Genome-wide expression changes in a higher state of consciousness

Conscious Cogn. 2012 Sep;21(3):1322-44. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2012.06.003. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Higher states of consciousness in which the human mind can transcend the boundaries of logic and reason are envisioned as natural to the experience and potential growth of every human being. So far they have been mostly monitored by electrophysiological methods. In this study we were particularly interested in discovering the molecular transcriptional basis of higher states of consciousness. In addition to phenomenological reports of meditators who participated in this study the generated higher states of consciousness were also EEG recorded. We assessed the whole genome gene expression analysis of long-term meditators in four separate trials and detected significant differential gene expression in association with higher states of consciousness. The number of differently expressed genes as well as high proportion of genes themselves differed between meditators. Despite this, gene ontology enrichment analysis found significant biological and molecular processes shared among meditators' higher state of consciousness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiology
  • Consciousness* / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation* / physiology
  • Genome, Human / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation* / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction