What’s This Research About?
Despite all the reported benefits of practicing meditation, the molecular mechanisms underlying mind-body practices remain poorly understood.
Prior studies have shown how lifestyle factors (like exercising) can alter gene activity in real-time. In this study, the authors reviewed previously published papers about the molecular mechanisms involved in meditation practices that influence well-being. Specifically, they wanted to know if mindful practices affect epigenetics to alter gene expression.
TITLE: Molecules of Silence: Effects of Meditation on Gene Expression and Epigenetics
PUBLICATION: Frontiers in Psychology
DATE: August 2020
AUTHORS: Sabrina Venditti, Loredana Verdone, Anna Reale, Valerio Vetriani, Micaela Caserta and Michele Zampieri
Gene: A sequence of nucleotides called DNA that is passed from parents to offspring. Genes carry information about traits like physical features.
Epigenetics: The study of changes in organisms caused by alterations of gene expression or what genes become “turned on” or “turned off.”
Meditation: Mental and physical techniques used to clear the mind. There are a plethora of different styles of meditation, including Zen meditation, Vipassana, Transcendental Meditation, and many others. They all share the common goal of achieving mindfulness and non-judgmental awareness of the present moment.
Methylation: A chemical reaction that involves the addition of a methyl group (CH3) to a strand of DNA impacting its function.
Quadrato Motor Training: A structured walking meditation, developed with the purpose of balancing the body, cognition, and emotion.