Mindfulness Meditation Does Have Health Benefits: Study

by Bidita Debnath on  December 9, 2013 at 11:09 PM Research News
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Scientists have gathered evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation.
 Mindfulness Meditation Does Have Health Benefits: Study
Mindfulness Meditation Does Have Health Benefits: Study

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities.

After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted, said that most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.

Mindfulness-based trainings have shown beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders in prior clinical studies and are endorsed by the American Heart Association as a preventative intervention. The new results provide a possible biological mechanism for therapeutic effects.

The results show a down-regulation of genes that have been implicated in inflammation. The affected genes include the pro-inflammatory genes RIPK2 and COX2 as well as several histone deacetylase (HDAC) genes, which regulate the activity of other genes epigenetically by removing a type of chemical tag.

What's more, the extent to which some of those genes were downregulated was associated with faster cortisol recovery to a social stress test involving an impromptu speech and tasks requiring mental calculations performed in front of an audience and video camera.

The study has been published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Source: ANI

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