Something to be mindful of: new research offers proof that mindfulness meditation training can alter the body for better health.

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University conducted an experiment with 35 highly-stressed unemployed adults. Some, they sent to a three-day training on mindfulness meditation. The others attended a standard relaxation training program that also lasted three days.

Those trained in mindfulness meditation had more “brain functional connectivity” after they returned than before they left, brain scans revealed. In other words, the cells in areas of the brain responsible for attention and executive control were better connected after the mindfulness meditation training.

Meanwhile, the brains of those who received relaxation training showed no changes.

What’s more, blood tests showed that the people who did mindfulness meditation had less of a biomarker for inflammation in their blood four months after the training, the study said. Although researchers believe the mindfulness sessions were responsible for that, they can’t explain why. Nor do they know how much time meditating is needed to produce long-term health benefits.

Cancer and Alzheimer’s are some of the diseases that have been associated with high levels of the particular inflammation biomarker referenced in the study, which was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry..

 

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