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... Both mindfulness and self-talk are associated with a particular state of consciousness. The experiential contents of the consciousness as well as the selftalk itself are likely to be caused by the interaction between exogenous factors (i.e., environmental stimuli) and endogenous factors (i.e., internal bodily inputs or unsymbolised thinking) (Manuello, Vercelli, Nani, Costa, & Cauda, 2016;Van Raalte et al., 2016). The dimension of contents and sources of both selftalk and conscious experience can therefore be divided into external awareness (i.e., what we perceive through the senses) and internal awareness (i.e., thoughts that are independent of specific external stimuli; Manuello et al., 2016). ...
... The experiential contents of the consciousness as well as the selftalk itself are likely to be caused by the interaction between exogenous factors (i.e., environmental stimuli) and endogenous factors (i.e., internal bodily inputs or unsymbolised thinking) (Manuello, Vercelli, Nani, Costa, & Cauda, 2016;Van Raalte et al., 2016). The dimension of contents and sources of both selftalk and conscious experience can therefore be divided into external awareness (i.e., what we perceive through the senses) and internal awareness (i.e., thoughts that are independent of specific external stimuli; Manuello et al., 2016). Internal and external awareness are crucial for consciousness and the sense of self. ...
... All these signals are conjointly processed in different brain areas and produce in their sum and quality the sense of self. This subjectively experienced conscious state or sense of self is thought to be formed by a global workspace with its characteristic feature of the conjointly distributed availability of information due to long-range neuronal projections (Manuello et al., 2016). Within this global workspace other important areas in the generation of behaviour, like speech and motor areas, can be connected to the associative areas that deal with the contents of experience. ...
... Different forms of MM may be applied, depending on the meditator's expertise and personal goals. Focused-attention meditation (FAM) involves the direction of attention towards a focal object and gentle reinstatement of this focus when thoughts drift off or strong emotions surface (75). This variant is usually employed by novice meditators. ...
... MM has differential effects on the SN and CEN with SN regions, the insula and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), being engaged during mediation, whereas the activity of CEN regions, the lateral PFC and parietal cortex, decreases (75). As the insula and ACC are involved in interoceptive processes (178) and the lateral PFC and parietal cortex in external awareness (179), this is thought to reflect inward-focused attention during the practice of mindfulness (75,77). ...
... MM has differential effects on the SN and CEN with SN regions, the insula and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), being engaged during mediation, whereas the activity of CEN regions, the lateral PFC and parietal cortex, decreases (75). As the insula and ACC are involved in interoceptive processes (178) and the lateral PFC and parietal cortex in external awareness (179), this is thought to reflect inward-focused attention during the practice of mindfulness (75,77). Moreover, MM promotes the activation of the dorsolateral PFC, a key region of the CEN, which is important for cognitive control (142,180). ...
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Depression is a major public health problem that affects approximately 4.4% of the global population. Since conventional pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies are only partially effective, as demonstrated by the number of patients failing to achieve remission, alternative treatments are needed. Mindfulness meditation (MM) and psilocybin represent two promising novel treatments that might even have complementary therapeutic effects when combined. Since the current literature is limited to theoretical and empirical underpinnings of either treatment alone, the present review aimed to identify possible complementary effects that may be relevant to the treatment of depression. To that end, the individual effects of MM and psilocybin, and their underlying working mechanisms, were compared on a non-exhaustive selection of six prominent psychological and biological processes that are well known to show impairments in patients suffering from major depression disorder, that is mood, executive functioning, social skills, neuroplasticity, core neural networks, and neuroendocrine and neuroimmunological levels. Based on predefined search strings used in two online databases (PubMed and Google Scholar) 1129 articles were identified. After screening title and abstract for relevance related to the question, 82 articles were retained and 11 were added after reference list search, resulting in 93 articles included in the review. Findings show that MM and psilocybin exert similar effects on mood, social skills, and neuroplasticity; different effects were found on executive functioning, neural core networks, and neuroendocrine and neuroimmune system markers. Potential mechanisms of MM’s effects are enhanced affective self-regulation through mental strategies, optimization of stress reactivity, and structural and functional adjustments of prefrontal and limbic areas; psilocybin’s effects might be established via attenuation of cognitive associations through deep personal insights, cognitive disinhibition, and global neural network disintegration. It is suggested that, when used in combination, MM and psilocybin could exert complementary effects by potentiating or prolonging mutual positive effects, for example, MM potentially facilitating psilocybin-induced peak experiences. Future placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trials focusing on psilocybin-assisted mindfulness-based therapy will provide knowledge about whether the proposed combination of therapies maximizes their efficacy in the treatment of depression or depressive symptomatology.
... A recent attempt at classifying meditative practices based on cognitive mechanisms acknowledged that many meditative practices might span multiple categories (Dahl, Lutz, & Davidson, 2015). As an example, mindfulness based meditation has aspects of concentration, mindfulness and loving kindness (Manuello, Vercelli, Nani, Costa, & Cauda, 2016) and thus straddles the attentional, constructive and deconstructive families (Dahl et al., 2015). ...
... EEG studies examining the neurophysiology of mindfulness based meditation techniques have found consistent changes in theta and alpha power (Cahn & Polich, 2006;Lomas, Ivtzan, & Fu, 2015). This might imply that there are at least some common mechanisms underlying these meditation techniques as they finally involve some aspect of mindfulness (Manuello et al., 2016). On the other hand, it is possible that a context based study of mindfulness meditation might reveal a more nuanced understanding of the neurophysiological underpinnings of the different meditative techniques. ...
Article
Meditation, as taught by most schools of practice, consists of a set of heterogeneous techniques. We wanted to assess if EEG profiles varied across different meditation techniques, proficiency levels and experience of the practitioners. We examined EEG dynamics in Vipassana meditators (Novice, Senior meditators and Teachers) while they engaged in their traditional meditation practice (concentration, mindfulness and loving kindness in a structured manner) as taught by S.N. Goenka. Seniors and Teachers (vs Novices) showed trait increases in delta (1–4 Hz), theta-alpha (6–10 Hz) and low-gamma power (30–40 Hz) at baseline rest; state-trait increases in low-alpha (8–10 Hz) and low-gamma power during concentrative and mindfulness meditation; and theta-alpha and low-gamma power during loving-kindness meditation. Permutation entropy and Higuchi fractal dimension measures further dissociated high proficiency from duration of experience as only Teachers showed consistent increase in network complexity from baseline rest and state transitions between the different meditation states.
... Expressions used in this phase such as "A sensation as if another me looks at the inside of me" or "I am transparent and small and present in the place where the lung is located" made us understood that some changes that they cannot experience in daily life occurred in their sense of self-consciousness. As close association between mindfulness meditation and consciousness, it has been suggested that practice of meditation may specify the consciousness and characteristically give some impacts on the consciousness 20) . ...
Article
Objective: In this practical study, mindfulness-based “Loving-Kindness and Mindfulness Meditation” was carried out for breast cancer patients. Methods: 60-minute meditation sessions were carried out every two weeks for a total of four sessions. At Month 1 and in the period up to Month 3 after intervention, changes in quality of life (QOL) were assessed using SF-36 v2 for a total of five times. Participants were taught to practice meditation at home, and their daily meditation experiences were written down as records. Results: Participants were divided into two groups, with two subjects in the intervention group and one subject in the non-intervention group. RCS based on SF-36 v2 were in the intervention group, and could be maintained or improved even one month after completion of intervention compared to before intervention. The records were divided into “Introduction phase” (for meditation in the first intervention); “Acquisition phase” (in and after the second); “Stable phase” (in and after the third); and “Establishment phase” (in and after the fourth). Correspondence analysis was performed for the fourth term by Text Mining. Conclusion: During early intervention at the “Introduction phase,” intentional concentration on what is occurring is carried out. As meditations continue, a change in the sense of self-consciousness, which cannot be experienced in daily life, is thought to occur.
... A neuroscientific perspective describes brain areas which are affected by mindfulness meditation. For example, the anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, insula, and thalamus seem to play a significant role in the concepts of mindfulness meditation and consciousness (Manuello, Vercelli, Nani, Costa, & Cauda, 2016). It appears that mental training can change the function and the structure of the brain. ...
Chapter
This book underlines the importance of a harmonious coexistence of physical health with mental and psychological well-being for a person to be able to enjoy quality of life without limitations or restrictions until the old age. This book brings mental health to the fore and puts quality of life as it is related to health front and center, as it should be. My contribution is in the chapter "Mindfulness and Well-Being" which covers the History of mindfulness, Meta-analysis research on mindfulness, Research on mindfulness and stress, Mindfulness and depression, Mindfulness and pain management, A holistic approach of chronic pain management, and Treatments.
... Increasingly, neuroscientific research points towards the importance of interoception as an enhancing agent for effective emotion regulation (Fustos et al., 2013;Menezes et al., 2012). In particular evidence is accumulating to indicate that mindfulness training enhances executive control by increasing awareness of emotional perturbations in everyday experience which signal need for a proactive response which would in turn improve emotion regulation skills (Manuello et al., 2016;. The fact that interoceptive awareness consistently emerged as the stronger mediator in the present study accords with the view it is a 'prerequisite' for effective emotion regulation (Fustos et al., 2013;Menezes et al., 2012). ...
Article
Mindfulness based therapies (MBTs) for eating disorders show potential benefit for outcomes yet evidence is scarce regarding the mechanisms by which they influence remission from symptoms. One way that mindfulness approaches create positive outcomes is through enhancement of emotion regulation skills. Maladaptive emotion regulation is a key psychological feature of all eating disorders. The aim of the current study was to identify facets of emotion regulation involved in the relationship between mindfulness and maladaptive eating behaviours. In three cross-sectional studies, clinical (n=39) and non-clinical (n=137 & 119) female participants completed: 1) the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) eating specific scales (drive-for-thinness and bulimia) and the EDI psychological symptom scales (emotion dysregulation and interoceptive deficits); and 2) mindfulness, impulsivity, and emotion regulation questionnaires. In all samples mindfulness was significantly and inversely associated with EDI eating and psychological symptom scales, and impulsivity. In non-clinical samples interoceptive deficits mediated the relationship between mindfulness and EDI eating specific scales. Non-acceptance of emotional experience, a facet of interoceptive awareness, mediated the relationship between mindfulness and eating specific EDI scores. Further investigations could verify relationships identified so that mindfulness based approaches can be optimised to enhance emotion regulation skills in sufferers, and those at-risk, of eating disorders.
... Interestingly, the reported pattern is similar to the distribution of VENs in the brain. VENs are also involved in the mechanism of mindfulness which is a known method for stress reduction and mood improvement [36]. ...
... Así como la neurofisiología de la meditación y el mindfulness y su impacto desde el EEG ha sido estudiada ampliamente a lo largo de los años [25]. Entendiéndose que la meditación hace referencia a un amplio rango de actividades mentales que parten de un objeto en común en la regulación de la atención y la conciencia en orden de mejorar los procesos mentales [26]. ...
... Bowden et al. (2014) reported improvements in mood and sense of well-being after BWV practice. Our finding of increased functional connectivity between the anterior insula and thalamus and the PFC are in line with previous studies (Manuello et al. 2016;Tang et al. 2015;Laneri et al. 2016). A recent study using diffusion tensor imaging found that meditation practitioners demonstrated higher fractional anisotropy values in the white matter connected to the insula and thalamus, which may be interpreted as enhanced white matter integrity or increased structural connectivity (Laneri et al. 2016). ...
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The majority of meditation involves focusing attention on internal events or sensations and becoming aware of emotions. The insula cortex, through a functional connection with the prefrontal cortex and other brain regions, plays a key role in integrating external sensory information with internal bodily state signals and emotional awareness. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the resting-state functional connectivity of the insula with other brain regions in meditation practitioners and control subjects. Thirty-five Brain Wave Vibration meditation practitioners and 33 controls without meditation experience were included in this study. All subjects underwent 4.68-min resting-state functional scanning runs using magnetic resonance imaging. The anterior and posterior insulae were chosen as seed regions for the functional connectivity map. Meditation practitioners showed significantly greater insula-related functional connectivity in the thalamus, caudate, middle frontal gyrus, and superior temporal gyrus than did controls. Control subjects demonstrated greater functional connectivity with the posterior insula in the parahippocampal gyrus. Our findings suggest that the practice of Brain Wave Vibration meditation may be associated with functional differences in regions related to focused attention, executive control, and emotional awareness and regulation. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1007/s12671-018-0928-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... Mindfulness (a 19th century translation of the Pali word sati; Bodhi, 2011) is an important concept in Buddhist meditation practice, which has come to be influential in the West through its adoption in psychotherapeutic techniques, perhaps most famously in Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (Kabat-Zinn, 2011). Mindfulness meditation can be said to induce an altered state of consciousness, in a weak sense, by alterations in the focus of attention, for example toward bodily states (Manuello, Vercelli, Nani, Costa, & Cauda, 2016;Wittmann, 2015). ...
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Mindfulness meditation and hypnosis are related in opposing ways to awareness of intentions. The cold control theory of hypnosis proposes that hypnotic responding involves the experience of involuntariness while performing an actually intentional action. Hypnosis therefore relies upon inaccurate metacognition about intentional actions and experiences. Mindfulness meditation centrally involves awareness of intentions and is associated with improved metacognitive access to intentions. Therefore, mindfulness meditators and highly hypnotizable people may lie at opposite ends of a spectrum with regard to metacognitive access to intention‐related information. Here we review the theoretical background and evidence for differences in the metacognition of intentions in these groups, as revealed by chronometric measures of the awareness of voluntary action: the timing of an intention to move (Libet's “W” judgments) and the compressed perception of time between an intentional action and its outcome (“intentional binding”). We review these measures and critically evaluate their proposed connection to the experience of volition and sense of agency.
... The results of VBM showed that the CCH group had significantly smaller GMV than the control group in bilateral precuneus, right middle cingulate gyrus and bilateral PCC, and right superior parietal lobule (rSPL). These areas have been associated with meditation or mindfulness [18,35,36], but PCC is most consistently linked to meditation [37]. Furthermore, our finding of negative associations was consistent with the previous findings that trait mindfulness was correlated with smaller GMV in PCC [38] and that meditators had smaller cortical thickness than controls [39]. ...
Article
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As a special kind of handwriting with a brush, Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) requires a large amount of practice with high levels of concentration and emotion regulation. Previous studies have showed that long-term CCH training has positive effects physically (induced by handwriting activities) and psychologically (induced by the state of relaxation and concentration), the latter of which is similar to the effects of meditation. The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term CCH training effect on anxiety and attention, as well as brain structure. Participants were 32 individuals who had at least five years of CCH experience and 44 controls. Results showed that CCH training benefited individuals' selective and divided attention but did not decrease their anxiety level. Moreover, the VBM analysis showed that long-term CCH training was mainly associated with smaller grey matter volumes (GMV) in the right precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). No brain areas showed larger GMV in the CCH group than the control group. Using two sets of regions of interest (ROIs), one related to meditation and the other to handwriting, ROI analysis showed significant differences between the CCH and the control group only at the meditation-related ROIs, not at the handwriting-related ROIs. Finally, for the whole sample, the GMV of both the whole brain and the PCC were negatively correlated with selective attention and divided attention. The present study was cross-sectional and had a relatively small sample size, but its results suggested that CCH training might benefit attention and influence particular brain structure through mental processes such as meditation.
... Previous studies even suggest that meditation, an activity empirically supported to increased awareness and mental clarity, works by engaging the ACC, as well the insula, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), prefrontal and thalamic cortices, such that attention and emotion are affected. 10 ...
Article
Participants in this study were randomly assigned to one of three interval groups of either one, three, or five minutes. All participants were asked to estimate a group-assigned time interval and complete the state portion of the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). It was hypothesized that higher levels of state anxiety would cause participants to overestimate the passage of time. It was also hypothesized that shorter interval durations would be estimated more accurately than longer interval durations. Results of a t-test did not support the first hypothesis. Results of a linear trend analysis did support the second hypothesis (P < .05). These results indicate that state-anxiety does not cause the passage of time to be overestimated and that interval duration length affects how accurately time is estimated. Implications of this study are important to the understanding of human time-management ability and time estimation errors. KEYWORDS: Time estimation; Perception; State-anxiety; Attention; Working memory; Emotion
... First, conscious states are not under the control of the will. Although conscious states can be to some extent modulated -by substances like drugs and alcohol, by practice like meditation (Manuello et al., 2016), and by attention itself, which selectively processes information that, thereby, can enters conscious experience -, it simply happens to us to be conscious every morning when we wake up from sleep. In contrast, consciousness itself seems to be a precondition to exert voluntary control of behavior. ...
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During the last three decades our understanding of the brain processes underlying consciousness and attention has significantly improved, mainly because of the advances in functional neuroimaging techniques. Still, caution is needed for the correct interpretation of these empirical findings, as both research and theoretical proposals are hampered by a number of conceptual difficulties. We review some of the most significant theoretical issues concerning the concepts of consciousness and attention in the neuroscientific literature, and put forward the implications of these reflections for a coherent model of the neural correlates of these brain functions. Even though consciousness and attention have an overlapping pattern of neural activity, they should be considered as essentially separate brain processes. The contents of phenomenal consciousness are supposed to be associated with the activity of multiple synchronized networks in the temporo-parietal-occipital areas. Only subsequently, attention, supported by fronto-parietal networks, enters the process of consciousness to provide focal awareness of specific features of reality.
... Developing a joint mindfulness/consciousness model makes sense as mindfulness and consciousness (within the meaning of conscious awareness) seem to be closely linked. For example, neuroimaging data suggest that some of the brain areas involved in MM and consciousness (notably the anterior cingulate cortex, the insula, the posterior cingulate cortex, some regions of the prefrontal cortex, and the thalamus) could overlap (Manuello, Vercelli, Nani, Costa, & Cauda, 2016). ...
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Neuroimaging, behavioral and self-report evidence suggests that there are four main cognitive mechanisms that support mindfulness: 1) self-regulation of attention, 2) improved body awareness, 3) improved emotion regulation, and 4) change in perspective on the self. The current paper discusses these mechanisms, based on studies of Event Related Potential (ERP). We review the ERP literature related to mindfulness and examine a dataset of 29 articles. Our findings show that the neural features of mindfulness are consistently associated with the self-regulation of attention and, in most cases, reduced reactivity to emotional stimuli and improved cognitive control. On the other hand, there appear to be no studies of body awareness. We link these electrophysiological findings to models of consciousness, and introduce a unified, mechanistic mindfulness model. The main idea in this refined model is that mindfulness decreases the threshold of conscious access. We end with several working hypotheses that could direct future mindfulness research, and clarify our results.
... This observation suggests that the insula is co-altered by pathology only together with higher-order structures, especially with cortical areas. As the insula is associated with functions that integrate lower-and higher-order cognitive areas, evaluating sensory and limbic stimuli, monitoring the body and the environment to carry out error detection processes ( Ahmed et al., 2016 ;Cauda et al., 2012aCauda et al., , 2011Cauda et al., , 2012bDouaud et al., 2014 ;Fjell et al., 2015 ;Jagust, 2013 ;Jones et al., 2016 ;Klein et al., 2013 ;Manuello et al., 2016 ;Nieuwenhuys, 2012 ;Vercelli et al., 2016 ;Voytek and Knight, 2015 ;Wylie and Tregellas, 2010 ), it should appear surprising that it is not greatly co-altered with limbic and subcortical regions. As the coactivation map shows that the insula can be functionally connected with many extracortical structures, for instance, the cerebellum ( Figs. 4 and S4), the co-alteration patterns of each insular parcel seem to suggest that the insula has a bottom-up pathoconnectivity profile, in which it appears to be co-altered mostly with those cortical areas with which it is functionally connected so as to exert a bottom-up influence (e.g. ...
Article
Brain disorders tend to impact on many different regions in a typical way: alterations do not spread randomly; rather, they seem to follow specific patterns of propagation that show a strong overlap between different patholo-gies. The insular cortex is one of the brain areas more involved in this phenomenon, as it seems to be altered by a wide range of brain diseases. On these grounds we thoroughly investigated the impact of brain disorders on the insular cortices analyzing the patterns of their structural co-alteration. We therefore investigated, applying a network analysis approach to meta-analytic data, 1) what pattern of gray matter alteration is associated with each of the insular cortex parcels; 2) whether or not this pattern correlates and overlaps with its functional meta-analytic connectivity; and, 3) the behavioral profile related to each insular co-alteration pattern. All the analyses were repeated considering two solutions: one with two clusters and another with three. Our study confirmed that the insular cortex is one of the most altered cerebral regions among the cortical areas, and exhibits a dense network of co-alteration including a prevalence of cortical rather than sub-cortical brain regions. Regions of the frontal lobe are the most involved, while occipital lobe is the less affected. Furthermore, the co-alteration and co-activation patterns greatly overlap each other. These findings provide significant evidence that alterations caused by brain disorders are likely to be distributed according to the logic of network architecture, in which brain hubs lie at the center of networks composed of co-altered areas. For the first time, we shed light on existing differences between insula sub-regions even in the pathoconnectivity domain.
... Mindfulness is the term popularized by Kabat-Zinn (1990 to refer to the state of non-judgmental attention toward the present experience. Although mindfulness has been associated with a variety of traditions (Manuello, Vercelli, Nani, Costa and Cauda 2016), it has not been until the last two decades that the scientific community has drawn attention to its potential benefits as a tool to understand some human cognitive functions (Teasdale 1999;Kabat-Zinn 2003;Thera 2005;Hölzel, Lazar, Gard, Schuman-Olivier, Vago and Ott 2011). ...
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Not much research has adopted a multicomponent approach to examine the relationship between mindfulness and cognitive control. Studies addressing this issue have produced mixed results that may be due to the incorporation of different questionnaires to assess mindfulness and to the assessment of different stages and types of mindfulness itself. In the present study, we aimed to investigate to which extent dispositional mindfulness relates to a dynamic use of control modes as understood from the dual mechanisms of control theory. Further, we aimed to test this hypothesis by including two different frequently used mindfulness questionnaires in order to explore their confluence. Hundred thirty young adults completed two well-established assessment tools of mindfulness (Mindful Attention Awareness Scale and Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire) and two well-validated experimental tasks measuring proactive/reactive control modes (AX-Continuous Performance Task and Cued Task-Switching Paradigm). The data analyses were performed considering the continuous values in multiple regression analyses, as it is thought to better capture individual differences. The results replicate the previous findings suggesting that mindful individuals tend to use proactive and reactive control in a balanced manner in comparison to low mindfulness individuals, who tend to rely more on proactive control. Moreover, mindful individuals showed greater flexibility when the two processing modes were available. Hence, the major effects were found by using the two questionnaires. Altogether our findings indicate that mindful individuals, who have been characterized by an enhanced focus on the present moment without judgment, are less attached to the previous contextual information, which allows them to exhibit a more flexible performance.
... Future research might examine to what extent the intensity of absorption during sex causes or otherwise explains these relationships. Better well-being has been shown to occur as a result of other activities that trigger altered states of consciousness with attentional absorption and timelessness, such as mindfulness (Keng, Smoski, & Robins, 2011;Manuello, Vercelli, Nani, Costa, & Cauda, 2016), flow (Moneta & Csikszentmihalyi, 1996), and psilocybin-induced mystical-type experiences (Griffiths et al., 2011). Future research might also explore the effects of these altered states of consciousness on sexual activity. ...
... A few decades afterwards, Brodmann introduced the idea that the cingulate cortex was not a unitary cytoarchitectonic structure, proposing the subdivision into precingulate (BAs 24, 25, 32, 33; mainly agranular) and postcingulate (BAs 23, 31; granular) sub-regions (Brodmann 1909). The heterogeneity of the cingulate cortex was further supported by the advent of functional MRI, showing its involvement in several brain functions and cognitive domains, as emotion (Rolls 2019), decision-making (Lockwood and Wittmann 2018), motor behavior (Caruana et al. 2018), pain (Benarroch 2020), consciousness (Manuello et al. 2016), and memory (Maguire 2001). The analysis of resting state generally associated the anterior cingulate cortex with the salience network (Seeley et al. 2007), and the posterior cingulate with the default mode network (DMN) (Andrews-Hanna et al. 2010;Buckner et al. 2008;Cauda et al. 2010;Fan et al. 2019). ...
Article
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The cingulate cortex is known to be a complex structure, involved in several cognitive and emotional functions, as well as being altered by a variety of brain disorders. This heterogeneity is reflected in the multiple parceling models proposed in the literature. At the present, sub-regions of the cingulate cortex had been identified taking into account functional and structural connectivity, as well as cytological and electrochemical properties. In the present work, we propose an innovative node-wise parceling approach based on meta-analytic Bayesian co-alteration. To this aim, 193 case–control voxel-based morphometry experiments were analyzed, and the Patel’s κ index was used to assess probability of morphometric co-alteration between nodes placed in the cingulate cortex and in the rest of the brain. Hierarchical clustering was then applied to identify nodes in the cingulate cortex exhibiting a similar pattern of whole-brain co-alteration. The obtained dendrogram highlighted a robust fronto-parietal cluster compatible with the default mode network, and being supported by the interplay between the retrosplenial cortex and the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex, rarely described in the literature. This ensemble was further confirmed by the analysis of functional patterns. Leveraging on co-alteration to investigate cortical organization could, therefore, allow to combine multimodal information, resolving conflicting results sometimes coming from the separate use of singular modalities. Crucially, this provides a valuable way to understand the pathological brain using data driven, whole-brain informed and context-specific evidence in a way not yet explored in the field.
... Siegel (2018) calls it 'awareness of awareness'. It gives rise to capacities for mindfulness and the ability to observe our own minds in action (Manuello et al., 2016). Together these combined competencies give rise to knowing intentionality. ...
Chapter
There is growing evidence that the cultivation of compassion focused motives and emotions has profound effects on mental health and wellbeing. This chapter outlines the importance of embedding compassion in school and educational settings for pupils/students, those who teach them, and for the contextual organisation of education. Compassion based initiatives (CBIs) guide staff and pupils to understand the nature of their own minds, and that of others. This is in particular respect to managing emotions and the adverse effects of the competitive nature of education, which can lead to mental health issues in pupils and teachers. This chapter explores theory and research as to the nature of compassion as both a personal and social process and reviews the utility of specifically developed compassionate initiatives for teachers, HE students and school-aged pupils. The chapter culminates in offering practical advice and guidance for cultivating a compassionate school ethos and includes the recommendation of specific exercises and practices taken from CBI curricula.
... Therefore, it would make sense to hypothesize a role of these regions to explain the reported results. However, this brain network is also involved in individuals who practice mindfulness, which promotes self-awareness, awareness of emotional and enteroceptive states (e.g., Manuello, et al., 2016). These latter states suggest a diametrically opposite status to that reported in patients with a tendency to somatization. ...
Article
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a psychosomatic gastrointestinal disorder involving the dysfunctional activation of specific brain regions crucial for interoception and disgust processing. Yet, no study has ever investigated the link between this socio-affective/visceral experience and IBS. The present study investigated whether disgust sensitivity and disgust propensity, which can be socially relevant, relate with IBS symptoms in a non-clinical population. 105 healthy participants were asked to complete the Disgust Propensity and Sensitivity Scale-Revised (DPSS-R), the Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Quality of Life Measure (IBS-QOL), and the Chronic Urticaria Quality of Life Measure (CU-Q2OL), as a control disease. Results showed higher disgust sensitivity scores in individuals with high IBS-QOL score, compared to individuals with low IBS-QOL score. The correlation analysis corroborates this result by showing a positive relationship between disgust sensitivity and respective IBS-QOL scores. This research provides new insights into understanding the etiopathogenesis of IBS, suggesting the relevance of a socially relevant trait such as disgust sensitivity as a potential trigger and / or predisposition factor for this chronic inflammatory disease.
... Siegel (2018) calls it 'awareness of awareness'. It gives rise to capacities for mindfulness and the ability to observe our own minds in action (Manuello et al., 2016). Together these combined competencies give rise to knowing intentionality. ...
Chapter
There is growing evidence that the cultivation of compassion focused motives and emotions has profound effects on mental health and well-being. This chapter outlines the importance of embedding compassion in school and educational settings for pupils/students, those who teach them, and for the contextual organisation of education. Compassion-based initiatives (CBIs) guide staff and pupils to understand the nature of their own minds, and that of others. This is in particular respect to managing emotions and the adverse effects of the competitive nature of education, which can lead to mental health issues in pupils and teachers. This chapter explores theory and research as to the nature of compassion as both a personal and social process and reviews the utility of specifically developed compassionate initiatives for teachers, Higher Education students and school-aged pupils. The chapter culminates in offering practical advice and guidance for cultivating a compassionate school ethos and includes the recommendation of specific exercises and practices taken from CBI curricula.
... [19] Additional support for the role of PCC in meditation was demonstrated in Manuello et al., with the increased posterior cingulate gyrus connectivity with the default mode network in novices who practiced mindfulness or meditation and the decreased connectivity in expert practitioners. [20] Importantly, the stage of concentration or the optimal/ successful meditation as defined in Buddhist Anapanasati meditation depends on each individual's mindfulness, not the different brain functions in a wide range of ages. As well, meditation in Buddhism mainly relies on the state of mind during each session of meditation. ...
Article
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Anapanasati is a core meditation of a breath-centered practice in the Buddhist Theravada tradition, which may have some neurological mechanism effects on the brain. To gain insight into the neurological mechanisms involved in Anapanasati meditation, we measured the alterations of regional cerebral glucose metabolism during Anapanasati meditation using positron-emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) and electroencephalography (EEG) analysis. This prospective study was conducted in six right-handed volunteer participants (two men, four women; aged: 32–67 years) who underwent18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET/CT scans to compare the alterations of regional cerebral glucose metabolism during normal consciousness and Anapanasati meditation states. Spectral EEG analysis was performed throughout the investigations. Statistical parametric mapping was used for the18F-FDG PET/CT image analyses. The visual analysis demonstrated moderate-to-marked increased metabolism in posterior cingulate cortex in all six patients, while mild-to-moderate increased uptake in the whole frontal lobe was also observed in four patients and precuneus in four patients. Meanwhile, the semiquantitative analysis yielded an increase of regional cerebral glucose metabolism in the right mid-to-posterior cingulate gyrus (P < 0.000), with visible alpha waves on the frontal of the EEG findings. Our semiquantitative analysis showed a significantly increased metabolism only in the posterior cingulate cortex, but visually, there was also an increased metabolism in the whole frontal lobe in most of the patients correlating with EEG findings.
... Interestingly, the reported pattern is similar to the distribution of VENs in the brain. VENs are also involved in the mechanism of mindfulness which is a known method for stress reduction and mood improvement [36]. ...
Article
Depression is the second leading cause of disability in the world. Despite developing some efficacious treatments, many patients do not respond to the treatment well due to the complexity of depression and unknown mechanisms involved in its pathogenesis. It has been reported that patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) experience autonomic dysfunctions in different aspects. Evidence suggests that modulation of the autonomic nervous system may improve depression. Von economo neurons (VENs) are shown to be involved in the pathophysiology of some of the neurological and psychological diseases. VENs are also important for the “ego” formation, sense of empathy, intuition, and cognition. These neurons express a high level of adrenoreceptor alpha 1a, which confirms their role in the autonomic function. Here, based on some evidence, I propose the hypothesis that these neurons may play a role in depression, possibly through being involved in the autonomic function. More focused studies on VENs and their possible role in depression is suggested in future. This pathway may open a new window in the treatment of depression.
... There have been attempts to utilize the postulates of yoga to explain meditation (Awasthi 2013;Nash et al. 2013;Aravinda Prabhu and Bhat 2013;Baerentsen 2015;Raffone et al. 2019), which are not applied to the study of consciousness. Other studies have looked at meditation and consciousness (Raffone and Srinivasan 2010;Manuello et al. 2016) but were limited to Buddhist traditions and conceptions. Instead of taking the materialistic emergent approach to mind, consciousness and intelligence, sankhya takes a comprehensive approach to the description of the world. ...
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p>Yoga as a practice and philosophy of life has been followed for more than 4500 years with known evidence of Yogic practices in the Indus Valley Civilization. A plethora of scholars have contributed to the development of the field, but in last century the profound knowledge remained inaccessible and incomprehensible to the general public. Last few decades have seen a resurgence in the utility of Yoga and Meditation as a practice with growing scientific evidence behind it. Significant scientific literature has been published, illustrating the benefits of Yogic practices including asana, pranayama and dhyana on mental and physical well being. Electrophysiological and recent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies have found explicit neural signatures for Yogic practices. In this article, we present a review of the philosophy of Yoga, based on the dualistic Sankhya school, as applied to consciousness summarized by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras followed by discussion on the five vritti (modulations of mind), practice of pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, different states of samadhi, and samapatti. We introduce Yogic Theory of Mind and Consciousness (YTMC), a cohesive theory that can model both external modulations and internal states of the mind. We propose that attention, sleep and mind wandering should be understood as unique modulatory states of the mind. YTMC allows us to model the external states, internal states of meditation, samadhi and even the disorders of consciousness. Further, we list some testable neuroscientific hypotheses that could be answered using YTMC, analyse the benefits, outcomes and possible limitations.</p
... Mindfulness meditation has become widespread in the West. It is being practiced for stress relief and relaxation (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009), for enhancing cognitive abilities such as attention and memory (Levi & Rosenstreich, 2019;Prakash et al., 2020), and for exploring the fundamental workings of conscious experience (Manuello et al., 2016). Thus far, a considerable amount of research has investigated the application of mindfulness-based programs for the treatment of different psychological conditions (Eberth & Sedlmeier, 2012;Goldberg et al., 2018;Khoury et al., 2013). ...
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Objectives Research exploring how mindfulness is conceptualized and applied in Western psychotherapeutic settings is in its early stages. The current study examines the influence of psychotherapists’ personal practice of mindfulness meditation on their professional work. Methods Psychotherapists who identify as mindfulness teachers were interviewed about their motivation to practice mindfulness practice and how they apply it in both their personal lives and professional psychotherapeutic practice. Grounded theory was used to collect and analyze the data. Results The study's findings revealed themes relating to motivation, practices, and therapeutic application of mindfulness which differed among the therapists. Participants were motivated to practice mindfulness meditation based on a utilitarian approach or based on a wider approach, which comprised both a utilitarian and a more contemplative motivation to practice. Importantly, we found that how psychotherapists practiced mindfulness meditation, whether from a utilitarian or contemplative approach, was related to how they used and taught it in their psychotherapeutic practices. Conclusions The study's findings suggest a link between the personal and professional practice of mindfulness meditation by psychotherapists. Future research is needed to further investigate this link and to determine its impact on client outcomes.
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Neurobiology depicts the human brain as the organ of intellect. It has located in the brain the stations for cognition (e.g., sight and hearing) and for feelings and experience (e.g., pain, anger and face recognition). It has even sited in the brain the places involved in moral functions (e.g., judgement and lies). However, the locale of the self itself has escaped from it; so has the one assigned with ontological questions. The Quran invites its reader to seek knowledge and apply reason; however, it never introduces a term for the instrument of knowing, the brain . Instead, the intellectual roles are attributed to the heart and chest, a position that allows for a literal interpretation of these artefacts in the Book. The foundational objective of this work is to appraise this interpretation in the light of the lessons drawn from scientific studies. More than simply acknowledging the pre-knowledge of the Quran of some new scientific findings, this research seeks to re-appraise the meanings of the relevant Quranic ayahs in view of those findings. It reveals the literal significance of the terms ‘heart’ and ‘chest’ used in the Scripture but in a different context and also shows that Quranic depictions of neurobiological concepts are prescient. It finds the Quran furnishing a fuller picture of the intellect. It shows that a physical depiction of human intellect in the Quran is not only possible but indispensable. Importantly, this example yet again identifies the scope of the Quranic ayahs for fulfilling current multidisciplinary needs.
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Until the late eighteenth century, religions, particularly in the West, were defined by their sacred texts and dogmatic formulations. Friedrich Schleiermacher, in the late eighteenth century, was one of the first scholars that attempted to define “religion” by switching from a doctrinal emphasis to a more cognitive, visceral, or intuitive one. Schleiermacher defined religion as a “feeling of absolute dependence.” Since his day most attempts at a general definition of religion have relied heavily on emphasizing the intuitive, emotional, or visceral elements rather than the doctrinal ones. This shift has important implications for bringing a neuroscientific approach to the study of religion. However, this also results in a neuroscientific approach to both religious and non-religious spirituality and spiritual experiences. In fact, as the definitions have evolved, the distinction between spirituality and religiousness has become much more complicated.
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The insular cortex is implied in a great variety of cognitive functions and, for this reason, is probably one of the most studied brain regions in neuroscience. A consistent and increasing number of evidence are defining the role of the insula in meditation, which in recent years has become a hot topic of research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. In this chapter we intend to illustrate how the insula is involved in meditation. To this aim, we discuss the well-known and pivotal role of this brain region in attention, salience, and self-awareness, which are key cognitive processes for meditation practice. In virtue of these important functions, the insular cortex proves itself to be a key component of the neural correlates of meditation.
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In recent years, the control of physiological processes has been strengthened, which show metabolic changes that can generate effects at a neuronal level. Our objective is to review what has been described as conscious breathing theory and how this can affect cognitive tasks, which have been described as very affected in adults and which reduce with age. However, we have begun to understand a new phenomenon of andragogic learning, which indicates that the task of learning must be understood differently, and that attention is something that must be understood as something that does not decrease with age but changes. It also seems that conscious breathing tasks can improve this type of task and that it can be beneficial. What has been published suggests that breathing, or at least conscious breathing exercise, improves certain cellular and neuronal capacities and that this can lead to real changes in cognitive tasks in adults.
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Scholarship examining diverse relationships between place and human experience continues to be of great interest given that these interactions impact human development, functioning, and health. While many concepts have been developed to capture and quantify the impacts of place-based experiences in recent years, no concept has yet been proposed that outlines the potential experience of immersion in place. This meta-synthesis outlines such a notion through offering a multidisciplinary conceptualization of “place immersion” as a spatially-based neuropsychosocial phenomenon. Place immersion is organized into three domains that contribute to an experience of immersion in place: neuro-spatial (i.e., relevant embodied precognitive processes involved in analyzing and responses to the features of a place), psycho-spatial (i.e., relevant embodied conscious processes involved in analyzing and responses to the features of a place), and socio-spatial (i.e., the culturally-, linguistically-, and socially-mediated meanings that are enacted by an individual in a particular place). A composite definition of the concept is offered, and potential research contributions and opportunities for place immersion are also discussed.
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El presente ensayo pretende revisar las publicaciones asociadas a la tarea de atención en adultos en virtud del impacto de la respiración consiente. Las técnicas de respiración en los diferentes estilos de meditación han cobrado relevancia a la hora de evaluar el proceso de enseñanza aprendizaje en niños, principalmente en algunas funciones superiores cognitivas como lo es el control inhibitorio. En adultos, hay información difusa no sistematizada de cómo podrían impactar estas prácticas en el proceso de enseñanza aprendizaje, considerando que los adultos presentan supresión de la neurogénesis y la neuroprotección, lo que conduce a alteraciones patológicas en el estado de ánimo, la atención, memoria y aprendizaje, según lo descrito por Innes y Selfe (2014). La evidencia determina que es factible generar una intervención para la mejora del ambiente de aprendizaje, basado en el impacto que produce en los procesos atencionales. Este impacto podría determinar la adecuación de políticas públicas o intervenciones de instituciones públicas o privadas, con el fin de potenciar el aprendizaje en adultos y limitar el deterioro cognitivo de estos, a través del estímulo de sus funciones cognitivas que produce la respiración consiente.
The English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ levels of attention and meditation as well as brainwaves while interacting with an interlocutor in three different second-language (L2) socialization contexts—with another human in person, with another person through a virtual platform, and with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot—were explored in this study. Thirty participants participated in an experiment, throughout which they were asked to wear a NeuroSky Mindwave headset to assess their real-time levels of attention and meditation, as well as their brainwave activities in each of the three contexts. Statistical analyses of the results revealed a significant effect of the EFL socialization context on participants’ level of attention and meditation. The EFL learners’ level of attention was highest when they were socializing with other humans in person. When their interlocutor was a chatbot, their level of meditation was highest. When they were interacting with another person in a virtual environment, both their attention and meditation were lowest. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed a significant main effect of the dominant ratios of participants’ brainwave activities, based on their interactions with interlocutors in all three contexts. The AI chatbot was associated with the greatest dominant ratio of delta and theta brainwaves for EFL learners. Face-to-face L2 socialization with interlocutors triggered alpha and beta brainwaves, whereas interaction with human interlocutors in the virtual environment made gamma brainwaves dominant. The present study is the first to have empirically examined EFL learners’ levels of attention and meditation as well as brainwaves during L2 socialization in three different contexts.
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Objectives Cognitive decoupling (the ability to distinguish supposition from belief and run thought experiments) is considered one of the key mechanisms in mindfulness, cognitive reflection and reasoning. Therefore, the present study examined whether a brief mindfulness exercise that explicitly encourages cognitive decoupling can increase cognitive reflection and reasoning. Methods A total of 156 first- and second-year undergraduate students were randomly allocated to either a mindfulness or control condition, before listening to a 15-min audio recording. The mindfulness audio was a recording of the leaves on a stream exercise that focussed on how to dissociate from thoughts (decentring), whereas the control audio was a recording of a book prologue. Cognitive reflection and reasoning were measured through the expanded cognitive reflection test and a syllogistic reasoning test, both of which encourage an incorrect automatic response rather than a correct rational response. The five-facet mindfulness questionnaire-short form and the rational-experiential inventory were also administered as trait measures of mindfulness and thinking style (intuitive or rational), respectively. Results The results showed no significant difference between the mindfulness and control conditions on either of the cognitive tests. However, there was a significant positive correlation between trait mindfulness and trait rationality (r = 0.56). Further analyses showed that the mindfulness subscales of observing, describing, detaching, and acting mindfully were all significant predictors of trait rationality. Conclusions Trait mindfulness and trait rationality are moderately associated, although more research is required to determine whether mindfulness training can increase cognitive reflection and reasoning.
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Arterial hypertension is a major public health issue. Non-pharmacological approaches like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) might be a promising addition to conventional therapy. This systematic review and meta-analysis aim to evaluate the effects of MBSR on systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) among individuals with prehypertension or hypertension. We searched Medline/PubMed, Scopus and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from their inception until August 1st 2021. RCTs were included that compared MBSR to any control intervention in participants with diagnosed prehypertension (120-139/80-89 mmHg) or hypertension (≥140/≥90 mmHg). Mean differences (MD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Risk of Bias was assessed using the Cochrane tool. Seven RCTs with 429 participants were included. Very low quality of evidence was found for positive effects of MBSR on SBP (MD = -11.26 mmHg, 95%CI = -20.24 to -2.29, p = 0.01) but no evidence for effects on DBP levels (MD = -3.62 mmHg, 95%CI = -8.52 to 1.29, p = 0.15) compared to waitlist control. Compared to active control, very low quality of evidence was found for positive effects on DBP (MD = -5.51 mmHg, 95%CI = -10.93 to -0.09, p = 0.05) but no effects on SBP levels (MD = -4.33 mmHg, 95%CI = -12.04 to 3.38, p = 0.27). Overall, the studies showed a high degree of heterogeneity. The effects found were robust against selection, detection, and attrition bias. Only one RCT reported safety data. MBSR may be an option for lowering blood pressure in people with prehypertension to hypertension. More and larger high-quality studies are needed to substantiate our findings.
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This chapter reviews current perspectives on the neural basis of subjective experience. Its primary focus is on the interaction between two broad dimensions of experience: subjective contents (e.g., the conscious experience of seeing a red ball or feeling a sharp pain) and the global brain states that modulate the representation of those contents and how they evolve over time (e.g., moods, dreaming, and vigilance). The neural basis of these two aspects of experience will be discussed across multiple levels of description, including large-scale network, neurocomputational, and cellular-level perspectives. When integrated, these perspectives highlight the way that small-scale neuronal circuits may be interconnected so as to implement a hierarchical computational system for inferring the probability that various states of the world (including the body), at various levels of description, have caused the sensory input that has been received. Emotional experience is used to provide an in-depth example of the complex interactions within this type of system that are necessary to account for this phenomenon. The chapter next turns to the role of global brain states in modulating the contents of experience – including mood, sleep/dreaming, and other altered states of consciousness. Global brain states are linked to the broad influence of neuromodulators and the way they can alter neurocomputational inference processes by either amplifying or attenuating the relative influence of prior expectations and sensory input on experience. Different global brain states are then associated with different patterns of modulatory influence on neuronal populations encoding different types of prior expectations at different levels of hierarchical processing. This chapter also briefly considers the potential clinical relevance of understanding the neural basis of what contents do and do not become consciously accessible, and the vulnerabilities of such a system for transitioning into maladaptive states. This chapter ends by highlighting the nascent state of the field of consciousness research and the importance of an interdisciplinary, multilevel approach to understanding this important topic.
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Objective: to develop an integrative learning program for people with dementia. Method: a methodological study was conducted using Delphi technique to develop the learning program, followed by a feasibility test. An expert panel was invited to develop the integrative learning program based on the neuroplasticity and learning framework. A feasibility test was conducted to evaluate the implementation of the program in two centers after the training of personnel who run the program. Verbatim transcripts of case conferences were coded, analyzed, and collapsed into themes and sub-themes by consensus. Results: there was no indication for content modification during the period of program implementation. Qualitatively, the participating older adults showed improvement in communications, emotions, connectedness with self and others, and well-being. Conclusion: the integrative learning program was uneventfully implemented with promising results. The program is ready for full-scale research on its efficacy in multiple centers to obtain more robust evidence.
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Multivariate pattern recognition approaches have become a prominent tool in neuroimaging data analysis. These methods enable the classification of groups of participants (e.g. controls and patients) on the basis of subtly different patterns across the whole brain. This study demonstrates that these methods can be used, in combination with automated morphometric analysis of structural MRI, to determine with great accuracy whether a single subject has been engaged in regular mental training or not. The proposed approach allowed us to identify with 94.87% accuracy (p<0.001) if a given participant is a regular meditator (from a sample of 19 regular meditators and 20 non-meditators). Neuroimaging has been a relevant tool for diagnosing neurological and psychiatric impairments. This study may suggest a novel step forward: the emergence of a new field in brain imaging applications, in which participants could be identified based on their mental experience.
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This chapter explains the concept of effort on the basis of evidence from experimental and cognitive psychology, demonstrates how it has been used in conducting studies of brain activity, and goes on to examine the individual differences that play a role in determining the efficiency of brain networks associated with effortful control. It also reviews certain educational training methods; those when used among children can change these networks, along with conditional changes developed in adults through meditation training. The findings reveal that meditation helps in producing better attentional performance and the subjective condition related to effort. The chapter also investigates how these training methods play a role in determining the concept of flow.
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Much information has been acquired on the anatomy and function of the insula over the past two decades. The insula has a dynamic cytoarchitectonic arrangement throughout its length. The anterior insula is comprised of an agranular allocortical area which functionally is part of the paralimbic belt. Its cortical connections are predominantly with other allocortical areas. Sub cortical, limbic, and brain stem connections underscore the anterior insula s role in processing and integrating autonomic and visceral information. The posterior insula is comprised of a granular isocortical area which functionally is linked to somatomotor systems. Its cortical connections are predominantly with other neocortical areas. Insular cortical and sub cortical connections, especially with the thalamus and basal ganglia, underscore the posteriorinsula s role in somatosensory, vestibular, and motor integration. The dysgranular insula lying in between the anterior and posterior insula represents an anatomical and functional transition between these regions. The predominant flow of intra insular projections from anterior to more posterior regions suggests that the posterior insula also serves as an integrative heteromodal association area for information received by all five senses. The insula plays a role in cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, vestibular, olfactory, gustatory, visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor modulation. It is also felt to play a role in conditioned aversive learning, a ective and motivational components of pain perception, stress induced immunosuppression, mood stability, sleep, and language. Clinical correlation of damage to the insula, and the resultant impairment of the above functions is discussed.
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To investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapy (MT) and social support (SS) in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. We performed an assessor-blinded randomized control trial. Sixty patients with drug-resistant epilepsy were randomly allocated to MT or SS (30 per group). Each group received 4 biweekly intervention sessions. The primary outcome was the change in the total score of the Patient-Weighted Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory (QOLIE-31-P). Secondary outcomes included seizure frequency, mood symptoms, and neurocognitive functions. The assessors were blinded to the patient's intervention grouping. Results were analyzed using general linear model with repeated measure. Following intervention, both the MT (n = 30) and SS (n = 30) groups had an improved total QOLIE-31-P, with an improvement of +6.23 for MT (95% confidence interval [CI] +4.22 to +10.40) and +3.30 for SS (95% CI +1.03 to +5.58). Significantly more patients in the MT group had a clinically important improvement in QOLIE-31-P (+11.8 or above) compared to those who received SS (11 patients vs 4 patients). Significantly greater reduction in depressive and anxiety symptoms, seizure frequency, and improvement in delayed memory was observed in the MT group compared with the SS group. We found benefits of short-term psychotherapy on patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. Mindfulness therapy was associated with greater benefits than SS alone in quality of life, mood, seizure frequency, and verbal memory. This study provides Class II evidence that mindfulness-based therapy significantly improves quality of life in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. © 2015 American Academy of Neurology.
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Meditation can be defined as a form of mental training that aims to improve an individual's core psychological capacities, such as attentional and emotional self-regulation. Meditation encompasses a family of complex practices that include mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, yoga, tai chi and chi gong 1. Of these practices , mindfulness meditation — often described as non-judgemental attention to present-moment experiences (BOX 1) — has received most attention in neuroscience research over the past two decades 2–8. Although meditation research is in its infancy, a number of studies have investigated changes in brain activation (at rest and during specific tasks) that are associated with the practice of, or that follow, training in mindfulness meditation. These studies have reported changes in multiple aspects of mental function in beginner and advanced meditators, healthy individuals and patient populations 9–14. In this Review, we consider the current state of research on mindfulness meditation. We discuss the methodological challenges that the field faces and point to several shortcomings in existing studies. Taking into account some important theoretical considerations, we then discuss behavioural and neuroscientific findings in light of what we think are the core components of meditation practice: attention control, emotion regulation and self-awareness (BOX 1). Within this framework, we describe research that has revealed changes in behaviour, brain activity and brain structure following mindfulness meditation training. We discuss what has been learned so far from this research and suggest new research strategies for the field. We focus here on mindfulness meditation practices and have excluded studies on other types of meditation. However, it is important to note that other styles of meditation may operate via distinct neural mechanisms
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Objective: Depression affects about 16% of the U.S. population over a lifetime. People with chronic diseases have especially high rates of comorbid depression; 32% to 48% of people with epilepsy experience depression. This study evaluated the efficacy of a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy intervention for preventing major depressive disorder (MDD) episodes in people with epilepsy. Method: Participants (n = 128) were adults from Georgia, Michigan, Texas, and Washington with epilepsy and mild/moderate depressive symptoms. The 8-session weekly Project UPLIFT intervention, based on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, was group-delivered via Web or telephone. Using a randomized, controlled crossover design, participants were assigned to Project UPLIFT or a treatment-as-usual (TAU) waitlist and assessed at baseline, and after intervening in the intervention group (∼10 weeks) and in the TAU group (∼20 weeks). Assessments included valid self-report measures of depression and MDD, knowledge/skills, and satisfaction with life. Results: The incidence of MDD episodes (new or relapse) from baseline to interim assessment was significantly lower in the intervention condition (0.0%) than in TAU (10.7%). Depressive symptoms decreased significantly more in the intervention condition than in TAU; Web and telephone did not differ. Change in knowledge/skills mediated the effect, which persisted over the 10 weeks of follow-up. Knowledge/skills and life satisfaction increased significantly more in the intervention condition than in TAU. Conclusions: Distance delivery of group mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can prevent episodes of MDD, reduce symptoms of depression, and increase life satisfaction in people with epilepsy. This intervention is easily modified for persons with other chronic diseases and other disparity populations. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and other "mindfulness"-based techniques have rapidly gained a significant presence within contemporary society. Clearly these techniques, which derive or are claimed to derive from Buddhist meditational practices, meet genuine human needs. However, questions are increasingly raised regarding what these techniques meant in their original context(s), how they have been transformed in relation to their new Western and global field of activity, what might have been lost (or gained) on the way, and how the entire contemporary mindfulness phenomenon might be understood. The article points out that first-generation mindfulness practices, such as MBSR and MBCT, derive from modernist versions of Buddhism, and omit or minimize key aspects of the Buddhist tradition, including the central Buddhist philosophical emphasis on the deconstruction of the self. Nonself (or no self) fits poorly into the contemporary therapeutic context, but is at the core of the Buddhist enterprise from which contemporary "mindfulness" has been abstracted. Instead of focussing narrowly on the practical efficacy of the first generation of mindfulness techniques, we might see them as an invitation to explore the much wider range of practices available in the traditions from which they originate. Rather, too, than simplifying and reducing these practices to fit current Western conceptions of knowledge, we might seek to incorporate more of their philosophical basis into our Western adaptations. This might lead to a genuine and productive expansion of both scientific knowledge and therapeutic possibilities. © The Author(s) 2014 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.
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Recent studies have been shown that functional connectivity of cerebral areas is not a static phenomenon, but exhibits spontaneous fluctuations over time. There is evidence that fluctuating connectivity is an intrinsic phenomenon of brain dynamics that persists during anesthesia. Lately, point process analysis applied on functional data has revealed that much of the information regarding brain connectivity is contained in a fraction of critical time points of a resting state dataset. In the present study we want to extend this methodology for the investigation of resting state fMRI spatial pattern changes during propofol-induced modulation of consciousness, with the aim of extracting new insights on brain networks consciousness-dependent fluctuations. Methods: Resting-state fMRI volumes on 18 healthy subjects were acquired in four clinical states during propofol injection: wakefulness, sedation, unconsciousness, and recovery. The dataset was reduced to a spatio-temporal point process by selecting time points in the Posterior Cingulate Cortex (PCC) at which the signal is higher than a given threshold (i.e., BOLD intensity above 1 standard deviation). Spatial clustering on the PCC time frames extracted was then performed (number of clusters = 8), to obtain 8 different PCC co-activation patterns (CAPs) for each level of consciousness. Results: The current analysis shows that the core of the PCC-CAPs throughout consciousness modulation seems to be preserved. Nonetheless, this methodology enables to differentiate region-specific propofol-induced reductions in PCC-CAPs, some of them already present in the functional connectivity literature (e. g., disconnections of the prefrontal cortex, thalamus, auditory cortex), some others new (e. g., reduced co-activation in motor cortex and visual area). Conclusion: In conclusion, our results indicate that the employed methodology can help in improving and refining the characterization of local functional changes in the brain associated to propofol-induced modulation of consciousness.
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Mindfulness has been described as an inherent human capability that can be learned and trained, and its improvement has been associated to better health outcomes in medicine and psychology. The role of practice is central to most mindfulness programs, however practice-related increase in mindfulness skills is not consistently reported and little is known about how the characteristics of meditative practice affects different components of mindfulness. The present study aims to explore the role of practice parameters on self-reported mindfulness skills. A total of 670 voluntary participants with and without previous meditation experience (n=384 and n=286, respectively) responded to an internet-based survey addressing different aspects of their meditative practice (type of meditation, length of session, frequency, and lifetime practice), the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), and the Experiences Questionnaire (EQ). The group with previous meditation experience obtained significantly higher scores in all facets of FFMQ and EQ questionnaires compared to the group without experience. However different effect sizes were observed, which were high for Observing and Non-Reactivity facets in FFMQ, moderate for Decentering in EQ, and low for Non-judging, Describing, and Acting with awareness in FFMQ. Our results indicate that not all variables of practice have equal relevance on mindfulness skills. Frequency and lifetime practice – but not length per session or type of meditation – were associated with higher mindfulness skills. Given that the 6 mindfulness aspects have different sensitivity to practice, a composite index (MINDSENS) was created to include those items from FFMQ and EQ that were more related to practice. MINDSENS correctly discriminated 82.3% of meditators from non-meditators. These findings may contribute to the understanding of the development of mindfulness skills and support trainers and researchers in improving mindfulness-oriented training and programs.
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Meditation practice can lead to what have been referred to as 'altered states of consciousness'. One of the phenomenological characteristics of these states is a joint alteration in the sense of time, space and body. Here, we set out to study the unique experiences of alteration in the sense of time and space by collaborating with a select group of 12 long-term Mindfulness meditation practitioners in a neurophenomenological setup, utilizing first-person data to guide the neural analyses. We hypothesized that the underlying neural activity accompanying alterations in the sense of time and space would be related to alterations in bodily processing. The participants were asked to volitionally bring about distinct states of 'Timelessness' (outside time) and 'Spacelessness' (outside space) while their brain activity was recorded by MEG. In order to rule out the involvement of attention, memory or imagination, we used control states of 'Then' (past) and 'There' (another place). MEG sensors evidencing alterations in power values were identified, and the brain regions underlying these changes were estimated via spatial filtering (beamforming). Particularly, we searched for similar neural activity hypothesized to underlie both the state of 'Timelessness' and 'Spacelessness'. The results were mostly confined to the theta band, and showed that: 1) the 'Then' / 'There' overlap yielded activity in regions related to autobiographic memory and imagery (right posterior parietal lobule, right precentral / middle frontal gyrus, bilateral precuneus); 2) 'Timelessness' / 'Spacelessness' conditions overlapped in a different network, related to alterations in the sense of the body (posterior cingulate, right temporoparietal junction, cerebellum); and 3) phenomenologically-guided neural analyses enabled us to dissociate different levels of alterations in the sense of the body. This study illustrates the utility of employing experienced contemplative practitioners within a neurophenomen
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During functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of meditation the cortical salience detecting and executive networks become active during "awareness of mind wandering," "shifting," and "sustained attention." The anterior cingulate (AC) is activated during "awareness of mind wandering." The AC modulates both the peripheral sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the central locus coeruleus (LC) norepinephrine systems, which form the principal neuromodulatory system, regulating in multiple ways both neuronal and non-neuronal cells to maximize adaptation in changing environments. The LC is the primary source of central norepinephrine (C-NE) and nearly the exclusive source of cortical norepinephrine. Normally activated by novel or salient stimuli, the AC initially inhibits the SNS reflexively, lowering peripheral norepinephrine and activates the LC, increasing C-NE. Moderate levels of C-NE enhance working memory through alpha 2 adrenergic receptors, while higher levels of C-NE, acting on alpha 1 and beta receptors, enhance other executive network functions such as the stopping of ongoing behavior, attentional set-shifting, and sustained attention. The actions of the AC on both the central and peripheral noradrenergic systems are implicated in the beneficial effects of meditation. This paper will explore some of the known functions and interrelationships of the AC, SNS, and LC with respect to their possible relevance to meditation.
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In the past decade, neuroimaging research has begun to identify key brain regions involved in self-referential processing, most consistently midline structures such as the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). The majority of studies have employed cognitive tasks such as judgment about trait adjectives or mind wandering, that have been associated with increased PCC activity. Conversely, tasks that share an element of present-centered attention (being "on task"), ranging from working memory to meditation, have been associated with decreased PCC activity. Given the complexity of cognitive processes that likely contribute to these tasks, the specific contribution of the PCC to self-related processes still remains unknown. Building on this prior literature, recent studies have employed sampling methods that more precisely link subjective experience to brain activity, such as real-time fMRI neurofeedback. This recent work suggests that PCC activity may represent a sub-component cognitive process of self-reference - "getting caught up in" one's experience. For example, getting caught up in a drug craving or a particular viewpoint. In this paper, we will review evidence across a number of different domains of cognitive neuroscience that converges in activation and deactivation of the PCC including recent neurophenomenological studies of PCC activity using real-time fMRI neurofeedback.
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