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Study shows how prayer, meditation affect brain activity

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Dr. Andrew Newberg uses brain imaging to examine how spiritual beliefs affect our health and behavior.

Matt Rourke, Associated Press

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Our take: Human beings have been praying and meditating for millennia. For most, it was a way to commune with a spiritual figure or balance oneself. The benefits and effects were self observed.

Now, science is weighing in on how prayer and mediation impact the human brain. The new study from the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine was recently featured on the Science Channel's "Through the Wormhole." In this article from the Huffington Post, Jahnabi Barooah explains the brain scans of participants, and how prayer can increase activity in certain areas of the brain.

How do prayer and meditation affect brain activity? Dr. Andrew Newberg, MD, is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomson Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College, and he has studied the neuroscientific effect of religious and spiritual experiences for decades.

In a video that recently aired on "Through the Wormhole" narrated by Morgan Freeman on the TV channel Science, Dr. Newberg explains that to study the effect of meditation and prayer on the brain, he injects his subjects with a harmless radioactive dye while they are deep in prayer / meditation. The dye migrates to the parts of the brain where the blood flow is the strongest, i.e,. to the most active part of the brain.

Read more about how prayer and meditation affect brain activity on The Huffington Post.

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