Engaging in regular meditation or another spiritual practice is linked to a thickening of the brain cortex, according to new research published in JAMA Psychiatry. Furthermore, the relatively thicker cortex was found in exactly the same regions of the brain that had
otherwise shown thinning in people at high risk for depression, claims Dr. Lisa Miller, professor and director of Clinical Psychology and director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Prior research conducted by Miller and her team revealed a 90 percent decrease in major depression in adults who placed spirituality or religiosity at high importance and whose parents suffered from depression.
According to Dr. Harold Levinson, these fascinating results indicate that
meditation, spirituality or religion may protect against major depression by
thickening the brain cortex and counteracting the cortical thinning that
would typically occur with major depression. The therapeutic implications
of these studies are staggering since major depression and its severe
symptoms affects about 6.7% of the U.S. population over age 18, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
As important, it integrates the practice of modern medicine with new age therapeutic modalities as well as the benefits of old age religion–for the well being of all in need. Moreover, prior neuroimaging studies revealed the brain and cognition benefitting from yoga.
About Harold Levinson, M.D.
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. He is a well known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. His “highly original” research into the cerebellar-vestibular (inner-ear) origins and treatment of dyslexia and related learning, attention-deficit/hyperactivity and anxiety or phobic disorders has evolved over the past four decades. Initially supported by Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles and other outstanding cerebellar neurophysiologists and inner-ear scientists, Levinson’s research has more recently been independently validated worldwide by highly sophisticated neuroimaging brain studies.
TRACI PEDERSEN Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 19, 2014 http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/01/19/how-spirituality-protects-the-brain-against-depression/64698.html
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