Edinburgh Imaging

MSc projects 1819 002

A systematic review of the link between meditation & grey matter volume using structural MRI.

  • Introduction: The value of meditation and/or mindfulness as a tool in healthcare has not yet been established. Several studies have assessed for correlations between meditation and grey matter, and although previous systematic reviews have been performed in order to better understand the evidence available, these have included studies with major confounding factors such as the use of movement therapy or yoga. The aim of this systematic review is to provide a more focused assessment of the literature on meditation/mindfulness, identify any confounding factors and to determine whether meditation is associated with increase in global and/or regional GM.
  • Methods & materials: A systematic literature review was carried out using multiple databases, and a meta-analysis was performed using the software GingerALE.
  • Results: 25 articles were selected for inclusion within the systematic review and 13 for inclusion within the meta-analysis. The literature showed many inconsistencies between studies in terms of methodology as well as findings. The meta-analysis revealed one significant cluster encompassing the right lentiform nucleus and claustrum.
  • Discussion: There are inconsistencies in the GM regions reported to be correlated with meditation practice, and there are major concerns relating to study design, bias and confounding factors.
  • Conclusion: The effect of meditation on GM cannot be accurately determined as yet. There is a need for more focused studies, including randomised controlled trials.
Project type:
  • Systematic review
  • Meta-analysis
Imaging keywords:
Application / disease keywords:
  • Meditation
  • 18-19