Episode 50 :: Sara Lazar :: Meditation Effect on Brain Density

| February 4, 2011 | 1 Comment

Sara Lazar

Dr. Sara Lazar of Massachusetts General Hospital joins us to speak about a new study on the effects of meditation on brain density.

Often when we tell people, particular other skeptics, about how beneficial meditation is to us, we’re met with, well, skepticism. And that’s okay. People should feel free to question with confidence, and ask for evidence for claims that are made.

That’s one reason seeing good scientific studies, with appropriate controls and blinds, published in legitimate peer-reviewed journals is wonderful. This can’t be said enough — it’s one thing to have a study published. It’s quite another to have a study with controls in place to ensure accurate measurement, blinds in place to ensure confirmation bias is addressed, and a journal that is validated by the scientific community review the study in question.

Best of all, and perhaps more rare, are studies which also make their way to mainstream media, and become wildly popular. They not only give those of us who have personal experience an external validation of the efficacy of our practice, but help draw others who may also benefit from starting a practice.

Sara Lazar got her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1996. She is currently an instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard, is a scientist with the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and is part of the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is an active Kripalu yogini, and has been practicing vipassana meditation since 1997.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice medium latte. Caribou Coffee, of course!

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Music for This Episode

Hon Shirabe

Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Traces of Truth

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Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

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