The Applied Mindfulness Conference
Mindfulness Meditation: Why Now?
West Chester University
Room 205 Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center
West Chester, PA 19383
" At End-Of-The-Line Prison, An Unlikely Escape" from NPR.org by Debbie Elliot
Prisoners held in the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Ala. are benefitting from a ten day course in the meditation practices of Vipassana. The meditation practice allows prisoners to learn more about their own actions and thoughts through deep meditation that can last up to ten hours a day. Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, treatment director for for the Alabama Department of Corrections, states that inmates who go through the program show a twenty percent reduction in disciplinary action and display a more calm, controlled sense of being. Warden Gary Hetzel also supports the program and notes that many of the inmates who have completed the program move on to lead self-help courses in the prison's chapel, or volunteer in the prison hospice unit. To find out more about the effects of Vipassna on the prisoners, please click on the link below.
"The Mindful Revolution Documentary"
This film focuses on the presence of stress in the American education system and the effects of introducing mindfulness-based programs into the classroom. The documentary approaches the topic of violence and disrespect in the education system, attributed by the experts to the confined structure in schools that completely ignores the mental health of the students. By introducing stress relief activities and meditation into the classroom, they hope that the school environment becomes more effective in encouraging students to learn and communicate on all levels of their education. The beneficial aspects of mindfulness programs in schools offer lessons that students can apply in all areas as they continue through life. to view the film, please click on the link below.
"Meditation Changes Brain Structure"
Meditation not only calms down an agitated brain but also causes structural changes in the brain that can improve several functions, as found by a news research study conducted in Boston, Massachusetts.
Scientists have previously studied the differences in brain structure of people who practice meditation and those who don't meditate. However, there was no evidence that the changes are actually caused by the practice of meditation. A new research study has now confirmed that meditation does cause brain structure changes.
The study was carried out mainly by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, including Britta K. Holzel and Sara W. Lazar along with others. It is titled Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density and has been published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (January 30, 2011)
Read More : http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/303289
“Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) Meditation Found to Boost Brain Connectivity” From Science Daily"
Participants in a study led by Yi-Yuan Tang of Dalian University of Technology and University of Oregon psychologist Michael I. Posner are being exposed to Integrative Body-Mind Training in an effort to examine its affects on brain activity. Adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s, IBMT focuses on thought control that is achieved gradually through posture, relaxation, body-mind harmony, and balanced breathing. Researchers are finding that just 11 hours of learning IBMT techniques induce positive structural changes in brain connectivity that can help regulate behavior in support of personal goals. This information can be used to help people with disorders such as dementia, depression, and attention deficit disorder, as well as influencing education, health, and neuroscience fields. To learn more, please click on the link below.
“Short-term Meditation Induces White Matter Changes in the Anterior Cingulate”
This article delves deeper into the findings of Yi-Yuan Tang and Michael I. Posner through their study on the affects of Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of the brain. Their experiments support that IBMT could provide a means for improving self-regulation and possibly help to reduce or prevent various mental disorders such as schizophrenia, dementia, and attention deficit disorder. This article goes into a deep analysis of their experiment, explaining the significant changes in the white brain matter they found in participants who used the IBMT technique up to 11 hours. The IBMT method allows for participants to learn new focus techniques through training thoughts and emotions. To read more please click on the link below.
“Andreasen Drops A Bombshell: Antipsychotics Shrink the Brain” by Robert Whitaker
In 1991, Nancy Andreasen began a study in order to analyze the effects of antipsychotics in schizophrenic patients, her major findings including that dosage and prolonged use cause shrinkage in brain matter. One of Andreasen’s arguments states that this decline in brain matter can be tied to an increase in negative symptoms, cognitive decline, and functional impairment. Her findings lead to many questions regarding social concerns of drug usage, especially since it can be argued that antipsychotics are now widely prescribed to children to treat behavioral problems and to adults with bipolar disorder. The results of this study are causing deep concern for the treatment of patients and raise several questions about how we deal with mental health, especially among children. To read more please click the link below.
“Mindfulness Practice Leads to Increases in Regional Brain Gray Matter Density”
This article focuses on a study done at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School that focuses on the gray matter concentration attributable to participation in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Mindfulness meditation has been attributed to positive affects in mental well-being and to alleviate symptoms of a number of disorders. Researchers developed a study so that they could trace actual changes in brain matter after participants received training in a Mindfulness program. The results of the study suggest that participation in MBSR is associated with changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking. To read more, click on the link below.
“Attentional Processes and Meditation”
The goal of this study is to learn more about the effects of meditation through a comparison of meditators and non-meditators, focusing on their visual attentional processing. Researchers looked at behavioral measures such as concentration, perspective–shifting, and selective attention with results that suggest meditators showed greater focus and attentiveness in all areas of visual analysis. The skills demonstrated persist across a diversified field with consistent validity among tasks, not only immediately, but that also extend from the direct practice as a continual state. The evidence suggested in the study is a compelling argument for the benefits of meditation. Click the link below to find out more.
“Bringing Mindfulness to Medicine” Interview of Jon Kabat-Zinn by Karolyn A. Gazella
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn was the founding executive director for the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as well as the former Director of the Center’s Stress Reduction Clinic. He is responsible for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses in the inner city and Massachusetts state prison system which helped to spread to over 200 centers and clinics. His interest in MBSR drives him to work with organizations such as the Board of the Mind and Life Institute which organizes dialogues between the Dalai Lama and Western scientists to promote a better understanding of the nature of the mind, emotions, and reality. His insights and views support the growing community interest in the power of the mind. To read the interview, click on the link below.