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Empirical Evidence of the Benefits of Meditation

Meditation Rivals Medication for [Effectiveness in Treatment of] Depression
Jan. 8, 2014 – New research finds that meditation may be equally as effective as antidepressants in helping to reduce anxiety, depression and pain, according to a review of studies published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Mindfulness Meditation Training Changes Brain Structure in Eight Weeks
Jan. 21, 2011 — Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. In a study that will appear in the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain's grey matter.
The scholarly article itself:
A list of articles by Dr. Sara Lazar:

This Is Your Brain on Meditation by psychiatrist Rebecca Gladding, M.D., author of You Are Not Your Brain. Neat description of what happens in the brain with meditation practice – scientific evidence of how meditation leads to less self-concern!