Cortical Surface Shown is the lateral view of the right cortical surface. The red circle indicates where the maximum effect occurred. Top: Larger gyrification in 50 long-term meditators compared to 50 well-matched controls. Bottom: Positive correlations between gyrification and the number of meditation years within the 50 meditators. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Los Angeles)
Evidence Builds That Meditation Strengthens The Brain -- Science Daily
ScienceDaily (Mar. 14, 2012) — Earlier evidence out of UCLA suggested that meditating for years thickens the brain (in a good way) and strengthens the connections between brain cells. Now a further report by UCLA researchers suggests yet another benefit.
Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification ("folding" of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. Further, a direct correlation was found between the amount of gyrification and the number of meditation years, possibly providing further proof of the brain's neuroplasticity, or ability to adapt to environmental changes.
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My Comment: I have always had the altitude that doing anything that involves the higher cortical parts of the brain .... playing music, chess, etc. .... will strengthen the brain.