The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during glossolalia: A preliminary SPECT study

Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 12/2006; 148(1):67-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2006.07.001
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ABSTRACT Glossolalia (or "speaking in tongues") is an unusual mental state that has great personal and religious meaning. Glossolalia is experienced as a normal and expected behavior in religious prayer groups in which the individual appears to be speaking in an incomprehensible language. This is the first functional neuroimaging study to demonstrate changes in cerebral activity during glossolalia. The frontal lobes, parietal lobes, and left caudate were most affected.

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Available from: Andrew Newberg, Sep 29, 2015
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    • "s including meditation practices ( Herzog et al . , 1990 – 1991 ; Lou et al . , 1999 ; Newberg et al . , 2001 ; Pardo et al . , 1991 ) . However , in practices in which a principle component of the experience is the sense of surrender such as in glossolalia , we found decreased activity in the frontal regions , particularly the prefrontal cortex ( Newberg et al . , 2006 ; Peres et al . , 2012 ) . In the present study , we predicted that we would find the latter , surrender - type activa - tion pattern . ( 2 ) Decreased activation of the parietal lobe struc - tures . Our previous research has shown that meditative prayer , such as Centering prayer , is associated with alterations in the sub - jective ex"
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents a case series with preliminary data regarding the neurophysiological effects of specific prayer practices associated with the Islamic religion. Such practices, like other prayer practices, are likely associated with several coordinated cognitive activities and a complex pattern of brain physiology. However, there may also be changes specific to the goals of Islamic prayer which has, as its most fundamental concept, the surrendering of one's self to God. To evaluate Islamic prayer practices, we measured changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) in three Islamic individuals while practicing two different types of Islamic prayer. In this case series, intense Islamic prayer practices generally showed decreased CBF in the prefrontal cortex and related frontal lobe structures, and the parietal lobes. However, there were also several regions that differed between the two types of prayer practices including increased CBF in the caudate nucleus, insula, thalamus, and globus pallidus. These patterns also appear distinct from concentrative techniques in which an individual focuses on a particular idea or object. It is hypothesized that the changes in brain activity may be associated with feelings of "surrender" and "connectedness with God" described to be experienced during these intense Islamic prayer practices. Overall, these results suggest that several coordinated cognitive processes occur during intense Islamic prayer. Methodological issues and implications of the results are also discussed. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Physiology-Paris 08/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jphysparis.2015.08.001 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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    • "Depending on the tracer, this resolution can be as good as several minutes and as bad as several hours or even days. Usually only two or three states might be measured in the same imaging session if the appropriate radiopharmaceutical is used (Lou et al., 1999; Newberg et al., 2006). Since spiritual experiences may be quite brief, it is not clear how effectively neuroimaging studies might be able to capture the specific moment related to something spiritual. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper will be to provide a perspective on the current state of the research evaluating the neurobiological correlates of spiritual practices and review the methodological issues that confront this research field. There are many types of spiritual practices that might be studied including prayer and meditation, as well as unusual practices such as mediumistic trance states, speaking in tongues, and also drug-induced experiences. Current studies have utilized neuroimaging techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging, single photon emission computed tomography, and positron emission tomography. These studies have helped elucidate the neurobiological mechanisms associated with spiritual practices. Such studies confront unique challenges for scientific methodology including determining the most appropriate objective measures such as neuroimaging studies and physiological parameters, and correlating them with subjective measures that help capture states of spiritual significance. Overall, a neuroscientific study of spiritual practices and experiences has the potential to provide fascinating data to further our understanding of the relationship between the brain and such phenomena.
    Frontiers in Psychology 03/2014; 5:215. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00215 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "This activity in the frontal lobes is usually associated with a meditative state which is common in both monks (who usually practise meditation) and nuns (who practise prayer recitals) [Table/ Fig-4]. They also showed similarity in the orientation area (the superior parietal lobe), which showed a dramatic decrease in its neuronal activity (enhanced yellow areas and reduced red areas) [9] [Table/Fig-5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the true nature of an individual, be it a child or an adult, a male or a female, is almost an impossible task. The vast abyss like behaviour of a human mind is virtually unfathomable. Yet, with the advent of neurosciences, it can be said that we, as the medical fraternity, have been in a position to decipher a considerable part of the human mind. This review accepts the fact that religion and theology have extreme reverence and respect. Yet, when it comes to extraordinary beliefs, phenomena, unimaginable feats and emotional deviations of the human mind, especially those which involve deep faiths and beliefs, comprehensive neuroscientific explanations from the emerging data, with the aid of elaborate neuroimaging, have proved to be extremely rational and logical. This review did make an attempt to untangle some facets of spirituality and to make rational explanations of the same. It was an attempt to understand the function of the mind (as an abstract) and the brain, on the spiritual experiences and sudden enlightments, the experience of togetherness with the universe, and to understand the phenomena of trance and an altered state of consciousness, which is better referred as the emerging science of neurotheology.
    07/2013; 7(7):1486-90. DOI:10.7860/JCDR/2013/5409.3181
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