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Enlightened Neurons: Can Meditation Beef Up Brain Regions?
After Sara Lazar suffered a running injury in the 1990s, she decided to take up yoga and meditation. She remembers rolling her eyes whenever the teacher touted the supposed benefits of yoga: stress relief, a reduction in symptoms associated with depression and insomnia, and a happier and higher quality of life. After a few weeks though, Lazar’s outlook changed. “I started noticing that I was calmer and I was better able to handle difficult situations… and I was feeling more compassionate and open-hearted towards other people,” she said in a 2011 talk at TEDx Cambridge. Lazar, who was a Ph. D student in molecular science at the time of her injury, decided to change her career focus to study the neuroscience of meditation. Now Lazar is one of a growing number of researchers who are using Magnetic Resonance Imaging—a medical technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to peer inside the body—to see how meditation may mold the brain.Read More