The Norman Transcript

Columns

November 29, 2012

News is good and bad on scientific front

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The study was headed by Robert Schneider, M.D., director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa. The results are published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation Quality and Outcomes.

· Item 3: Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston University, coordinated studies conducted by a number of research centers to determine beneficial brain function changes in subjects following an eight-week meditation training program. Another group attended an eight-week education course. Thereafter, the subjects’ brains were studied by functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Those completing the meditation program displayed decreased activities in the right amygdala — that portion of the brain known to be important in processing human emotions. According to Gaelle Desbordes, research fellow at the Athinola A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General and a corresponding author of the report, “This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state.”

The study concludes that meditation may produce enduring beneficial emotional effects, such as improved emotional stability, reduced response to stress and decreased depression. (Everything about this study appears to be on the up and up).

· Let’s summarize: Our grandparents were right, each generation seems to be getting stupider than the last. But if stress over the situation causes heart problems, you can cope with this depressing situation by practicing transcendental meditation.

In preparing this column, I delved into the ancient roots of the word “stupid.” It comes from the Latin “stupidus,” which means “stunned or numbed by shock.” If that’s what it means, call me “stupidus” every day. I gotta go meditate.

Mike Hinkle is a columnist for The Edmond Sun.

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