Alterations in auditory middle latency evoked potentials during meditation on Om

The International Journal for Neuroscience.

1994 May;76(1-2):87-93.

 Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR, Desiraju T.

Department of Neurophysiology, NIMHANS, Bangalore, India.

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Middle latency auditory evoked potentials were recorded in 18 male volunteers with ages between 25 and 45 years, 9 of whom had more than 10 years of experience in “Om” meditation (senior subjects), whereas the other 9 had no meditation experience (naive subjects). Both groups were studied in two types of sessions.

 (1) Before, during, and after 20 minutes of mentally repeating “one” (control session), and

 (2) a similar session, though with 20 minutes of mentally chanting “Om” (meditation session). The senior subjects showed a statistically significant (paired t-test) increase in the peak amplitude of Na wave (the maximum negative peak between 14 and 18 ms) during meditation, while the same subjects showed a statistically significant reduction in the Na wave peak amplitude during control sessions. In contrast, the naive subjects had a significant decrease in the Na wave peak amplitude during meditation sessions and a nonsignificant trend of reduction during control sessions, as well. This difference between senior and naive subjects was significant (two-way ANOVA). There were no significant changes in short latency wave V or Pa wave (the positive peak between the Na wave and 35 ms). The changes in the Na wave suggest that both mediation on a meaningful symbol, and mental repetition of a neutral word cause neural changes at the same level (possibly diencephalic). However, the change could be in opposite directions, and this difference could be correlated with differences in the duration of experience in meditation between senior and naive subjects.

 

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