Meditation, Stress and Mental Fatigue: Research from Experimental Biology 2018

Each year, scientists who study physiology and other biomedical research fields—including anatomy, biochemistry, pathology and pharmacology—gather at the Experimental Biology (EB) meeting. Scientific meetings such as EB provide a platform to present and learn about new and cutting-edge research and form collaborations with colleagues that can lead to advances in science and medicine. This year’s EB meeting in San Diego featured studies ranging in topics from nutrition and exercise to mental well-being and women’s health. Read on to learn more about the relationship between mind and body.

Close up shot of runner's shoes

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When you’re physically tired, you may feel like your entire body slows down. You might have trouble keeping your eyes open or putting one foot in front of the other. However, science says something different: In older adults, it’s mental fatigue, not physical energy, that affects walking ability. Researchers from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. asked a group of seniors to perform a timed walking test that tired them out physically and then gave them math problems to sap their mental energy. They found that the more mentally—not physically—tired the volunteers were, the more their walking speed and stride length decreased.

Meditating at the Office

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Mindfulness meditation can help calm your mind and body. As it turns out, the practice of focusing on your breathing and thoughts may reduce your risk of heart disease after one 60-minute session. Researchers from Michigan Technological University tested the blood pressure, heart rate and artery stiffness of people with anxiety after an hour-long meditation class. All of these factors improved after a single meditation session. That’s reason enough to get your Zen on.

Woman alone and depressed sitting at the beach

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“Summertime and the livin’ is easy”… or so you thought. However, a study from Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland finds that for some medical students, stress hormones rise in the summer when compared to the colder, darker winter season.

Interested in learning about more research presented at the meeting? Check out these studies focused on women’s health and exercise:

Black moms may burn calories slower than white moms to keep more baby weight

Zinc deficiency before conception may make it harder to conceive

Regular soaks in a hot tub may improve insulin resistance and reduce inflammation in obese women

Drinking water may help exercising seniors stay mentally sharp

Exercising after concussion may help teens recover

Erica Roth

3 thoughts on “Meditation, Stress and Mental Fatigue: Research from Experimental Biology 2018

  1. Pingback: How, What and When to Eat: Scientists Weigh In at Experimental Biology 2018 | I Spy Physiology Blog

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