http://www.templeton.org/

Jim Barlow | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uoregon.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>