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!
- Sara Lazar
- Center for Biometric Imaging
- Science Heroes article on Sara
- Science Daily article — Mindfulness Meditation Training Changes Brain Structure in Eight Weeks
- New York Times article — How Meditation May Change the Brain
- Study — Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Music for This Episode
The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The tracks used in this episode are:
- Traces of Truth