Practice the art of meditation, is a method of mental training which would help to curb depression, cognitive problems, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes. So says the Doctor in Buddhist Philosophy Wangchuk Dorjee Negi, who recently visited Chile for the first time, and South america.
“By comparing brain images of people who dedicate themselves to meditate constantly with others who are not habituated to do so, it can be seen that these techniques provide cognitive benefits and emotional. Even, it is possible to improve depression, diabetes, and benefit the cognitive ability of the people, which would avoid the occurrence of pathologies associated to memory, such as Alzheimer’s. In addition, people who meditate have a higher volume of tissue in the brain areas linked with attention and information sensoria”, stated the expert in tibetan studies, in the framework of his visit to the Instituto Milenio Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia, of the Universidad de Valparaíso, CINV.
Dr. Wangchuk pointed out that through meditation you can have a healthier mind, stable and clear, triggering circuits of positive emotions. As she explains it, there are studies that suggest that a person is generous and compassionate wrapped in meditation, have a better immune system. “The connection between mind and body I was able to generate a better character. In the same way, to be happy, and kindness improves the health of the people. Therefore, each one must take responsibility for your brain”, he added.
The lama was invited to Chile by Dr. Ramón Latorre, National Prize of Sciences and director of CINV, who is recognized to be an admirer of the teachings and practices of this philosophy. “There are many neuroscientists who have an interest in connecting with buddhists, because they have experience and knowledge of the mind that is millennial, while we, we are just understanding it,” he explained. In this context, the scientific chilean highlighted the contributions of Dr. Wangchuk and of buddhism, both in the compression of the brain, as in the handling of the body, the emotions and the mind.
“The approach of neuroscience with buddhism began many years ago with Francisco Varela, a great scientist, a chilean spoke with the Dalai Lama. As well, a common area of interest are emotions, which are an integral part of the reactions of our nervous system. Buddhism, for many years, the question arises how to handle the emotions or make those negative, are converted into others that delivered well-being, such as compassion. In that regard, the meditation plays an important role, as it helps to master the body and quiet the mind, which, in turn, has positive effects on the immune and nervous system, are those who command our health,” said the director of CINV.
Brain activity of the monks
The scientific chilean living in the united States, Dr. Lucia Melloni -invited to Chile by the Institute of Millennium of Neuroscience, Biomedical, BNI, in the framework of the Congress NEUROSUR-, has also made contributions in this area of research. She has explored the mind of buddhist monks and other people who practice meditation. The academic Department of Neurology, NYU School of Medicine, has been interested in this technique and its relationship with the conscious perception.
“Many years ago, a meditator said to me: when you go to the jungle usually see it or the tree or the leaves, and you are not able to observe both elements. With meditation I learned to see the two things and to enrich that experience,”, recordó Melloni during his visit to Chile.
Thanks to this anecdote, the scientific increased its interest to analyse whether this practice was able to modify the brain, with beneficial effects in the long term. For that, they invited buddhist monks to his laboratory, who had spent many years meditating, and did different tests and electroencephalograms. And there they were able to show that this group was able to have a visual perception more integrated elements, macro and micro.
“The brain is a muscle and can be modified, although it may take a while. The meditation is interesting, since it is a way of training the perception. In our studies we saw that the meditators did switch at these two levels a lot more quickly,” says the researcher. According to Melloni, the people in general, have a sort of flashing attentional. “If I look at an image and then another, there is a time that passes in which you are not sensitive. In the meditators, that pause is much shorter, and are able to view items in succession much faster than the rest,” he says.
Wangchuk Dorjee Negi points out that since 25 years ago, researchers from the University of Wisconsin conducted studies in collaboration with the Dalai Lama and other buddhist monks, to learn about the effects of meditation on the brain.
In one of these studies, the buddhist participants had an average of 34 thousand hours practicing meditation, and demonstrated that this gave way to the creation of new neural connections that are not manifested in individuals who do not meditate. “Buddhist monks that have long been developing this technique present a great deal of activity behind the left side of the forehead, in the prefrontal cortex. The research discovered a better co-ordination body-mind, where the brain systems support the well-being and the integration of the organs of the body as well as the immune and endocrine systems,” says the doctor in Buddhist Philosophy.
For Lucia Melloni, keep exploring this mental technique, it could also benefit the approach of aging. “It is important to consider the meditation, because when we age we begin to lose cognitive functions. And this practice, among others, could be a good compensation strategy,” he says.