The Mind & Life Institute, a nonprofit organization co-founded by the Dalai Lama, recently featured UC Davis neuroscientist Clifford Saron in a blog tribute. Saron, a research scientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain in the College of Letters and Science, studies the long-term effects of intensive meditation.
Telomeres, which act as as protective “caps” at the end of DNA strands, tend to shorten as cells age. A recent study by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain found that the average telomere length in immune cells increased instead in individuals who participated in a month-long Insight meditation retreat. This is the first study to show changes in telomere length occurring over such a short time span.
Gains in the ability to sustain attention developed through intensive meditation training are maintained up to seven years later, according to a new study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement. The study is based on the Shamatha Project, a major investigation of the cognitive, psychological and biological effects of meditation led by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.