Re: [GRG] 1 of 2 Scientific research into meditation

It has been suggested elsewhere that keeping the brain active (through constantly learning, thinking, creative output, etc.) is correlated with a reduction in age-related dementia. (I’ve once written about UCLA research which clearly demonstrated that neurons and dendrites can be stimulated to grow and make new connections even in old age, which had previously been denied).

We have good evidence that the “use it or lose it” principle applies to every system in the body, including the brain. 

Isn’t meditation the exact opposite of “using” the brain? Am I wrong in understanding that meditation is based on suppressing all thoughts and essentially shutting down the thinking process?

Is it possible that like muscles, the brain needs a balance of both stimulation and relaxation to remain healthy?

Reinhard :.

On Feb 18, 2015, at 7:30 AM, John M. Johnny Adams, GRG Exec Director wrote:

Dear GRG Member,


So we can live long, more fulfilling and productive lives, and create aging solutions here’s the first of two articles on meditation:


Long-term Meditation May Slow Brain Aging


– New research suggests meditation may slow age-related brain atrophy 

– Long term UCLA study showed long-term meditators experienced less gray matter loss compared with matched control persons who did not meditate.

  Note: correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causality

– Nine clusters throughout the brains of meditators showed effect

– Study compared 50 meditators (28 men, 22 women) age range 24-77 years (mean age, early 50s) practiced meditation for from 4 to 46 years (mean, almost 20 years) compared with 50 matched control participants (28 men, 22 women) who did not meditate.

– All participants underwent MRI of the brain at the same site using the same scanner and following the same scanning protocol.

– authors note age-related decline of local gray matter was less prominent in meditators

– Potential Mechanisms 

   relieve stress, which is “almost toxic” to neurons 

   intense mental activity may stimulate dendritic branching and/or synaptogenesis

   gray matter gain may “mask” the gray matter loss

   meditators start off with a healthier lifestyle ― 

      eating healthy foods, avoiding smoking, exercising regularly ― 

      and have the type of personality that helps protect the brain.

– “In order to keep meditating for close to twenty years, individuals need to possess a minimum level of discipline and commitment, a well-organized life that allows them the spare time, an awareness of the possibility to control their own life, perhaps even a calm nature to begin with,” the authors note.


Article concludes with notes of caution on interpretation of study.


Original article discussed above: Forever Young(er): potential age-defying effects of long-term meditation on gray matter atrophy



John M. “Johnny” Adams

Executive Director Gerontology Research Group

(650) 265-4969

(949) 922-9786 cell


CEO / Exec. Director

Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation / Aging Intervention Foundation


About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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