Meditation found to increase brain size: Mental calisthenics bulk up some layers

Source: Harvard Gazette, February 2006

A group of researchers found that mediation can alter the physical structure of the brain, with more experienced meditators showing increased thickness in parts of the brain linked to attention and processing sensory input. The study compared brain scans of experienced meditators and nonmediators.

The meditators engaged in “insight meditation,” or sensory-focused meditation, and the nonmeditators relaxed their minds. Participants who were most deeply involved in the mediation and had practiced meditation for years had the greatest thickness of gray matter. The increased thickness—a difference of only 4 to 8 thousandths of an inch—was proportional to the length of time a person had been meditating during his/her life.

Devout meditators could have healthier brains when fighting the effects of aging.