Reduced age-related degeneration of the hippocampal subiculum in long-term meditators

Date

2015

Authors

Kurth, Florian
Cherbuin, Nicolas
Luders, Eileen

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Elsevier

Abstract

Normal aging is known to result in a reduction of gray matter within the hippocampal complex, particularly in the subiculum. The present study was designed to address the question whether the practice of meditation can amend this age-related subicular atrophy. For this purpose, we established the correlations between subicular volume and chronological age within 50 long-term meditators and 50 control subjects. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were automatically processed combining cytoarchitectonically defined probabilistic maps with advanced tissue segmentation and registration methods. Overall, we observed steeper negative regression slopes in controls. The analysis further revealed a significant group-by-age interaction for the left subiculum with a significant negative correlation between age and subicular volume in controls, but no significant correlation in meditators. Altogether, these findings seem to suggest a reduced age-related atrophy of the left subiculum in meditators compared to healthy controls. Possible explanations might be a relative increase of subicular tissue over time through long-term training as meditation is a process that incorporates regular and ongoing mental efforts. Alternatively, because meditation is an established form of reducing stress, our observation might reflect an overall preservation of subicular tissue through a reduced neuronal vulnerability to negative effects of stress.

Description

Keywords

Keywords: adult; age; aged; Article; brain degeneration; controlled study; female; gray matter; human; male; nuclear magnetic resonance imaging; priority journal; subiculum Aging; Brain; Hippocampus; Mindfulness; MRI; Subiculum

Citation

Source

Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

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DOI

10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.03.008

Restricted until

2037-12-31