Published on December 8th, 2013 | by No Artificial
Meditation Impacts Gene Expression
A new study found evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a session of mindfulness meditation.
While there have been several scientific studies providing evidence that meditation can have a positive influence on our health, a new research done by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, France and Spain, shows the first proof of specific molecular changes in the body after a period of mindfulness meditation.
The researchers investigated the results of a day of intensive mindfulness training in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of people who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities.
After 8 hours of mindfulness meditation, the participants showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which enhanced the physical recovery from a stressful situation.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” explained study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” claimed Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.
The researchers said, there was no difference in the tested genes between the 2 groups at the start of the study. The observed results were seen only in the participants following a session of mindfulness meditation.
“Our genes are quite dynamic in their expression and these results suggest that the calmness of our mind can actually have a potential influence on their expression,” Davidson said.
“Our findings set the foundation for future studies to further assess meditation strategies for the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions,” Kaliman explained.
The study was published in the Journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.