Article

BOLD signal in insula is differentially related to cardiac function during compassion meditation in experts vs. novices

Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 06/2009; 47(3):1038-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.04.081
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The brain and the cardiovascular system influence each other during the processing of emotion. The study of the interactions of these systems during emotion regulation has been limited in human functional neuroimaging, despite its potential importance for physical health. We have previously reported that mental expertise in cultivation of compassion alters the activation of circuits linked with empathy and theory of mind in response to emotional stimuli. Guided by the finding that heart rate increases more during blocks of compassion meditation than neutral states, especially for experts, we examined the interaction between state (compassion vs. neutral) and group (novice, expert) on the relation between heart rate and BOLD signal during presentation of emotional sounds presented during each state. Our findings revealed that BOLD signal in the right middle insula showed a significant association with heart rate (HR) across state and group. This association was stronger in the left middle/posterior insula when experts were compared to novices. The positive coupling of HR and BOLD was higher within the compassion state than within the neutral state in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex for both groups, underlining the role of this region in the modulation of bodily arousal states. This state effect was stronger for experts than novices in somatosensory cortices and the right inferior parietal lobule (group by state interaction). These data confirm that compassion enhances the emotional and somatosensory brain representations of others' emotions, and that this effect is modulated by expertise. Future studies are needed to further investigate the impact of compassion training on these circuits.

1 Follower
 · 
133 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The perception of oneself as absorbed in the thoughts, feelings and happenings of a fictive character (e.g. in a novel or film) as if the character's experiences were one's own is referred to as identification. We investigated whether individual variation in the personality trait of identification is associated with individual variation in the structure of specific brain regions, using surface and volume-based morphometry. The hypothesised regions of interest were selected on the basis of their functional role in subserving the cognitive processing domains considered important for identification (i.e. mental imagery, empathy, theory of mind, and merging) and for the immersive experience called presence. Controlling for age, sex, whole-brain volume and other traits, identification covaried significantly with the left hippocampal volume, cortical thickness in the right anterior insula and the left dorsal medial prefrontal cortex, and with gray matter volume in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These findings show that trait identification is associated with structural variation in specific brain regions. The findings are discussed in relation to the potential functional contribution of these regions to identification.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 01/2014; DOI:10.1093/scan/nst179 · 5.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent advances in neuroscience have provided new insights into the understanding of heart-brain interaction and communication. Cardiac information to the brain relies on two pathways, terminating in the insular (IC) and anterior cingulate (ACC) cortices, along with the somatosensory cortex (S1-S2). Interoception relying on these neuroanatomical pathways has been shown to modulate social cognition. We report the case study of C.S., a patient with an "external heart" (an extracorporeal left-univentricular cardiac assist device, LVAD). The patient was assessed with neural/behavioral measures of cardiac interoception complemented by neuropsychological and social cognition measures. The patient's performance on the interoception task (heartbeat detection) seemed to be guided by signals from the artificial LVAD, which provides a somatosensory beat, rather than by his endogenous heart. Cortical activity (heart-evoked potential, HEP) decreased in comparison to normal volunteers, particularly during interoceptive states. The patient accurately performed several cognitive tasks, expect for empathy, theory of mind and decision-making. This evidence suggests an imbalance in the patient's cardiac interoceptive pathways that enhances sensation driven by the artificial pump over that from the cardiac vagal-ICC-ACC pathway. A patient with two hearts, one endogenous and one artificial, presents a unique opportunity to explore models of interoception and heart-brain interaction.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 07/2013; · 5.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent advances in neuroscience have provided new insights into the understanding of heart-brain interaction and communication. Cardiac information to the brain relies on two pathways, terminating in the insular (IC) and anterior cingulate (ACC) cortices, along with the somatosensory cortex (S1-S2). Interoception relying on these neuroanatomical pathways has been shown to modulate social cognition. We report the case study of C.S., a patient with an “external heart” (an extracorporeal left-univentricular cardiac assist device, LVAD). The patient was assessed with neural/behavioral measures of cardiac interoception complemented by neuropsychological and social cognition measures. The patient’s performance on the interoception task (heartbeat detection) seemed to be guided by signals from the artificial LVAD, which provides a somatosensory beat, rather than by his endogenous heart. Cortical activity (heart-evoked potential, HEP) decreased in comparison to normal volunteers, particularly during interoceptive states. The patient accurately performed several cognitive tasks, expect for empathy, theory of mind and decision-making. This evidence suggests an imbalance in the patient’s cardiac interoceptive pathways that enhances sensation driven by the artificial pump over that from the cardiac vagal-ICC-ACC pathway. A patient with two hearts, one endogenous and one artificial, presents a unique opportunity to explore models of interoception and heart-brain interaction.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 01/2013; 24(11). DOI:10.1093/scan/nst108 · 5.88 Impact Factor

Preview

Download
0 Downloads
Available from