Meditation may predispose to epilepsy: an insight into the alteration in brain environment induced by meditation

Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(3):464-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2004.09.012.


Stress-induced diseases in modern life are on an alarming rise not only in developed countries but also in developing ones. To alleviate stress, one practice that is being commonly and increasingly adapted to is meditation. Limited studies on meditation have reported occurrence of mental calmness along with apparently favorable changes in certain autonomic functional parameters like heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and skin resistance. Recently, meditation is also being practiced and advised for alleviation of epilepsy; however, very little work is available to comprehend effect and utility of meditation on epilepsy. Neuro-imaging and in-depth studies during the course and attainment of meditational state have revealed alteration in neuro-chemistry and neuro-physiology of brain environment that could favor epileptogenesis. The rise in brain glutamate and serotonin along with development of 'hypersynchrony' of EEG activity (which occur during the course and attainment of meditational state) are well documented to form the underlying basis of epilepsy. Each of the above-mentioned factors is individually capable of inducing susceptibility and decreasing threshold to epilepsy. Based on these changes in brain, this paper raises a grave possibility and risk of meditation in developing epilepsy or increasing the severity and frequency of attacks in an already epileptic state, contrary to the popular belief of its remedial role in alleviating epilepsy.

MeSH terms

  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / etiology*
  • Glutamic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Ultrasonography


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Serotonin
  • Glutamic Acid