Researchers out of the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered that, when compared to non-meditators, long-term meditators’ brains feature greater amounts of gyrification of the cortex. This means the folding of the cortex is thicker, and thus information is processed by the brain faster.
And, as further proof of neuroplasticity in the brain, a direct link was found between gyrification levels and number of years individuals had meditated, suggesting that people can change their brains based on habit and routine.
The cerebral cortex plays a key role in the functions of memory, attention, thought and consciousness. Part of the cerebral cortex are the left and right anterior dorsal insula, whose cortical folding is directly linked to the number of years an individual has been meditating.
“The insula has been suggested to function as a hub for autonomic, affective and cognitive integration,” said Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.
“Meditators are known to be masters in introspection and awareness as well as emotional control and self-regulation, so the findings make sense that the longer someone has meditated, the higher the degree of folding in the insula.”
Luders recognizes that both genetic and environmental factors may have played a part in the results that they achieved, but stands behind the data that suggests that meditation is capable of enhancing regional gyrification.
So, there you have it! Want a stronger, faster, smarter brain? Meditation might just be the answer.
h/t Science Daily