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Brain Chemistry Roundup

May 29, 2009

Certain regions of experienced meditators’ brains are larger than those of non-meditators.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Supersizing your brain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

We’ve all heard that meditating can expand your mind. Now scientists at UCLA say it can also expand your brain. They found that people who had practiced meditation for an average of about 20 years had certain areas in the brain that were larger than those of control groups who didn’t meditate. The areas include the hippocampus and thalamus, which control emotion. The researchers believe the enlarged areas might help meditators keep a lid on emotions and avoid anxiety.

In related brain research news, scientists have discovered that a brain chemical called FGF2 may help prevent anxiety and depression. The chemical is active in the hypothalamus and helps promote the growth and survival of nerve cells. They say that the finding could lead to new treatments for depression and anxiety disorders.