Meditation as cheap aging prevention

ArgentieriInvecchiamento, Meditazione, Psicologia, RicercaLeave a Comment

Our life expectancy at birth (LEB) has been continuously increasing: since the Paleolithic (33 years) to our days (71,5 years), we more than doubled the estimated length of human life.
What did play a role in this increment? First of all better hygienic conditions, developed medicine and possibility of food. This gets even more evident if we compare LEB in Swaziland (49 years) and LEB in Japan (83).

Just in the last quarter of century the LED increased more than 6 years!
That sounds almost incredible and opens many questions about how long human race can actually live and the quality of our added years.
In fact, much as we can extend our life in the future, we still need to find a proper cure or prevention to many diseases, included all the aging-associated diseases (such as cardiovascular ones, arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, vision and hearing loss, cancer).
So the point nowadays is not much to live longer, but rather to age better.

Where do people live longer on planet Earth?
1. Japan
2. Singapore
3. Andorra
4. Iceland
5. Cyprus
6. Israel
7. France
8. Italy
9. South Korea
10. Canada

And where do we still need to work harder because LEB is very low?
1. Lesotho
2. Swaziland
3. Central African Republic
4. Guinea – Bissau
5. Zimbabwe
6. Mozambique
7. Afghanistan
8. Chad
9. South Sudan
10. Zambia

In past posts, we’ve already seen that mindfulness, a particular kind of meditation, increases the awareness of our body and could help quit smoking.

A study of this year goes even further.
This group of researchers of University of California divided a group of 100 people (22-77 y.o.): half of them meditated on a regular basis (for minimum 4 years and maximum 46).
Magnetic Resonance Imaging observed a general decline of local gray matter with aging. So far, no surprise: it happens to everybody already since the our 20th birthday.
But the interesting result is that this reduction goes more slowly in the subjects who meditate. Besides, the regions of the brain where the effect of age was evident were more extended in the control group.

Taking into account genetic and environmental influences, the research suggests that meditation limits age-related gray matter atrophy, therefore meditation in general could be a very cheap and effective way of preventing mental diseases.