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November 25, 2011 at 1:53 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Meditation May Improve ADHD, Alzheimer's and More!

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This Author

MediCATION or mediTATION? A new study offers the promise of a chemical free treatment and preventative for many psychiatric illnesses!

In a new Yale University study, researchers studied the brain activity of both novice meditators, trying meditation out for the first time, and expert meditators who had practiced for 10 years or more.What they found were some marked differences in the way their brains function.

MRI scans showed that experienced meditators could actually decrease the activity in the posterior cingulated cortex and medial prefrontal cortex. These brain regions called the “Default Mode Network” were only recently identified as those responsible for daydreaming. They’re the regions being activated when we’re not focusing on anything in particular.

Said lead study author, Judson Brewer, MD, PhD,"Everybody has it, but experienced meditators have a different type. This new default mode in meditators has these other components that are monitoring and telling you to get back on task and be present,”- a skill that could be very useful in those psychiatric conditions which affect  focus – ADHD, Alzheimer’s, autism, anxiety and depression!

After all, as Brewer points out "…the hallmarks of many forms of mental illness is a preoccupation with one's own thoughts, a condition meditation seems to affect. This gives us some nice cues as to the neural mechanisms of how it might be working clinically."  

Catherine Kerr, PhD director of translational neuroscience at Brown University agrees.“People who meditate don't get lost in mindless negative chatter. Meditation protects you from repetitive negative thinking, which puts you at risk for depression.”

Though researchers say more studies are needed to determine the extent meditation may benefit people with focus problems or at risk for focus related conditions, this study brings great hope that mediTATION may replace or reduce the mediCATION we use.  Or, as some experts suggest, meditation may even prevent conditions like ADHD and Alzheimer’s from ever developing!

Do you meditate?

Would you consider a meditation routine for your children with ADHD?

How about scheduled meditation time at school? Why or why not?


For more information on the benefits of meditation please check out:

Meditation for Anxiety

Shambhala - Getting Healthy in Your Happy Place

Study: Meditation Benefits Heart Health



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1 Comment

  • Wow this is an amazing study! Thanks for posting another great [The Well Mind] blog, Erin.

    I meditate sometimes. And although I don't have ADD/ADHD, meditation helps clear my mind. Sometimes I over worry about things and my mind can race with many thoughts at once. Meditation helps to clear out those thoughts. I feel like, especially reading the study,meditation would do the same to those with ADD/ADHD.

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