Researchers study how Mindfulness seems to change the brain in depressed patients, article 12/13 (Ellie)

In recent decades, mindfulness meditation has become a huge topic of interest. Paralleling this, mindfulness has also gained acceptance has been rising scientific attention. The number of randomized controlled trials — the gold standard for clinical study — involving mindfulness has jumped from one in the period from 1995‒1997 to 11 from 2004‒2006, to 216 from 2013‒2015, according to a recent article that discussed scientific findings having to do with mindfulness.

In 2012, Gaëlle Desbordes demonstrated that changes in brain activity in subjects who have learned to meditate hold steady even when they’re not meditating. Desbordes took before-and-after scans of subjects who learned to meditate over the course of two months. She scanned them not while they were meditating, but while they were performing everyday tasks. The scans still detected changes in the subjects’ brain activation patterns from the beginning to the end of the study, the first time such a change — in a part of the brain called the amygdala — had been detected.

Powell, Alvin. “Harvard Researchers Study How Mindfulness May Change the Brain in Depressed Patients.” Harvard Gazette, Harvard Gazette, 27 Aug. 2018, news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/. p 1.

Several Studies have evidently shown how mindfulness can aid in an array of conditions both physical and mental, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Other MGH researchers also are studying the effects of meditation on the body, including Sara Lazar, who in 2012 used fMRI to show that the brains of subjects thickened after an eight-week meditation course. Work is ongoing at MGH’s Benson-Henry Institute; at HMS and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine; at the Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, where Zev Schuman-Olivier directs the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion; and among a group of nearly a dozen investigators at Harvard and other Northeastern institutions, including Desbordes and Lazar, who are collaborating through the Mindfulness Research Collaborative.

Powell, Alvin. “Harvard Researchers Study How Mindfulness May Change the Brain in Depressed Patients.” Harvard Gazette, Harvard Gazette, 27 Aug. 2018, news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/. p3

Powell, Alvin. “Harvard Researchers Study How Mindfulness May Change the Brain in Depressed Patients.” Harvard Gazette, 9 Apr. 2018, news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients.

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