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Effects of Meditation on Cognitive Function and Quality of Life in Cancer

Lorenzo Cohen

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University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Cognitive impairment is a common consequence of chemotherapy treatment in women with breast cancer. Meditation has been shown to improve quality of life and cognitive processing in this patient population. Although preliminary work has been done piecing together brain changes after both chemotherapy and meditation, we propose to study the simultaneous mechanisms behind electrophysiological, hemodynamic, anatomical, and neurochemical processes after the practice of meditation, and how those neuroplastic effects can be best utilized to improve the lives of cancer patients. Further, we will examine these neurologic processes across cultures and socioeconomic groups making the findings more generalizable for future trials. Current research suggests that changing neural pathways may help in the management of a number of different conditions, including improvement of memory and conCentreation. Several studies investigating the neural correlates of meditation suggest neuroplastic effects of meditation, and further that a complex series of neurophysiological processes are engaged that are unique to the practice of meditation

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