If you do an Internet search you will find over and over again that meditation physically heals the brain which causes depression and many other illnesses.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Is it possible to sort of "rewire" your brain so you
can better control imposing symptoms of depression and angst? The short answer,
according to recent new research, is yes, and it all it takes in large
part is some "mindfulness meditation."
According to a study which appeared more than a year-and-a-half ago, in the January 2011 journal of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers reported that an eight-week program called mindfulness meditation was able to make measurable changes in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.
The study is the first to document meditation-created changes to the brain.
"Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day," said the study's senior author, Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program.
"This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing," she said.
Documented physical changes in the brain
In previous studies, Lazar's group and others discovered structural differences between brains of experienced practitioners of meditation and those who had no history of it. In particular, researchers observed a thickening of the cerebral cortex in regions associated with attention and emotional integration, says a summary of the study at Science Daily. Those earlier studies, however, were unable to discover a link between the physical cortex changes and meditation.
That all changed with Lazar's latest study. In it, she and her team took MRIs of the brain structure of 16 participants in the study two weeks before and two weeks after they took part in the eight-week program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness.
Besides weekly meetings which included practicing mindful medication - a practice that focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of feelings, sensations and state of mind - participants also were exposed to audio recordings of guided meditation practice and were asked to keep track of how much time they spent meditating each day. For comparison, MRIs were taken of a control group of non-meditators over a similar period of time.
Those who meditated did so for an average of 27 minutes each day, according to the research team, practicing mindfulness exercises. Their subsequent responses to a mindfulness questionnaire as the study progressed indicated strong improvements compared to pre-study responses.
An analysis of MRIs that focused on regions where meditation-associated differences were found in earlier studies showed increased brain densities in the hippocampus, which is known to be important for learning and memory, as well as structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.
None of the changes, however, were seen in the control group.
"It is fascinating to see the brain's plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life," Britta Holzel, PhD, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany, said.
"Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change," she added.
Mindful meditation's increased brain benefits becoming better known
Other researchers were equally enthusiastic.
"These results shed light on the mechanisms of action of mindfulness-based training," said Amishi Jha, PhD, a University of Miami neuroscientist who investigates mindfulness-training's effects on individuals in high-stress situations, who was not involved in the study."
They demonstrate that the first-person experience of stress can not only be reduced with an eight-week mindfulness training program but that this experiential change corresponds with structural changes in the amygdala, a finding that opens doors to many possibilities for further research on MBSR's potential to protect against stress-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder," he said.
This research appears to be similar to a separate body of work that has shown that with as few as 11 hours of mindful meditation, the white matter of the brain that aspartame destroys, can begin to grow back.
In the last paragraph of the referenced article it states"
"This research appears to be similar to a separate body of work that has shown that with as few as 11 hours of mindful meditation, the white matter of the brain that aspartame destroys, can begin to grow back."
Here's an excellent article by Mercola on how aspartame destroys brain cells. Of course aspartame is found in everything as a substitute for sugar.
How Does Aspartame Damage Your Brain?Consuming a lot of aspartame may inhibit the ability of enzymes in your brain to function normally, according to a new review by scientists from the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo.
Aspartame is a poison
that does not belong in your body, and this is not an exaggeration. Yet, this
toxic substance is consumed by over 200 million people around the world and is
found in more than 6,000 products.
Everything from soda and chewing gum to desserts, yogurt, and even some vitamins and cough drops contain it.
When you drink, say, a can of diet soda sweetened with aspartame, what are you REALLY consuming? Here’s a breakdown of aspartame’s three chemicals: the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and methanol.
1. Aspartic acid (40 percent of aspartame)
Aspartate acts as a neurotransmitter in your brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate in your brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into your cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill your cells.
The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate is why Dr. Russell Blaylock refers to them as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate your neural cells to death.
Now, when aspartic acid is consumed, it significantly raises your blood level of aspartate, which leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of your brain, where they slowly begin to destroy neurons.
Your brain cells could be dying right now, but you likely would not notice the symptoms until 75 percent or more are gone. Then, chronic illnesses such as the following, which may by caused by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage, may occur:
Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in your brain, however people with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. This leads to dangerously high -- and sometimes lethal -- levels of phenylalanine in your brain. It has been shown, though, that ingesting aspartame, especially along with carbohydrates, can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in your brain even if you do not have PKU.
Even consuming aspartame one time has been found to raise your blood levels of phenylalanine. What’s the risk of this?
Excessive levels of phenylalanine in your brain can cause the levels of serotonin in your brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression. It can also cause schizophrenia or make you more susceptible to seizures.
3. Methanol (aka wood alcohol) (10 percent of aspartame)
Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison, and the absorption of methanol into your body is sped up considerably when free methanol is ingested. Well, free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade). This would occur when an aspartame-containing product is improperly stored (in the sun, for instance) or when it is heated, such as part of a "food" product like Jello.
Meanwhile, methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde -- a deadly neurotoxin -- in your body.
Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that methanol "is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic."
They recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day, but a one-liter aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily -- or 32 times the EPA limit!
The symptoms of methanol poisoning are numerous and varied. They include:
I could literally go on for days about the many problems plaguing this artificial sweetener; both the dangers it poses to your health and the blatant greed and manipulation that got it on the market.
That is why I spent years researching and writing Sweet Deception. It is the most comprehensive book on the market addressing this issue, and if you or your loved ones drink diet beverages or eat diet foods, please read it sooner rather than later.
I also highly recommend watching Sweet Misery, which is part documentary, part detective story that sheds much-needed light on the controversy surrounding aspartame.
Folks, aspartame is not your friend. It is actually responsible for 80-85 percent of the food complaints registered with the FDA!
Aside from the damage it can do to your brain, aspartame can cause cancer. One well-controlled, peer-reviewed, SEVEN-year study even found that as little as 20 mg per day can cause cancer in humans.
One 12-ounce diet soda contains about 180 mg of aspartame, so you do the math on that risk!
If you have NutraSweet or Equal packets in your home, I urge you to get rid of them. About the only good use for them I’ve heard about is using them to kill ants in your kitchen.
And if you’re consuming diet foods or drinks of any kind, toss those as well. Your health will be much better off for it.
If you find you’re still having sweet cravings or are having a hard time giving up your diet soda, Turbo Tapping is a simple tool to help you get rid of your soda addiction in a short period of time. And in the case of aspartame, getting it out of your diet can’t come fast enough.
If you have experienced a reaction to any aspartame product, report it by calling the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area.
For more information on the dangers of aspartame, visit http://aspartame.mercola.com.