The impact of different meditation protocols on human health is explored at the cognitive and cellular levels. Preksha Dhyana meditation has been observed to seemingly affect the cognitive performance, transcriptome, and methylome of healthy and novice participant practitioners. In this study, we performed correlation analyses to investigate the presence of any relationships in the changes in cognitive performance and DNA methylation in a group of college students practicing Preksha Dhyāna (N = 34). Nine factors of cognitive performance were assessed at baseline and 8 weeks postintervention timepoints in the participants. Statistically significant improvements were observed in six of the nine assessments, which were predominantly relating to memory and affect. Using Illumina 850 K microarray technology, 470 differentially methylated sites (DMS) were identified between the two timepoints (baseline and 8 weeks), using a threshold of p-value < 0.05 and methylation levels beyond −3% to 3% at every site. Correlation analysis between the changes in performance on each of the nine assessments and every DMS unveiled statistically significant positive and negative relationships at several of these sites. The identified DMS were in proximity of essential genes involved in signaling and other important metabolic processes. Interestingly, we identified a set of sites that can be considered as biomarkers for Preksha meditation improvements at the genome level.
Abomoelak, Bassam; Prather, Ray; Pragya, Samani U.; Pragya, Samani C.; Mehta, Neelam D.; Uddin, Parvin; Veeramachaneni, Pushya; Mehta, Naina; Young, Amanda; Kapoor, Saumya; and Mehta, Devendra, "Cognitive Skills and DNA Methylation Are Correlating in Healthy and Novice College Students Practicing Preksha Dhyāna Meditation" (2023). Student Papers, Posters & Projects. Paper 115.
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