Changes in the brain

Engaging in mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques can actually alter the anatomy of your brain, according to a new study from Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital. The scientists took brain images both before and after volunteers took an 8-week class and found that gray matter in four areas of the brain grew and in one area shrunk, which may correspond to an improvement in how the brain handles stress.

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SOURCES: Harvard Medical School, Justus Liebig Universität Giessen, University of Massachusetts Medical School

PATRICK GARVIN, MONICA ULMANU, JAVIER ZARRACINA/GLOBE STAFF