Meditation Slows Tibetan Monk's Brain Aging By 8 Years

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Meditation Slows Tibetan Monk's Brain Aging By 8 Years
Meditation Slows Tibetan Monk's Brain Aging By 8 Years

Video: Meditation Slows Tibetan Monk's Brain Aging By 8 Years

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Meditation Slows Tibetan Monk's Brain Aging by 8 Years

The brain of a 41-year-old Tibetan monk and popularizer of meditation Yonge Mingyur Rinpoche on MRI looks like the brain of a 33-year-old man, scientists said. Perhaps "meditative practice is associated with slowing biological aging," experts cautiously suggest.

Meditation Slows Tibetan Monk's Brain Aging by 8 Years
Meditation Slows Tibetan Monk's Brain Aging by 8 Years

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The brain of a 41-year-old Tibetan monk and popularizer of meditation Yonge Mingyur Rinpoche on MRI looks like the brain of a 33-year-old man, scientists said. Their research is published in the journal Neurocase. Perhaps "meditative practice is associated with slowing biological aging," experts cautiously suggest.

Yonge Mingyur Rinpoche (YMP) is a well-known meditation practitioner and teacher. He started meditating at the age of 9. Scientists report that he spends "an extraordinary number of hours" in meditation.

YMR began collaborating with scientists from the University of Wisconsin over 10 years ago. According to the Huffington Post, the monk agreed to periodically undergo functional magnetic resonance imaging to popularize meditation. The new scientific work summarizes the experience of ten years of observations.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin performed MRIs of the YMR brain four times in 14 years. Long-term research began when he was 27 years old. The researchers compared the IMR data with over 100 brain scans of his peers in the control group.

The researchers taught the BrainAGE machine learning system based on MRI scans of all study participants to estimate the age of people based on the structure of the gray matter of their brain.

“Gray matter is the“manufacturing equipment”of the brain. When the brain atrophies, the amount of gray matter decreases,”Richard Davidson, lead author of the study, told LiveScience.

BrainAGE analysis found that JMR had a slower brain aging rate than controls. At the age of 41, his brain matched the parameters of 33 years. The scientists noted that this difference was not due to the exceptional "youth" of any particular brain structure: the gray matter was changed diffusely.

Another interesting find made by BrainAGE is that the YMR brain “matured earlier”.

“Some parts of the brain start working at the age of 25-30. For example, areas that are responsible for self-control, regulation of attention. Perhaps these areas ripen earlier due to meditation. This sounds reasonable because meditation is known to strengthen them,”Davison said.

This research has many limitations. It was attended by only one person practicing meditation. It remains unknown how long it is necessary to meditate in order for changes in the gray matter to be noticeable, if such a connection really exists.

Scientists note that other factors could have influenced the “youthfulness” of the YMR brain: life in a high-mountainous region, a low level of environmental pollution, and a good diet. To understand this better, research with a control group of people with similar living conditions is required.

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