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University will wire students' brains to track changes
by Tina Hesman
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Translate This Article
St. Louis, United States
20 March 2005
On 20 March 2005 St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:
At Maharishi University of Management (M.U.M.) in Fairfield, Iowa, students can have their brain wave activity measured and 'brain integration report cards' issued. Other universities and scientists are also exploring this method of studying how meditation affects the brain.
It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring
fulfilment to the field of education.
Maharishi University of Management has 750 students who all practise Transcendental Meditation. The meals are vegetarian, the classes are taught in month-long blocks, and much emphasis is put on getting to bed early.
Nearby is Maharishi Vedic City, a community built entirely according to the principles of Vedic Architecture. Many of the buildings at M.U.M. also are constructed following these specific mathematical guidelines. As the article said, M.U.M. is a highly unique school.
But M.U.M.'s latest concept of 'brain integration report cards' may soon become a more popular practice. According to Dr Mark Raichle, a neurologist at Washington University, scientists are just recently starting to really understand the meaning of brain activity.
Dr Fred Travis, a neuroscientist at M.U.M., has done extensive research on the effects of Transcendental Meditation on the brain. Travis has students wear a wired cap to measure EEG coherence. He then studies the brain wave patterns.
The Dalai Llama commissioned a study at the University of Wisconsin where veteran Buddhist monks and new meditators were hooked up to an EEG machine. It was found that the veteran monks who had been meditating for 15 to 40 years, showed great increases in gamma waves, indicating greater brain power. The novice meditators didn't show this same coherence.
The article noted that Travis's experiments at M.U.M. brought out a different angle on brain power. Firstly, it was explained that Transcendental Meditation allows the individual to reach a fourth state of consciousness, a state beyond the levels of waking, dreaming, and sleeping. Travis found that both long-time practitioners of TM and new meditators showed similar levels of brain activity. In both cases, the brains were beginning to act more holistically. But Travis also discovered that as individuals practise meditation for greater amounts of time more of the brain coherence experienced during TM continues even when out of meditation.
Travis is encouraging other universities to follow M.U.M.'s example and offer brain-scan report cards.
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