Contemplative Science
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Contemplative Science
the science of meditation and other contemplative practices
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Why Mindfulness can help the Immune System | Contemplative Mind in Life

Why Mindfulness can help the Immune System | Contemplative Mind in Life | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

"Stress is immunosuppressive. Research into this pernicious relationship between stress and disease has piqued interest in the ways that contemplative practices might positively influence the immune system. According to a large body of evidence, meditation appears to have profound effects on immune function in health and disease because of its ability to reduce stress... "

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Mapping the Mindful Brain with Dr. Judson Brewer | Buddhist Geeks podcast

Mapping the Mindful Brain with Dr. Judson Brewer | Buddhist Geeks podcast | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Buddhist Geek Vincent Horn talks with Dr. Judson Brewer, an assistant professor at Yale in psychiatry and a contemplative scientist studying the effects of meditation on the brain. Brewer discusses how real time fMRI feedback can be used to inform mindfulness practice, the Contemplative Development Mapping Project, and the challenge of relating specific meditation techniques to their neural and physiological bases.

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UCSD Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Videos Online

UCSD Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Videos Online | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

The  Center for Mindfulness at the University of California, San Diego is now offering on demand videos from their programs. Topics include stress management for caregivers of those with brain tumors, the relationship between stress and pain management, and an interview with MBSR-founder, Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD. The Center for Mindfulness is affiliated with UCSD's Center for Integrative Medicine and Department of Psychiatry, offering programs that foster the integration of mindfulness practices in clinical and educational settings.

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Just Breathe: Confirming Meditation's Benefits

Just Breathe: Confirming Meditation's Benefits | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Plenty of followers swear by meditation to cure a long list of ails. But how does it work? Neuroscientist Clifford Saron, of the University of California, Davis, and a Who’s Who of peers, are spending millions to find out. The author describes The Shamatha Project led by Clifford Saron and contemplative B. Alan Wallace as "one of the most ambitious studies of the psychological, physical, and behavioral effects of meditation ever undertaken" - but isn't it *the* most ambitious? Are there other projects that rival it in scale and rigor?

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On Being radio show interview with Richie Davidson

On Being radio show interview with Richie Davidson | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Once upon a time we assumed the brain stops developing when we're young. Neuroscientist Richard Davidson helped overturn this idea by studying the brains of meditating Buddhist monks. Now he's working on conditions like ADHD and autism. Radio show/podcast & transcript.

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Mindful multitasking: Meditation training eases stress, aids concentration and memory

Mindful multitasking: Meditation training eases stress, aids concentration and memory | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it
Need to do some serious multitasking? Some training in meditation beforehand could make the work smoother and less stressful, new research shows.
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Chinese Meditation Prompts Double Positive Punch in Brain White Matter | Texas Tech Today

Chinese Meditation Prompts Double Positive Punch in Brain White Matter | Texas Tech Today | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

"A Texas Tech scientist studying the Chinese mindfulness meditation known as integrative body-mind training (IBMT) said he and other researchers have confirmed and expanded on changes in structural efficiency of white matter in the brain that can be related to positive behavioral changes in subjects practicing the technique for a month and a minimum of 11 hours total."

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I Think, Therefore I Am (Unhappy) | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

I Think, Therefore I Am (Unhappy) | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Excellent short review of the neuroimaging literature relating meditation-induced reductions in mind-wandering to changes in the brain's default mode network. Great intro for anyone interested in rigorous, relevant cognitive neuroscience research on meditation.

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'Mindfulness' Grows In Popularity _ And Profits | NPR

'Mindfulness' Grows In Popularity _ And Profits | NPR | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

" The technique is drawing tens of thousands to conferences and learning experiences across the nation and world, and studies have shown it to reduce the symptoms of certain diseases and conditions.. The practice's critics, including some psychologists and religious scholars, say the approach is little more than Buddhist meditation repackaged and rebranded for a secular, and often paying, audience." 

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Meditation practice may decrease risk for cardiovascular disease in teens

Meditation practice may decrease risk for cardiovascular disease in teens | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Regular meditation could decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in teens who are most at risk, according to new research. Researchers at Georgia Health Sciences divided 62 high-schooler into two groups: Half of the teenagers were exposed to health education on how to lower blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease and the other half received training in transcendental meditation and were instructed to practice 15/min day for four months. Echocardiograms before and after the study period indicated left ventricular mass, a predictor of future cardiovascular disease, was singificantly lower only in the meditation group.

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Making neuroscience public: Neurohype, neuroscepticism and neuroblogging

Making neuroscience public: Neurohype, neuroscepticism and neuroblogging | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

"Bloggers vs. Blobology: There is something going on beyond this squabble (or framing clash) between neurohawks and neurosceptics, and this is a rise in blogs relating to neuroscience. Many of these blogs provide a rather balanced account of advances and failures in the neurosciences, without hyping either the science or the scepticism."

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Long-term meditation leads to different brain organization

Long-term meditation leads to different brain organization | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

"We studied the brains of 13 meditators with over 1,000 hours of practice and 11 beginners by analyzing functional connectivity," says Veronica Taylor, the lead author of the study. Results indicated differences in the meditators' default mode network, or the pattern of activity in their brains while at "rest" (subjectively characterized by most people as periods of day-dreaming or self-reflection). These differences suggest meditation induces long-term changes in the coordination of different neural systems, strengthening attentional networks and weakening the association between self and emotion processing.

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Neural correlates of establishing, maintaining, and switching brain states | Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Neural correlates of establishing, maintaining, and switching brain states | Trends in Cognitive Sciences | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

From abstract: "In this review, we summarize recent research on three relatively well-described brain states: the resting, alert, and meditation states. We explore the neural correlates of maintaining a state or switching between states, and argue that the anterior cingulate cortex and striatum play a critical role in state maintenance, whereas the insula has a major role in switching between states."

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Stan Rosenthal and Hugo Critchley to Discuss Zen, Art, and Creativity | State of Mind

Stan Rosenthal and Hugo Critchley to Discuss Zen, Art, and Creativity | State of Mind | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Artist and Zen meditation practitioner Stanley Rosenthal and neuroscientist Hugo Critchley to discuss the intersection of art, Zen, creativity, and consciousness at upcoming State of Mind public Expo.

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Varieties of attention in hypnosis and meditation | Consciousness and Cognition

Varieties of attention in hypnosis and meditation | Consciousness and Cognition | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

In a reply to a recent paper on the cognitive neurosicence of hypnosis and suggestion (Oakley and Halligan, 2011), Lifshitz and colleagues speculate how comparing hypnosis to another atypical attentional state - meditation - may shed light on the processes underlying self-regulation, de-automatization, and attentional awareness.

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Study: Tai Chi Increases Brain Size, Boosts Memory, May Delay Dementia

Study: Tai Chi Increases Brain Size, Boosts Memory, May Delay Dementia | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

After eight months of this mild exercise, healthy Chinese seniors in a recent randomized controlled trial showed significant increases in brain volume as well as improvements on memory and other cognitive tests.

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What is "Mindfulness"?

What is "Mindfulness"? | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

"Mindfulness (Pali: sati; Sanskrit: smṛti; also translated as awareness) is a spiritual or psychological faculty (indriya) that is considered to be of great imporantce in the path to englightenment according to the teaching of the Buddha.It is one of the seven factors of englightenment. "Correct" or "right" mindfulness (Pali: sammā-sati, Sanskrit: samyak-smṛti) is the seventh element of the noble eightfold path."

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Can Mindfulness Meditation Make You Smarter? | Discover Magazine

Can Mindfulness Meditation Make You Smarter? | Discover Magazine | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Dan Hurley is writing a book about new research into how people can increase their intelligence. Here he reviews some recent research indicating that mindfulness meditation training and integrative body-mind training (IBMT) improve attention, executive control, and fluid intelligence, as well as neural density and myelination.

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Before and After: Portraits from Dathun | Shambhala Times

Before and After: Portraits from Dathun | Shambhala Times | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

A picture is worth a thousand words. Peter Seidler photographed meditation practitioners before and after a month-long retreat, and the effect is striking. I wish I could see more portraits from this series!

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Mindfulness meditation training alters cortical representations of interoceptive attention

Mindfulness meditation training alters cortical representations of interoceptive attention | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

From abstract: "One component of mindfulness training (MT) is the development of interoceptive attention (IA) to visceral bodily sensations, facilitated through daily practices such as breath monitoring. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we examined experiencedependent functional plasticity in accessing interoceptive representations by comparing graduates of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course to a waitlisted control group...These findings suggest that interoceptive training modulates task-specific cortical recruitment, analogous to training-related plasticity observed in the external senses."

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Mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression in cancer patients | Science Wire | EarthSky

Mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression in cancer patients | Science Wire | EarthSky | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

An interdisciplinary research project carried out between Aarhus University, Aarhus University Hospital and the Danish Cancer Society shows that mindfulness-based psychological therapy helps reduce anxiety and depression in cancer patients...The research is based on a meta analysis of 22 studies of mindfulness-based therapy and involves more than 1,400 cancer patients...The positive effect was not only seen immediately after therapy, but was maintained for at least six months following the therapy."

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Mindfulness May Reduce Complications of Diabetes

Mindfulness May Reduce Complications of Diabetes | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Research into using mindfulness-based stress reduction in the treatment of conditions like diabetes has shown it to be most useful in helping with the stress and depression that often accompany illness. Reserachers at the University of Heidelberg assigned 110 participants with Type II diabetes to either an 8-week MBSR course or treatment as usual (TAU), measuring their depression symptoms, albuminuria (protein in urine), and blood pressure before and after the therapy and 5 years post-treatment. Although MBSR did not have a direct effect on kidney function, these participants showed disgnificantly less psychological distress and lower blood pressure than in the TAU group.

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Zen meditators tap in to subliminal messages | New Scientist

Zen meditators tap in to subliminal messages | New Scientist | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

More evidence that meditation can expand the scope of conscious awareness: Experienced Zen meditators show greater awareness of subliminally presented information after 20 minutes of practice than do similarly experienced Zen meditators that were only instructed to relax for 20 minutes.

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Meditation Increases the Depth of Information Processing and Improves the Allocation of Attention in Space | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Meditation Increases the Depth of Information Processing and Improves the Allocation of Attention in Space | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it

Researchers at the Max Plank Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt report behavioral and electrophysiological data suggesting that "practicing meditation enhances the speed with which attention can be allocated and relocated, thus increasing the depth of information processing and reducing response latency." Results also indicated that Focused Attention (FA) and Open Monitoring (OM) meditation have distinct effects on spatial attention, and that meditation modulates attention after as little as four days of training.

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The neuroscience of empathy: progress, pitfalls and promise | Nature Neuroscience

The neuroscience of empathy: progress, pitfalls and promise | Nature Neuroscience | Contemplative Science | Scoop.it
In this perspective, the authors critically evaluate the research on the neural systems supporting empathy.
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