Can Meditation Affects us at Genetic Level?
Epigenetics is one of those scientific subjects that, after a solid and respectable start, jumped the shark. It burst into the scientific mainstream in the last decade or so with fascinating, even paradigm-shifting, discoveries in how genes operate, offering explanations for mysteries from why identical twins differ in the inherited genetic diseases they develop to how our physical environment and social experiences reach into our DNA, altering the blueprints of our lives.
Meditation and its related forms of mind-body therapy, such as yoga, tai chi and chi-gong, has become increasingly studied by researchers during the last 30 years as a tool for enhancing mental abilities, including executive attention and emotional regulation.
Many of the findings have solid scientific support. Lately, however, studies on the epigenetic effects of meditation have been popping up like dandelions in April, making claims that, unfortunately, rest on shaky science-the shark is well and truly jumped. “The science just isn’t as strong as some people are making it out to be,” said neuroscientist Cliff Saron of the University of California, Davis.
Epigenetics refers to changes in DNA that do not alter the four basic chemicals that, strung along the double helix like beads on a necklace, constitute the genetic code. Those chemicals designated A, T, C, and G code for the proteins that cells make: dopamine receptors, enzymes like telomerase, and everything else required for life. Unlike alterations that change an A to a C, for instance, or a G to a T, or eliminate letters entirely, an epigenetic change leaves the letters alone. Instead, it slaps on a molecular silencer or a molecular turbo-charger, affecting whether they are able to make the protein they spell out and in what quantities.
Journal of Genomics & Gene Study is ready to introduce a new volume in which the set of articles will explore evidence for the use of meditation and its related forms of mind-body therapy to enhance mental function, including executive attention, enhanced awareness, and emotional regulation. It will also explore the effects of Tai chi. Articles will include the underlying physiological and genetic parameters associated with these changes. Finally, the scope will include papers on the barriers to acceptance of this research by the medical community, so that medical professionals more readily recommend these practices for patients with genetic disorders known to be ameliorated by these practices.
We would like to cover in this article collection:
1. Efficacy of meditation and its related forms of mind-body therapy to enhance genetic functions.
2. Efficacy of these therapies as a complementary medicine in improving recovery from genetic disorders.
3. Physiological and genetic changes associated with these improvements.
4. Barriers to incorporating these research results into medical practice, and how these may be overcome.
Journal of Genomics & Gene Study