An Update from the Research Team – May 2022

San Diego Studies: IMAGINE and GENESIS

In San Diego we launched two large studies, one standalone and the other encompassing three related investigations. The standalone study, named IMAGINE (Integrating MAGnetic Imaging with rich pheNotypE) will be the first study using Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditations to integrate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with qEEG, biometrics, blood work, and health surveys. As Dr. Joe says, ”Where you put your attention is where you put your energy.” The fMRI will allow us to assess brain structures and see which deep regions of the brain are using energy during a meditation. Coupling this with all of the other phenotypic measures will give us a complete picture of what happens to mind and body during the week. We recruited 20 individuals into IMAGINE, with roughly half novice and half experienced meditators. It was a marathon to do fMRI on these individuals in the pre- and post-setting as each scan takes about 60 minutes. We received word back from the fMRI center that we were the first group ever to pull off so many scans in such a short time window. Individuals in IMAGINE describe some amazing experiences, and we look forward to seeing what insights the data shows.

The other study initiated in San Diego was named GENESIS (GEnerating NEw inSights into genetIc Signatures) which is composed of three interrelated studies (Twins, Milk, and Genes) which probe how we as humans are connected and the power of the intentional mind. For “Twins,” six pairs of twins were recruited (5 identical and one fraternal) and were phenotyped before and after the event as well as during. For the study, the twins were separated during the event, and while one was meditating, the other was listening to a long and tedious documentary. We wanted to determine if the twin meditating and having an intense emotional experience could in some way influence the twin listening to the documentary in a different room. “Milk” will start looking at the mother-child relationship to see what happens to the breast milk of a mother who meditates. Lots of evidence suggests there are protective factors elevated in breast milk that provide health resiliency to the breastfeeding child. This study will look to see if meditation could also impact breast milk. The third component, “Genes” was an intention-based experiment where two groups were taught about cell/molecular biology and were then given 5 gene targets to focus their intention on for the week and try to change the expression. All participants focused on SERPINA5 which past studies have shown to be elevated in meditators and protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection. The experimental group focused on 4 additional, real genes while the control group focuses on non-real targets. The outcome of GENESIS will allow us to determine if humans can form close and distant connections with each other and the power of the mind through intention to regulate the very core of our genetics. Insights will be critical in evolving our understanding of healing and transformation that many people experience at these events.

Research Presentation: An Update on QUANTUM

The research presentation at the retreat focused on new findings around SARS-CoV-2 and initial insights from the QUANTUM Study launched in January 2022 in Marco Island. The SARS-CoV-2 paper has been slow going as additional information was needed to complete the story. This is now done and the study will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for consideration. The final studies suggest that meditation and vaccination work in different and complementary ways to limit SARS-CoV-2 infection and Covid-19 disease. The QUANTUM initial analysis shows the participant pool includes 978 individuals and at least 18 diseases represented where there were 30 or more individuals represented. Sadly, but expected, nearly 1/3 of QUANTUM participants list anxiety/depression as a disease, which gives us some insights into where to focus future research efforts.

As cancer research is our focus in 2022, we looked at the 42 participants in QUANTUM who have cancer (breast cancer was the most predominant) and these were age/sex matched to healthy participants in QUANTUM. Metagenomic analysis of microbiomes revealed that in seven days, the microbiome of cancer subjects looks more like healthy individuals. The main changes were seen in populations of bacteria regulating inflammation. Importantly, these biological changes were in line with self-reported aspects of improved health. Metabolic processes were also assessed and impacted by meditation in cancer patients. We look forward to another study on cancer later in the year, as well as developing deeper insights into other diseases represented in the QUANTUM study.

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