Sara Lazar, Ph.D.
Psychiatry, Mass General Research Institute
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
The Lazar Lab for Meditation Research at Massachusetts General Hospital studies the impact of yoga and meditation on cognitive and behavioral functions using scientifically validated brain imaging technologies.
Our results provide compelling evidence that meditation can produce experience-based structural alterations in the brain. We also found indications that meditation may slow down the age-related atrophy of certain areas of the brain.
Successful cognitive aging
This project is a large study of the impact of meditation training on cognition and brain structure in healthy older adults. The study will address the questions: Can older adults still experience the changes in brain structure following meditation training that were found in younger subjects? Can meditation slow the normal decline in cognition that happens as we grow older?
Comparison of different types of practice
This project in collaboration with the Benson Henry Mind Body Medical Institute is comparing changes in brain structure and function following randomization to yoga, the Relaxation Response, or a control program. Changes in neural structure and function will be compared to changes in stress biomarkers.