The effect of mindfulness training on visual object pattern separation and hippocampal structure
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A healthy memory is essential to personal identity, completion of everyday tasks, and social acceptance. As factors such as age and illness threaten this key aspect of life, scientific and commercial attention has shifted to software, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices that help stave off inevitable memory decline. There is evidence suggesting that changes in lifestyle similarly work to improve memory. Mindfulness meditation, which is a practice rooted in the spiritual beliefs of Buddhism, has emerged as a promising technique to improve facets of cognition, including memory, as well as to change structures in the brain. Pattern separation is a key process of episodic memory that allows one to keep similar memories distinct. In this study, we evaluate the efficacy of a 4-week mindfulness training program on visual object pattern separation against an active creative writing control intervention and find that mindfulness meditation improves pattern separation and promotes changes in hippocampal brain structures.