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Mindful attention to breath regulates emotions via increased amygdala-prefrontal cortex connectivity

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Abstract

Mindfulness practice is beneficial for emotion regulation; however, the neural mechanisms underlying this effect are poorly understood. The current study focuses on effects of attention-to-breath (ATB) as a basic mindfulness practice on aversive emotions at behavioral and brain levels. A key finding across different emotion regulation-strategies is the modulation of amygdala and prefrontal activity. It is unclear how ATB relevant brain areas in the prefrontal cortex integrate with amygdala activation during emotional stimulation. We proposed that, during emotional stimulation, ATB down-regulates activation in the amygdala and increases its integration with prefrontal regions. To address this hypothesis, 26 healthy controls were trained in mindfulness-based attention-to-breath meditation for two weeks and then stimulated with aversive pictures during both attention-to-breath and passive viewing while undergoing fMRI. Data were controlled for breathing frequency. Results indicate that (1) ATB was effective in regulating aversive emotions. (2) Left dorso-medial prefrontal cortex was associated with ATB in general. (3) A fronto-parietal network was additionally recruited during emotional stimulation. (4) ATB down regulated amygdala activation and increased amygdala-prefrontal integration, with such increased integration being associated with mindfulness ability. Results suggest amygdala-dorsal prefrontal cortex integration as a potential neural pathway of emotion regulation by mindfulness practice.

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... The main characteristics of the 20 reviewed studies are presented in supplemental Table 3. All studies were conducted using quantitative methods, 15 included EEG measures (Andreu et al., 2017(Andreu et al., , 2019Bing-Canar et al., 2016;Eichel & Stahl, 2020;Incagli et al., 2020;Kakumanu et al., 2019;Lakey et al., 2011;Larson et al., 2013;Lin et al., 2019;Moore et al., 2012;Payne et al., 2020;Pozuelos et al., 2019;Saunders et al., 2016), while 5 papers involved fMRI technique (Doll et al., 2016;Haase et al., 2015Haase et al., , 2016Lebares et al., 2019;Lee et al., 2012). Andreu et al. (2017Andreu et al. ( , 2019 presented identical sample size and design in two articles. ...
... On the other hand, novices showed stronger right inferior frontal gyrus activity during meditation compared to baseline. Doll et al. (2016) evaluated the link between attention-to-breath mindfulness practice and emotion regulation using visual-emotional stimulation. Analyses focusing on the amygdala's integration with prefrontal cortices during meditation revealed increased emotion-related functional connectivity between the right amygdala and left prefrontal and cingulate areas. ...
... The authors speculated that mindfulness may improve attentional resource allocation during stressful experiences leading to a better attentional control and increased coping abilities. On the other hand, in the Doll et al.'s (2016) study a significantly shorter focused attention mindfulness training showed two possible components of the regulatory activation of mindfulness practice during emotional stimulation: (1) extended network of lateral and medial parietal, superior temporal and medial, and ACC; (2) a prefrontal-temporal network centred in the superior and middle frontal gyrus, highly involved in attentional and cognitive control. ...
The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on performance have recently been investigated, with several studies assessing changes in brain activity. The aim of the current systematic review was to identify the neural correlates of mindfulness practice that enhance performance. We completed searches on Scopus, PubMed, EBSCO, and Web of Science in February 2020. Peer-reviewed studies that implemented mindfulness-based interventions or compared groups of mindfulness meditators with non-practitioners and measured the neural activity underpinning performance were eligible. The quality of the studies and evidence was assessed with the Cochrane risk of bias tool and the GRADE system. Of the 1836 records identified, 20 published articles (925 participants) were found, including 8 experimental, 5 quasi-experimental, and 7 cross-sectional studies. None of the studies were rated as having a low risk of bias. The quality of evidence was graded to be low and very low. The main finding that emerged was the potential enhancing effect of mindfulness practice on performance monitoring abilities, which are highly important to detect and adjust to errors. Overall findings did not provide a robust evidence for neural correlates of mindfulness practice aimed to enhance performance, highlighting the need for future research. This study is registered on PROSPERO, number CRD42020185471.
... Focusing on good breathing makes sense too: "Attention to breath-meditation" has positive impacts on regulating aversive emotions, by down-regulating activation of amygdala (Doll et al., 2016). ...
... This is helpful for success in learning, for career, satisfying business and private life, and above all, for physical and mental health. 11 ...
Conference Paper
Stressful events are very common in private and professional life, and above all, in schools. All in all it is essential for the whole life: In the brain the parts of Cognition are strongly influenced by the parts of Emotion. Stress not only leads to physical consequences, but also causes poorer performance in professional life and learning at school. Stress may also lead to rigid memories and the retrieval of habits rather than creative and complex solutions. Dangerous is also a possible weakening of the trust in self with the consequence of „Learned Helplessness“. Therefore: Anxiety and stress must be reduced. But it is also necessary to learn to cope with stress. For Stress Management is a combination of some of the following measures recommended: Instrumental management of stress, Mental management of stress and Regenerative management of stress.
... ATB is a simple exercise in mindfulness meditation where the practitioner focuses on taking slow deep breaths. Research has shown that ATB can help practitioners stabilize and regulate their emotions [24,30,111]. ...
... It can be difficult to get into the right mindset during an intense emotional experience, where a person can initiate cognitive reappraisal. The breathing exercise in mindfulness meditation has the potential to help people get into a state of mind for cognitive reappraisal [13,24,29]. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the founders of secular mindfulness meditation, paying attention to the present moment non-judgmentally can be practiced through paying attention to the act of breathing [54][55][56]. ...
Conference Paper
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The cognitive complexities of emotions and individualized coping strategies make it a difficult space for design. Collecting first-person data can provide nuanced understanding of the lived experience of emotional life, to better inform the design of wearable technologies for emotional self-regulation. We present a preliminary study of our first-person phenomenological approach to autobiographical design. The methodology is unique for the intertwining of emotional activities and mindfulness exercises, as a strategy for controlling emotional repercussions. Self-observation and documentation included journaling and sketching using the Inside-Out Probe workbook, followed by material prototyping and testing in-the-wild. The Breathing Scarf prototype embodies the design considerations. In designing for one to support personalized self-regulation strategies, key considerations include designing for personal comfort, ownership, and individual-over-social meaning-making. Of equal importance in the design research process are the well-being of the designer/researcher, the ability to self-regulate emotions, and the ethics of care and emotion work.
... Given the strong connection between respiration and emotion (Bordoni, Marelli, & Bordoni, 2016;Homma & Masaoka, 2008;Masaoka, Izumizaki, & Homma, 2014;Mather & Thayer, 2018;Sakaki et al., 2016), and the role of slow, diaphragmatic breathing in regulating stress and negative affect (Arch & Craske, 2006;Doll et al., 2016;Harris, Katkin, Lick, & Habberfield, 1976;Oneda, Ortega, Gusmão, Araújo, & Mion, 2010), improving cardiovascular function in hypertension (Joseph, et al., 2005;Zou et al., 2017), and reducing sympathoexitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Raupach et al., 2008), respiratory interoception has direct translational relevance to mood and stress-linked mental and somatic disorders. ...
... Brief interventions that employ attention to breathing are known to transiently decrease subjective states of distress in both clinical and healthy populations (Brown, Gerbarg, & Muench, 2013;Johnson, et al., 2015;Ng, et al., 2016). In an fMRI paradigm, attention to breathing also downregulates amygdala responses and increases prefrontal activity during emotional picture viewing (Doll, et al., 2016), which suggests a potential brain mechanism through which mindfulness practices may support emotion regulation. Activation of lateral prefrontal regions are also observed in fMRI studies of focused-meditation (Brefczynski-Lewis, Lutz, Schaefer, Levinson, & Davidson, 2007;Tomasino & Fabbro, 2016). ...
Thesis
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Interoception concerns the afferent vagal and spinothalamic lamina I systems, and their projection to regions of the brain comprising the central autonomic network (CAN). At the level of the cortex, the CAN includes regions such as the insula, medial prefrontal and cingulate cortices, which interact with subcortical and brainstem networks to regulate autonomic, neuroendocrine, immune, and other visceral functions of the body. Interoception is an important concept linking ‘primitive’ homeostatic functions of the brain to its ‘high-order’ cognitive functions. This view is supported by an increasing body of experimental evidence indicating the relevance of interoceptive neural systems to motivational drives, mood, emotion, self-awareness, body-ownership, somatic disorders and psychopathology. However, constructs, paradigms and other methodology for investigating neural interoception in humans require additional development and validation. Additionally, neural interoceptive processing in psychopathology has not been thoroughly characterized, hence limiting the translational relevance of findings from this field. Given the emerging role of interoception in many psychological functions, a key question would be whether we could access and modulate neural interoceptive systems in humans. Hence, the first aim of this thesis was to investigate whether interoceptive neural processing can be modulated through non-invasive stimulation of the cortex or through peripheral nerve stimulation. To accomplish these aims, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) were used to modulate heart-brain interactions. A second aim of this thesis was to determine whether traumatic stress exposure in female psychiatric patients alters the degree to which neural interoceptive systems are engaged when asked to attend to somatic and visceral feelings during mindful breathing. **STUDY 1** is a randomized, sham-controlled investigation to determine whether tVNS affects cardiovagal responses and neurocardiac integration in interoceptive cortices. The ability of tVNS to evoke cardiovagal responses was mixed. tVNS was found to increase baroreceptor sensitivity, but not heart rate variability, whereas both sham and tVNS elicited reductions in heart rate. At the level of the brain, tVNS increased electroencephalographic (EEG) functional connectivity between regions of the CAN. In particular, stronger functional connectivity was obtained for the right somatosensory and anterior insula in the beta frequency band. The effect of tVNS on an evoked potential reflecting neural cardiac interoceptive processing (the heart-evoked potential or ‘HEP’) was also assessed. At the sensor-levels, tVNS was associated with greater HEP negativity in left-lateralized frontal, temporal, parietal and central electrodes. Source localized functional connectivity between regions where HEPs have been observed intracranially revealed patterns of greater and lesser connectivity in several frequency bands. Insula-prefrontal connectivity features correlated with heart rate during tVNS. Altogether, the results indicate that tVNS modulates neural systems relevant to cardiac interoceptive processing, which may be relevant to the mechanisms of action by which tVNS improves cardiovascular autonomic function in somatic and psychiatric conditions. **STUDY 2** applied transcranial magnetic stimulation to the right frontotemporal cortex to test whether modulating cortical excitability within regions putatively accessing the CAN alters cardiovascular autonomic responses. Intermittent theta-burst stimulation increased vagally mediated heart rate variability, but this effect appears to have been confounded by stimulation induced state anxiety. However, continuous theta-burst stimulation increased pulse-transit time latency, an effect that was not explained by stimulation-induced anxiety. This study supports the use of TMS for modulating ‘top-down’ neurocardiac integration, and discusses approaches for optimizing TMS for investigating neural interoceptive and visceromotor processing, and its translational relevance. **STUDY 3** investigated the functional MRI correlates of respiratory interoception in women in residential treatment for stimulant dependence (SUD) who have varying histories of physical, psychological and/or sexual trauma. A subset of patients had a concurrent diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Reduced functional connectivity of an interoception-linked network was found in women with SUD-PTSD comorbidity. Specifically, an orbitofrontal network showed diminished strength of correlation with the insular, somatosensory and cognitive control regions during a mindfulness-based breathing task. Additionally, orbitofrontal network strength was negatively associated with sexual violence exposure beyond the contribution of PTSD diagnosis alone. This study contributes to scientific understanding concerning interoceptive dysfunction in psychopathology and potential mechanisms through which psychobehavioral techniques such as mindfulness may improve mental health. OVERALL, these results of this dissertation support the utility of non-invasive cortical or peripheral nerve stimulation in accessing and modulating neural interoceptive systems related to cardiovascular autonomic regulation. The results also support the utility of using certain psychobehavioral techniques, such as mindfulness, to engage interoceptive brain systems, and they highlight how different psychopathological conditions may respond differently to treatment modalities involving interoceptive manipulations. Altogether, this work enhances basic understanding of brain-body interactions, and advances the translational value that can be derived from interoceptive theoretical frameworks.
... While the majority of studies to date have focused on changes in connectivity within and between the DMN, SN, and CEN networks, some research indicates that mindfulness training and practice induce connectivity changes in other networks. For example, at least three studies have found that mindfulness training (Doll et al. 2016;Hölzel et al. 2013) or dispositional mindfulness (Modinos et al. 2010) were related to increased functional connectivity between the PFC and the amygdala. These findings are generally interpreted as an increase in emotion regulation via prefrontal control of the amygdala, an interpretation that is consistent with studies finding reduced amygdala reactivity with mindfulness training (Farb et al. 2007). ...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Healthcare provider and trainee burnout results in substantial national and institutional costs and profound social effects, and identifying effective solutions and interventions to cultivate resilience among healthcare trainees is critical. While less is known about the mental health needs of physician assistants or physician assistant (PA) students, accumulating research indicates that they experience similarly alarming rates of burnout, depression, and emotional exhaustion. Mobile app-delivered mindfulness meditation may be an effective part of salubrious programming to bolster long-term resilience and health among PA students. OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of app-delivered mindfulness meditation on self-reported mental health symptoms among physician assistant students. A secondary aim was to interrogate changes in brain connectivity to identify neurobiological changes related to changes in mental health symptoms. METHODS We recruited PA students enrolled in their third semester of PA school, and used a longitudinal and randomized, wait-list controlled design. Participants randomized to the mindfulness group were provided 1-year subscriptions to the 10% Happier app, a consumer-based meditation app, and asked to practice every day for 8 weeks. Prior to randomization and again after completion of the 8-week program, all participants completed resting state fMRI as well as self-report assessments of burnout, depression, anxiety, and sleep impairment. App usage was acquired as a measure of mindfulness practice time. RESULTS PA students randomized to the mindfulness group reported improvements in sleep impairment compared to those randomized to the wait-list control group (P = 0.012, partial eta-squared = 0.42). Sleep impairment decreased significantly in the mindfulness group (19% reduction, P = .006), but not in the control group (1% reduction, P = .710). There were no other significant changes in mental health for those randomized to app-delivered mindfulness. Across all students, changes in sleep impairment were associated with increased resting state functional connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex (a component of the default mode network) and the superior temporal gyrus, as well as between areas important for working memory. Changes in connectivity predicted categorical conversion from sleep impaired to non-impaired in the mindfulness group. CONCLUSIONS This pilot study is the first to examine app-based mindfulness for PA student mental health and the first to examine the impact of mindfulness on PA student brain function. These findings suggest that app-delivered mindfulness may be an effective tool to improve sleep dysfunction and that it may be an important part of the programming necessary to reduce the epidemic of suffering among health profession trainees. CLINICALTRIAL NCT03452670
... It is widely believed that the way in which mindfulness affects the brain to bring about emotional regulation is related to the strengthening of control mechanisms that depend on the prefrontal cortex and its control of structures associated with emotional reactivity, such as the amygdala . In this regard, there are consistent reports that mindfulness practice is associated with increased amygdala-prefrontal connectivity in the presence of visual emotional stimuli (Doll et al., 2016;Hölzel et al., 2013) and lower emotional arousal. Therefore, mindfulness could reduce the interference of relevant emotional stimuli with the correct execution of an inhibitory control task. ...
Article
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Objectives Violent and criminal behaviors have increased in recent years in many countries, with the younger population constituting one of the main actors involved in this phenomenon. It has been hypothesized that alterations in inhibitory control play a crucial role in the appearance and persistence of such behaviors. Mindfulness meditation promotes detailed observation of sensations, emotions, and thoughts that involve cognitive processes and brain circuits closely related to inhibitory control. To determine the effect of mindfulness meditation on inhibitory control in young offenders. Methods A total of 40 young male offenders (16–23 years) were recruited from a juvenile correctional facility, all of whom had committed violent crimes before the age of 18. The youths were divided into two groups of 20 participants each: treatment and control. A Stroop task and two Stop-signal tasks, one with happy, fearful, angry, and neutral facial stimuli, were performed before and after a 10-week mindfulness meditation training program. Results Compared to controls, the young offenders who participated in mindfulness training improved their inhibitory control after treatment, as reflected in an increase in their reaction times on the Stop-signal task (F(1,36) = 12.87, p = .031, η² = .261), and a decrease in the number of errors on the Stroop task (F(1,36) = 4.684, p = .037, η² = .115). Conclusions Mindfulness meditation training improved inhibitory control and, therefore, may have a positive effect on mitigating violent behavior in young offenders.
... Relative to the control group that did not change, the intervention led to decreased rs-FC between the amygdala and mPFC. Notably, this pattern diverges from the greater amygdala-PFC FC often observed when a person engages in active and effective emotional regulation [40,41,42]. Given that stress can elicit prolonged changes in the FC patterns of the amygdala, the relative absence of stress could lead to patterns of rs-FC quite different from the FC observed during intensive emotional regulation. ...
... The results revealed that in the supine position the brain efficiency was the least, as compared to the standing and sitting positions. The prefrontal cortex which plays an integral role while dealing with memory tasks (Chai et al., 2018), it is the very same region of the brain that is also credited with its association to emotional dynamics (Perry et al., 2017), (Doll et al., 2016) and (Wu et al., 2020) and is also strongly linked with cognitive-motor functions especially during multitasking (Stelzel et al., 2018). Body movements, especially of the head along the vertical plane, revealed a direction specific influence on the retrieval of words with emotional from one's memory. ...
Conference Paper
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Posture plays a very important role in an individual's health. There are studies that cite the impact of postures on emotion generation and emotion regulation. This systematic and exhaustive review attempts to examine the finer details of this dynamic through the investigation of posture on respiration and blood flow, and their subsequent effect on emotions. This route of investigation is cushioned by a lateral review on the effect of posture on brain activity, especially in the areas of the brain associated with emotions. Towards the latter part of the review, the linkage between musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and emotions is reviewed, with the backing of the premise that bad postures are the root cause of MSDs. These series of bundled and connected reviews are carried out to inspect the benefits of the extension of physiopsychological review into the realm of applied ergonomics that can help experts to attribute the utility of posture in activating or regulating emotions, especially in the current pandemic scenario where many are working from home. Bad postures adopted while working from home can potentially lead to negative emotions that affect the emotional well-being of the individual. Therefore, this conceptual review aims to dissect the various ways in which posture affects emotions and thus enlighten the readers on emotion activation and regulation through postural modulation.
... While some authors have reported increases in breathing intervals in a very experienced meditator (Winter et al., 2020) others have shown decreases of the breathing frequency during meditation (e.g. Doll et al. 2016 in inexperienced meditators and Kodituwakku et al. 2012 in experienced meditators). The variables breathing rate (BR; the average of breathing intervals over each 10-minute recording session) and breathing rate variability (BRSD; the standard deviation corresponding to BR) were computed. ...
Thesis
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The experience of the present moment and the bodily self are modulated in altered states of consciousness such as during meditation. Over the last years, research has focused on reporting meditation-related changes on the explicit experience of duration. However, the effects of meditation on the implicit temporal structure of conscious perception pertaining to the present moment experience have not been explored so far. The major aim of this work was to investigate how states of mindfulness meditation change the temporal span of the present moment experience. A further purpose was to explore the effects of heart rate variability (HRV) and breathing rate in order to clarify the role of mind-body interactions on the present moment experience. Finally, individual differences (e.g. mindfulness, time perspective, daydreaming) and emotional states (e.g. arousal, emotional valence, perceived body and space) which may influence the experience of the present moment, were investigated. To this end, the present moment was operationalized using three psychophysical tasks (i.e., the metronome task, the Necker cube, and the sequencing task) for testing two different levels of temporal integration (i.e. functional level and subjective present) across modalities (i.e. visual and auditory). We performed a longitudinal study including two measurement time points (i.e. pre and post interventions) within each of the three study sessions. Participants having meditation experience were recruited and assigned to two matched groups (with n = 47 individuals) corresponding to the two experimental conditions (i.e., interventions). The interventions were either a 10-minute meditation session (meditation) or a 10-minute session of listening to a recorded story (story). Participants’ performance in the psychophysical tasks, conducted on three consecutive days, was compared before and after the interventions. The heart rate and breathing activity were recorded during the intervention and compared to a resting-state condition in order to examine whether physiological changes during meditation would affect a) the temporal integration intervals of metronome beats, b) the dwell times in the Necker cube task, and c) the implicit and explicit detection of asynchronies in the sequencing task. Using mediation analyses, we found that in participants who meditated, meditation-induced states and autonomic physiological changes led to an expanded temporal integration in the metronome task concerning the subjective present in the auditory modality. Furthermore, different components of self-attributed mindfulness (i.e. presence and acceptance) were associated with greater accuracy (i.e., as measured with the explicit sequence-threshold) and ix enhanced implicit time processing (i.e., as measured with the Simon effect) at the functional level. Such effects were not seen for the visual ambiguous figure of the Necker cube (another measure to capture the experienced duration of the present moment) and the detection of sequences of visual stimuli in the millisecond range (capturing the functional moment). The results of the metronome task suggest that mindfulness-meditation states and mindfulness as a trait modulate certain temporal integration mechanisms compatible with the experience of the present moment. These temporal changes seem to be intimately related to autonomic activity providing further understanding of the role of mind-body interactions on the present moment. Additional work will be needed to illuminate the mechanisms underlying the experience of the present moment. The study of meditative states, describable as changes in the present moment experience, remains a promising approach.
... In another study, fMRI analysis was used to compare the response of participants conditioned with two weeks of mindfulness-based attention-to-breath meditation versus passive viewing in untrained participants. Meditation training was found to reduce amygdala activity compared to passive viewing while increasing emotion-related functional connectivity of the amygdala for the dorsal left prefrontal cortex [225]. In another study, Sant Mat meditators (n = 21, 67% female) exhibited a stronger positive functional connectivity between the amygdala and the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex to explicit happiness compared to the control group (n = 20, 60% female) [226]. ...
Article
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Women have been reported to be more vulnerable to the development, prognosis and mortality of cardiovascular diseases, yet the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and strategies to overcome them are still relatively undeveloped. Studies show that women’s brains are more sensitive to factors affecting mental health such as depression and stress than men’s brains. In women, poor mental health increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, and conversely, cardiovascular disease increases the incidence of mental illness such as depression. In connection with mental health and cardiovascular health, the presence of gender differences in brain activation, cortisol secretion, autonomic nervous system, vascular health and inflammatory response has been observed. This connection suggests that strategies to manage women’s mental health can contribute to preventing cardiovascular disease. Mind–body interventions, such as meditation, yoga and qigong are forms of exercise that strive to actively manage both mind and body. They can provide beneficial effects on stress reduction and mental health. They are also seen as structurally and functionally changing the brain, as well as affecting cortisol secretion, blood pressure, heart rate variability, immune reactions and reducing menopausal symptoms, thus positively affecting women’s cardiovascular health. In this review, we investigate the link between mental health, brain activation, HPA axis, autonomic nervous system, blood pressure and immune system associated with cardiovascular health in women and discuss the effects of mind–body intervention in modulating these factors.
... The most popular techniques identified in this study quite clearly depict the most well known and most researched groups of meditative practices, that is, the body scan (Dambrun et al., 2019), observing the breath (Doll et al., 2016), observing thoughts (Lumma et al., 2015), cultivating compassion or loving-kindness (May et al., 2014), and mantra meditation (Lynch et al., 2018). Nonetheless, the repeatedly observed evident differences between Buddhist and Hindu meditation practices call for closer inspection. ...
Article
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Objectives Meditation is an umbrella term for a vast range of contemplative practices. Former proposals have struggled to do justice to this variety. To our knowledge, there is to date no comprehensive overview of meditation techniques spanning all major traditions. The present studies aimed at providing such a comprehensive list of meditation techniques. Methods In a qualitative study, we compiled a collection of 309 meditation techniques through a literature search and interviews with 20 expert meditators. Then, we reduced this collection to 50 basic meditation techniques. In a second, quantitative study, 635 experienced meditators from a wide range of meditative backgrounds indicated how much experience they had with each of these 50 meditation techniques. Results Meditators’ responses indicated that our choice of techniques had been adequate and only two techniques had to be added. Our additional statistical and cluster analyses illustrated preferences for specific techniques across and within diverse traditions as well as sets of techniques commonly practiced together. Body-centered techniques stood out in being of exceptional importance to all meditators. Conclusions In conclusion, we found an amazing variety of meditation techniques, which considerably surpasses previous collections. Our selection of basic meditation techniques might be of value for future scientific investigations and we encourage researchers to use this set.
... Working memory training also improves reading comprehension 24 . Furthermore, attention and breathing functions share a common center in the locus coeruleus in the brain 25,26 . Respiration affects the frontal cortex and hippocampus during memory formation [11][12][13] . ...
Preprint
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Electronic devices have become an indispensable part of our lives, while negative aspects have been reported. One downside is that reading comprehension is reduced when reading from electronic device, but the cause of this is unclear. In this study, we investigated a cause for the decline in comprehension by simultaneously measuring respiration and brain activity during reading from a smartphone medium, on thirty-four healthy individuals. Here we found that, compared to a paper medium, reading from the smartphone elicits a suppression of sigh, brain overactivity in prefrontal cortex, and decline in reading comprehension. Furthermore, a path analysis suggests that interactive relationship between sigh inhibition and overactivity in prefrontal cortex causes the comprehension decline. These findings provide new insight into a respiration-mediated mechanism of cognitive function.
... Additionally, the usefulness of applied interventions such as mindfulness and reappraisal proved to be useful to regulate emotions across other populations (e.g. Doll et al., 2016) should be investigated among coaches. Finally, developing emotional intelligence among coaches, which is often seen among worldclass coaches (Hodgson et al., 2017) can help coaches to understand and respond to what is going on in their environment and consistently act in an effective way (Cook et al., 2021). ...
Article
Approximately 200,000 coaches cease coaching each year in the United Kingdom alone. The reasons for this dropout are not fully understood, but they could be linked to the stressful nature of coaching and the potential for this to impede health and psychological well-being (PWB). The aim of this meta-synthesis is to systematically search for and draw together the qualitative research evidence on coaches’ experiences of stressors, primary appraisals, emotions, coping, and PWB. Using a rigorous and systematic search protocol, 11 studies were identified, assessed for research quality, and synthesized thematically to generate new insight. The findings highlight the plethora of stressors that coaches can experience, the impact of coaches’ appraisals on PWB, and the coping families that coaches can use to foster adaptation. In doing so, the meta-synthesis deepens our understanding of coaches’ stress transactions and their experiences of PWB. There is a significant lack of qualitative research evidence on coaches’ appraisals and PWB. Qualitative and or longitudinal research is warranted to develop knowledge in these areas. Such research should be used to develop interventions that are applicable to different coaching populations (e.g. working parents and part-time coaches) to help minimize stressors, facilitate positive appraisals and emotions, and foster PWB.
... Growing evidence indicates that the health-relevant effects of mindfulness are mediated by alterations to the default mode network (DMN), the salience network (SN), and the systems involved in executive control, often referred to as the central executive network [21,22]. In addition, at least 3 studies indicate that mindfulness training [23,24] or dispositional mindfulness [25] are related to increased functional connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, generally interpreted as augmented emotion regulation via top-down control of the amygdala. Although these studies indicate that benefits from mindfulness meditation are related to changes in functional connectivity within and among these brain regions, to date, no studies have examined changes in functional connectivity related to improvements in well-being among health profession trainees. ...
Article
Background Health care provider and trainee burnout results in substantial national and institutional costs and profound social effects. Identifying effective solutions and interventions to cultivate resilience among health care trainees is critical. Although less is known about the mental health needs of physician assistants (PAs) or PA students, accumulating research indicates that they experience similarly alarming rates of burnout, depression, and emotional exhaustion. Mobile app–delivered mindfulness meditation may be an effective part of salubrious programming to bolster long-term resilience and health among PA students. Objective This study aims to examine the impact of app-delivered mindfulness meditation on self-reported mental health symptoms among PA students. A secondary aim is to investigate changes in brain connectivity to identify neurobiological changes related to changes in mental health symptoms. Methods We recruited PA students enrolled in their third semester of PA school and used a longitudinal, randomized, wait-list–controlled design. Participants randomized to the mindfulness group were provided 1-year subscriptions to the 10% Happier app, a consumer-based meditation app, and asked to practice every day for 8 weeks. Before randomization and again after completion of the 8-week program, all participants completed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging as well as self-report assessments of burnout, depression, anxiety, and sleep impairment. App use was acquired as a measure of mindfulness practice time. Results PA students randomized to the mindfulness group reported improvements in sleep impairment compared with those randomized to the wait-list control group (ηp2=0.42; P=.01). Sleep impairment decreased significantly in the mindfulness group (19% reduction; P=.006) but not in the control group (1% reduction; P=.71). There were no other significant changes in mental health for those randomized to app-delivered mindfulness. Across all students, changes in sleep impairment were associated with increased resting-state functional connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex (a component of the default mode network) and the superior temporal gyrus, as well as between areas important for working memory. Changes in connectivity predicted categorical conversion from impaired to nonimpaired sleep in the mindfulness group. Conclusions This pilot study is the first to examine app-based mindfulness for PA students’ mental health and investigate the impact of mindfulness on PA students’ brain function. These findings suggest that app-delivered mindfulness may be an effective tool to improve sleep dysfunction and that it may be an important part of the programming necessary to reduce the epidemic of suffering among health profession trainees.
... Exercise interventions can positively affect PTSD symptoms through modulating internal arousal cues and reducing inflammatory markers [11]. Certain types of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation, actively focus the practitioner's attention on breathing [12,13]. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of one's body's sensation, thoughts, and feelings in the present moment. ...
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In some types of meditation, such as mindfulness and Zen, breathing is the focus of attention, whereas during an excessive, short-period of anaerobic exercise, the muscles become the focus of attention. Thus, during both efforts, one’s attention is focused on a certain feature of the body. Both meditation and exercise generally provide mental refreshment to humans. We hypothesized that the same brain regions are activated by both efforts in humans. To examine this hypothesis, we engaged participants in 3 tasks: meditation, exercise, and a control task. After each task, the participants underwent a 2-back test to concentrate their thoughts, while changes in their blood hemoglobin levels were simultaneously monitored using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Seventeen participants (20–24 years of age; 11 men, 6 women) were enrolled. We applied a fast-Fourier transform (FFT) analysis to the NIRS wave data and calculated the correlation coefficients of the FFT data between (1) meditation and control, (2) exercise and control, and (3) meditation and exercise, at the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), brain areas that are generally involved in mental refreshment. A significant difference in the correlation coefficients between the OFC and DLPFC was detected in the meditation and exercise analysis, and signal source analysis confirmed that the NIRS waves spread from the right and left OFC edges (i.e., right and left temples) toward the center. Our results suggest that both meditation and exercise activate the OFC, which is involved in emotional reactions and motivation behavior, resulting in mental refreshment.
... One study used distraction via focusing on neutral aspects of the negative stimuli(Ferri, Schmidt, Hajcak, & Canli, 2016). Two other studies used suppression(Chen, Chen, Yang, & Yuan, 2017) or mindfulness(Doll et al., 2016) to reduce negative affect, respectively. This imbalance between investigated regulation strategies reflects the current state of emotion regulation literature and has been determined previously in meta-analyses on emotion regulation (Morawetz, Bode, Derntl, & Heekeren, 2017; Morawetz et al., 2020). ...
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Given the importance of emotion regulation as a transdiagnostic factor in the development of psychopathology, a myriad of neuroimaging studies has investigated its neural underpinnings. However, single studies usually provide limited insight into the function of specific brain regions. Hence, to better understand the interaction between key regions involved in emotion generation and regulation, we performed a coordinate-based meta-analysis on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies that examined emotion regulation-modulated connectivity of the amygdala using psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis. We analyzed fifteen PPI studies using the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) algorithm. Investigating emotion regulation-modulated connectivity independent of regulation strategy and goal revealed convergent connectivity between the amygdala and the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC), which was primarily driven by PPI studies implementing reappraisal as a regulation strategy. A more focused analysis testing for effective coupling during the down-regulation of emotions by using reappraisal specifically revealed convergent connectivity between the amygdala and the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC), and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). These prefrontal regions have been implicated in emotion regulatory processes such as working memory (dlPFC), language processes (vlPFC), and the attribution of mental states (dmPFC). Our findings suggest not only a dynamic modulation of connectivity between emotion generative and regulatory systems during the cognitive control of emotions, but also highlight the robustness of task-modulated prefrontal-amygdala coupling, thereby informing neurally-derived models of emotion regulation.
... Interestingly, the authors showed that meditation has specific patterns of brain activation that distinguish it from concentrative or relaxation tasks. Regarding focused attention network, Doll et al. (69) demonstrated activation in the superior and middle frontal gyrus of meditators in a focused attention-tobreathing task during an emotional stimulation. Additionally, Brefczynski-Lewis et al (65) showed activation in attention-related regions comparing meditation versus rest condition in a functional MRI. ...
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Although self-knowledge and behavior training have been substantial parts of Yoga for many centuries, neuroscience approach towards the effects of Yoga on cognition and brain functioning/structure is a pretty new field of research. As technology advances, new technical support is gained to investigate long ago experienced traditional Yoga practices. To the extent Yoga gains more supporters all over the world, growing interest arises from many laboratories and research centers in unraveling the “mysteries” surrounding its techniques, making this way a bridge between tradition and science.
... While the majority of studies to date have focused on changes in connectivity within and between the DMN, SN, and CEN networks, some research indicates that mindfulness training and practice induce connectivity changes in other networks. For example, at least three studies have found that mindfulness training (Doll et al. 2016;Hölzel et al. 2013) or dispositional mindfulness (Modinos et al. 2010) were related to increased functional connectivity between the PFC and the amygdala. These findings are generally interpreted as an increase in emotion regulation via prefrontal control of the amygdala, an interpretation that is consistent with studies finding reduced amygdala reactivity with mindfulness training (Farb et al. 2007). ...
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Objectives Previous research indicates that mindfulness meditation reduces anxiety and depression and enhances well-being. We examined the impact of app-delivered mindfulness meditation on resting state functional MRI (fMRI) connectivity among physician assistant (PA) students and surgery residents. Methods PA students and residents were randomized to receive a popular meditation app or to wait-list control group. Before and after the 8-week meditation period, we acquired fMRI scans of participants’ resting state, and participants completed a self-report measure of mindfulness. We used a 2 × 2, within- and between-group factorial design and leveraged a whole-brain connectome approach to examine changes in within- and between-network connectivity across the entire brain, and to examine whether changes in connectivity were associated with app use or to changes in self-reported mindfulness. Results Meditation practitioners exhibited significantly stronger connectivity between the frontoparietal network and the left and right nucleus accumbens and between the default mode (DMN) and salience networks, among other regions. Mindfulness practice time was correlated with increased connectivity between the lateral parietal cortex and the supramarginal gyrus, which were also positively correlated with increased scores on the “Describing” subscale of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire between baseline and post-meditation. These findings are consistent with previous research indicating that mindfulness-based interventions alter functional connectivity within the DMN and between the DMN and other networks both during meditation and at rest, as well as increased connectivity in systems important for emotion and reward. Conclusions Recent commentaries call for healthcare provider and trainee wellness programs that are sustainable and preventive in nature rather than reactive; these data indicate that even brief sessions of app-delivered mindfulness practice are associated with functional connectivity changes in a dose-dependent manner.
... Improved awareness can be coupled with relaxation exercises (e.g., diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation) to induce the relaxation response. 101 We still do not fully understand the role that CBT plays in the treatment of mFND, as highlighted by the recent publication (2020) of the largest randomized controlled trial of CBT for the treatment of FND-seiz. 93 368 patients recruited from outpatient neurology clinics were randomized to CBT plus standardized medical care vs standardized medical care alone. ...
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Functional neurological disorder (FND), a condition at the intersection of neurology and psychiatry, is a common and disabling outpatient referral to neurology and neuropsychiatry clinics. In this perspective article, we focus on the motor spectrum of FND (mFND), including individuals with functional movement disorders (FND-movt), functional limb weakness/paresis (FND-par) and functional [psychogenic non-epileptic/dissociative] seizures (FND-seiz). Over the past several decades, there have been dedicated efforts within the neurologic and psychiatric communities to create "rule-in" diagnostic criteria, as well as thoughtful approaches to the clinical interview, delivery of the diagnosis and the development of a patient-centered treatment plan. These advances allow the promotion of good clinical practices in the outpatient assessment and management of mFND. Informed by the literature and our prior clinical experiences, we provide suggestions on how to evaluate individuals with suspected functional motor symptoms - including conducting sensitive psychiatric and psychosocial screenings. Additional sections discuss common "rule-in" neurological examination and semiologic signs of motor FND, as well as approaches to deliver the diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan based on individual patient needs. To aid the development of shared (partially overlapping) expertise that catalyzes an interdisciplinary approach to mFND, the use of physiotherapy for therapeutic motor retraining and cognitive behavioral therapy to examine relationships between symptoms, thoughts, behaviors and emotions are also discussed. Additional clinical research is needed to further refine and operationalize the assessment and management of mFND, across clinics, healthcare settings and countries.
... Diminished hyperventilation with nasal breathing and a mild increase in CO2 levels with the reduced breathing frequency helps in the slowing of heart rate, vasodilatation, enhanced production of gastric juices, and lowered cortical activity, which ultimately helps in relaxation. Cognitive diversion achieved through focusing on the visual feedback of belly breathing helps in reducing negative thoughts and brings about a sense of self-control by the activation of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and reducing the activity of the amygdala (Kajander and Peper, 1998;Doll et al., 2016). ...
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COVID-19 impacted many lives around the globe, leading to a nationwide lockdown in India from the 25th of March 2020. Home confinement, physical and social isolation, the spread of false news through social media, fear of contracting the disease, lack of physical activity, and work-from-home situations have affected the mental status and sleep quality of individuals during the lockdown. We intended to identify the effect of belly breathing exercise in reducing the depression, anxiety and stress levels in individuals who work-from-home during the lockdown. A hundred participants were identified through snowball sampling and were divided into two equal groups. Group A received a health education program and belly breathing techniques, whereas group B was provided with a health education program alone. DASS 21 and single item Sleep Quality Scale was assessed before recruitment and after three weeks of intervention in both groups. Significant reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress levels were observed in group A (p<0.001) than that of group B. Participants who underwent belly breathing also reported significant improvement in sleep quality after three weeks of intervention. Belly breathing has found to be an effective and simple technique to instruct and perform, which significantly reduces depression, anxiety and stress levels in individuals who work from home and are in need of medical advice for their mental health status. We suggest the use of belly breathing in improving the mental status in any black swan events such as home quarantine or strict physical isolation measures, and even during any stressful situations.
... In fact, Tai Chi exercise attach great importance to the coordination of body, mind and breath. The so-called "Qichen Dantian" means deep breathing, which is related to the subconscious control of PFC (Doll et al. 2016). ...
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Tai Chi has been shown an effective strategy to improve cognitive function in older populations while the underlying mechanism remains unclear. This cross-sectional study was performed to examine the brain functional connectivity changes in middle-aged Hong Chuan Tai Chi practitioners. The changes in cerebral oxygenation were measured by functional near-infrared spectroscopy. NIRS signals were obtained from left and right prefrontal cortex, motor cortex and occipital cortex in 18 Hong chuan Tai Chi practitioners (age:55.78 ± 2.64y) and 22 demographically matched healthy Tai Chi-naïve controls (age:54.69 ± 3.10y). Global cognition was measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Scale, and spontaneous oscillations in cerebral oxygenation between three cortexes in five frequency intervals (I, 0.6-2Hz; II, 0.145-0.6Hz; III, 0.052-0.145Hz; IV, 0.021-0.052Hz; V, 0.0095-0.021Hz) was analyzed by wavelet phase coherence. Compared with age-matched Tai Chi-naïve controls, Hong Chuan Tai Chi practitioners had better global cognition, showed higher functional connectivity between left and right prefrontal cortex, motor cortex, occipital cortex in intervals I, III, VI and V. These findings showed that middle-aged Hong Chuan Tai Chi practitioners had higher functional connectivity between prefrontal cortex, motor cortex and occipital cortex, as well as the coordination of left and right brain, which maybe the contributing factors to higher global cognition.
... This is akin to the adage, "before treating the patient, take your own pulse." 20,65 These techniques have a robust functional neuroscientific base 20 and are easy to adopt over time when practiced deliberately. Although much of obstetric and anesthesiology training may not regularly incorporate these techniques, a growing interest in them signals potential wider adoption. ...
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Obstetric anesthesiologists provide care under unique conditions, where frequently unscheduled cases demand flexibility in thinking and acting. And although most obstetric patients may be healthy, they can quickly deteriorate, necessitating rapid team diagnostic and treatment interventions. Examining decision making is a critical step in improving care to these patients. This article reviews evidence-based models of decision making both with individuals and with teams, and presents strategies to improve decision making under any circumstance.
... Our SDS showed a significant cluster in BA-44 (inferior frontal gyrus) which is similar to an fMRI study that showed activation of the inferior frontal gyrus after sleep deprivation (Vartanian et al., 2014). Another study using fMRI on mindfulness showed prefrontal cortex (BA-9) was associated with attention-to-breathing (Doll et al., 2016). A study showed involvement of prefrontal cortex in sleep breathing disorder compared with HCs (Pereira et al., 2017) that is similar to our finding in Resp. ...
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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) patients suffer from a variety of physical and neurological complaints indicating the central nervous system plays a role in ME/CFS pathophysiology. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been used to study microstructural changes in neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we evaluated DTI parameters to investigate microstructural abnormalities in ME/CFS patients. We estimated DTI parameters in 25 ME/CFS patients who met Fukuda criteria (ME/CFSFukuda), 18 ME/CFS patients who met International Consent Criteria (ICC) (ME/CFSICC) only, and 26 healthy control subjects (HC). In addition to voxel-based DTI-parameter group comparisons, we performed voxel-based DTI-parameter interaction-with-group regressions with clinical and autonomic measures to test for abnormal regressions. Group comparisons between ME/CFSICC and HC detected significant clusters (a) with decreased axial diffusivity (p=0.001) and mean diffusivity (p=0.01) in the descending cortico-cerebellar tract in the midbrain and pons, and (b) with increased transverse diffusivity in the medulla. The mode of anisotropy was significantly decreased (p=0.001) in a cluster in the superior longitudinal fasciculus region. Voxel-based group comparisons between ME/CFSFukuda and HC did not detect significant clusters. For ME/CFSICC and HC, DTI parameter interaction-with-group regressions were abnormal for the clinical measures of information processing score, SF36 physical, sleep disturbance score, and respiration rate in both grey and white matter regions. Our study demonstrated that DTI parameters are sensitive to microstructural changes in ME/CFSICC and could potentially act as an imaging biomarker of abnormal pathophysiology in ME/CFS. The study also shows that strict case definitions are essential in investigation of the pathophysiology of ME/CFS.
... The attention, intention, and attitudes cultivated with the practice of mindfulness, for Shapiro et al. (2006), help in the process of emotion regulation because it promotes a change in perspective in the interpretation of reality, helps in the consolidation of values, increases emotional and cognitive flexibility, and favors openness to experience. Investigations on the neurobiological aspects involved in the practice of mindfulness have demonstrated changes in the brain regions and neural mechanisms involved in emotional processing (amygdala and prefrontal cortex) with improvements in self-regulation (Doll et al., 2016;Kral et al., 2018;Xiao et al., 2019;Zhang et al., 2019). However, there is demand for further research on how mindfulness would promote an improvement in adaptive functioning, in the choice of regulatory strategies, and in personal well-being (Alkoby et al., 2018;Erisman & Roemer, 2010), especially in more challenging contexts such as those involving an academic career (Beck et al., 2017;Galante et al., 2017;Regehr et al., 2013). ...
Article
Recent studies point to an increase in psychological distress among graduate students. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of mindfulness practices on emotion regulation, on the perception of stress, and on the psychological well-being of graduate students. Forty-five (45) graduate students participated in the study, divided into an intervention and a control group. Questionnaires were applied for self-assessment of mindfulness, perceived stress, and psychological well-being, in addition to qualitative interviews in the pre- and post-timeframes of a mindfulness-based intervention. Quantitative data were analyzed using ANOVAs for repeated measures, while the interviews were analyzed using the thematic content analysis technique. The results indicated increases in the levels of mindfulness and psychological well-being, and a reduction in perceived stress in the intervention group, post-intervention. The interviews indicated the presence of ambivalent emotions in relation to graduate studies and the development of new strategies to cope with the stress in this work context. The main contribution of the study was to present empirical evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in the graduate-level education context, allowing students to become more capable of dealing with the challenges of an academic career.
... In adults, MT increases the recruitment of medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) to down-regulate amygdala activation in responding to emotional stimuli (Doll et al., 2016;Kral et al., 2018). However, extensive mindfulness practices can lead to reduced activation of medial PFC while increasing activation in dorsolateral PFC, insular and somatosensory cortices (Chiesa et al., 2013). ...
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The neurocognitive mechanisms associated with mindfulness training in children are not well understood. This randomised controlled study with active and passive control groups examined the impact of an 18‐week mindfulness curriculum delivered by schoolteachers on emotion processing in Vietnamese 7‐to‐11‐year‐olds. Event‐related potential markers indexed emotion processing while children were completing emotional Go/No‐Go tasks before and after mindfulness training, and at 6‐month follow‐up. In an oddball Go/No‐Go task with Caucasian faces no changes in P3b and LPP components were detected, but in a Go/No‐Go task with Caucasian and Japanese faces changes were observed in P3b latencies and LPP mean amplitudes. Specifically, the P3b in response to angry non‐targets for Japanese faces peaked later in the mindfulness training group (TG) at 6‐months follow‐up in comparison to the non‐intervention control group (NCG). The LPP mean amplitudes for averaged Caucasian and Japanese angry non‐targets were also attenuated in the TG at 6‐month follow‐up. In contrast, no changes in the LPP mean amplitudes were observed for the NCG over time. Together, these findings may indicate that mindfulness training in pre‐adolescents enhances emotional non‐reactivity to negative distractors. A fluctuating pattern of LPP mean amplitude modulations for angry targets was observed in the active control group (ACG) receiving social‐emotional learning (SEL) training. Overall, findings from this study suggest that mindfulness training in pre‐adolescents enhances emotional non‐reactivity to negative distractors and some of the effects are culturally sensitive. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... The development of different types of physical and mental exercises, such as relaxation, guided breathing (Doll et al., 2016), mental imagery (Cebolla et al., 2017), and meditation , has acquired a paramount position in the Western world because of the increasing popular research of a singular serenity sustained by wellness practice (Cahn and Polich, 2006;Ryznar and Levine, 2021). ...
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The search for the best wellness practice has promoted the development of devices integrating different technologies and guided meditation. However, the final effects on the electrical activity of the brain remain relatively sparse. Here, we have analyzed of the alpha and theta electroencephalographic oscillations during the realization of the arrest reaction (AR; eyes close/eyes open transition) when a chromotherapy session performed in a dedicated room [ Rebalance ( RB ) device], with an ergonomic bed integrating pulsed-wave light (PWL) stimulation, guided breathing, and body scan exercises. We demonstrated that the PWL induced an evoked-related potential characterized by the N2-P3 components maximally recorded on the fronto-central areas and accompanied by an event-related synchronization (ERS) of the delta–theta–alpha oscillations. The power of the alpha and theta oscillations was analyzed during repeated ARs testing realized along with the whole RB session. We showed that the power of the alpha and theta oscillations was significantly increased during the session in comparison to their values recorded before. Of the 14 participants, 11 and 6 showed a significant power increase of the alpha and theta oscillations, respectively. These increased powers were not observed in two different control groups ( n = 28) who stayed passively outside or inside the RB room but without any type of stimulation. These preliminary results suggest that PWL chromotherapy and guided relaxation induce measurable electrical brain changes that could be beneficial under neuropsychiatric perspectives.
... A previous study showed that meditation altered brain structure and neuronal plasticity (53). Cortical thickness and the activity of several specific brain regions increased during meditation, such as the hippocampus, whereas a decrease in activity was found in the amygdala (54)(55)(56)(57). Stronger functional connectivity was found between the posterior cingulate, dorsal anterior cingulate, and prefrontal cortices was observed in experienced meditators (58,59). ...
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Late-life depression (LLD) is an important public health problem among the aging population. Recent studies found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can effectively alleviate depressive symptoms in major depressive disorder. The present study explored the clinical effect and potential neuroimaging mechanism of MBCT in the treatment of LLD. We enrolled 60 participants with LLD in an 8-week, randomized, controlled trial (ChiCTR1800017725). Patients were randomized to the treatment-as-usual (TAU) group or a MBCT+TAU group. The Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD) and Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) were used to evaluate symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to measure changes in resting-state functional connectivity and structural connectivity. We also measured the relationship between changes in brain connectivity and improvements in clinical symptoms. HAMD total scores in the MBCT+TAU group were significantly lower than in the TAU group after 8 weeks of treatment ( p < 0.001) and at the end of the 3-month follow-up ( p < 0.001). The increase in functional connections between the amygdala and middle frontal gyrus (MFG) correlated with decreases in HAMA and HAMD scores in the MBCT+TAU group. Diffusion tensor imaging analyses showed that fractional anisotropy of the MFG-amygdala significantly increased in the MBCT+TAU group after 8-week treatment compared with the TAU group. Our study suggested that MBCT improves depression and anxiety symptoms that are associated with LLD. MBCT strengthened functional and structural connections between the amygdala and MFG, and this increase in communication correlated with improvements in clinical symptoms. Randomized Controlled Trial; Follow-Up Study; fMRI; Brain Connectivity
... Rosenszweig (2007) expressed changes in glycemic control, weight loss, blood pressure, and psychological-stress symptoms in Type 1 DM patients by providing MBSR intervention carried out for 4 weeks. While Anselm, et al (2016) states that focusing breathing when mindfulness is effective in emotional regulatory settings, decreased activation of Anigdala da enhances prefrontal integration Mindfulness is a condition in which a person accepts the conditions that occur today. Mindfulness based on Benson relaxation exercises part of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which is the basic technique for a person achieving a conscious state of existence. ...
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Patients with diabetes mellitus have a high-stress level, this is because the treatment isundertaken such as diet, blood sugar control, drug consumption, and exercise. In addition, the risk of diseasecomplications that can be experienced by patients will also increase stress. Spiritual mindfulness based on bensonrelaxation affects the formation of positive cognitive (perception) responses in the brain. A good stress perceptionwill stimulate the hypothalamus to release a series of hormones that cause modulation of the physiological barrierof the immune response by decreasing the activation of the HPA axis and increasing activation of theparasympathetic nerve through the vagal stimulation. The purpose of this study was to prove the influence of spiritualmindfulness based on Benson relaxation in reducing stress levels of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This study was aquasi-experimental study using the pretest-posttest with control group design method. Respondents in this studywere 60 type 2 DM sufferers and were taken by simple random sampling technique and divided into two groupsnamely the intervention group and the control group. Stress level data is obtained using a questionnairemeasurement tool. The intervention group was given spiritual mindfulness based on Benson relaxation for fourweeks. The results of data analysis using t-Test with a significance of p <0.05. The stress level test results showeda significant difference between the intervention group and the control group with p-value = 0,000. Mindfulnessspiritual intervention based on Benson relaxation is effective against stress levels of people with type 2 diabetes.
... In contrast, when reading on smartphones, intense cognitive load may have inhibited sigh generation, causing overactivity in the prefrontal cortex. Attention and breathing functions share a common center in the locus coeruleus within the brain 25,26 . Sighing is also associated with increased workload, and breathing variability is restored to a healthy regularity by sighing 27,28 . ...
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Electronic devices have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, while their negative aspects have been reported. One disadvantage is that reading comprehension is reduced when reading from an electronic device; the cause of this deficit in performance is unclear. In this study, we investigated the cause for comprehension decline when reading on a smartphone by simultaneously measuring respiration and brain activity during reading in 34 healthy individuals. We found that, compared to reading on a paper medium, reading on a smartphone elicits fewer sighs, promotes brain overactivity in the prefrontal cortex, and results in reduced comprehension. Furthermore, reading on a smartphone affected sigh frequency but not normal breathing, suggesting that normal breathing and sigh generation are mediated by pathways differentially influenced by the visual environment. A path analysis suggests that the interactive relationship between sigh inhibition and overactivity in the prefrontal cortex causes comprehension decline. These findings provide new insight into the respiration-mediated mechanisms of cognitive function.
... A third study corroborates the finding of DMN deactivation during mindful states, even in novice meditators with only brief exposure to MT (Doll et al., 2016). Researchers recruited novice meditators for a 2-week attention-to-breath mindfulness training. ...
... This task reduces EEG artifacts occurring naturally with eye movements. Most importantly, this task can later be implemented into practical translational and therapeutical applications aimed at increasing well-being levels through the modulation of alpha asymmetry and the underlying brain processes (Angelakis et al., 2007;Sessa, 2007;Moynihan et al., 2013;Doll et al., 2016;Schmalzl et al., 2018;Prpa et al., 2020). Electroencephalography data were with a sampling rate of 256 Hz and 12-bits of data resolution. ...
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Electroencephalography (EEG) alpha asymmetry is thought to reflect crucial brain processes underlying executive control, motivation, and affect. It has been widely used in psychopathology and, more recently, in novel neuromodulation studies. However, inconsistencies remain in the field due to the lack of consensus in methodological approaches employed and the recurrent use of small samples. Wearable technologies ease the collection of large and diversified EEG datasets that better reflect the general population, allow longitudinal monitoring of individuals, and facilitate real-world experience sampling. We tested the feasibility of using a low-cost wearable headset to collect a relatively large EEG database (N = 230, 22–80 years old, 64.3% female), and an open-source automatic method to preprocess it. We then examined associations between well-being levels and the alpha center of gravity (CoG) as well as trait EEG asymmetries, in the frontal and temporoparietal (TP) areas. Robust linear regression models did not reveal an association between well-being and alpha (8–13 Hz) asymmetry in the frontal regions, nor with the CoG. However, well-being was associated with alpha asymmetry in the TP areas (i.e., corresponding to relatively less left than right TP cortical activity as well-being levels increased). This effect was driven by oscillatory activity in lower alpha frequencies (8–10.5 Hz), reinforcing the importance of dissociating sub-components of the alpha band when investigating alpha asymmetries. Age was correlated with both well-being and alpha asymmetry scores, but gender was not. Finally, EEG asymmetries in the other frequency bands were not associated with well-being, supporting the specific role of alpha asymmetries with the brain mechanisms underlying well-being levels. Interpretations, limitations, and recommendations for future studies are discussed. This paper presents novel methodological, experimental, and theoretical findings that help advance human neurophysiological monitoring techniques using wearable neurotechnologies and increase the feasibility of their implementation into real-world applications.
Article
Résumé Introduction Les thérapies actives du mouvement corps-esprit sont pratiquées dans le but d’engager la personne à prendre soin de sa santé. Elles sont représentées par le qi gong, le tai-chi et le yoga. Elles comprennent toutes des postures, des exercices de respiration et de méditation. Utilisées conjointement avec la médecine traditionnelle, elles permettent une vision plus globale du patient, afin d’améliorer la qualité de vie. État des connaissances Ces thérapies ont été étudiées dans la bronchopneumopathie chronique obstructive, en comparaison de soins courants ou d’une activité physique de type marche, mais très peu dans le cadre de la réadaptation respiratoire. Les effets sont cliniquement significatifs sur la qualité de vie et la capacité fonctionnelle, et certaines des comorbidités peuvent également être impactées. Perspectives L’application de ces thérapies doit être étendue aux patients GOLD grade 1 et 4 tout en étudiant les effets sur la survenue des exacerbations bronchiques. Il reste à confirmer l’intérêt de les pratiquer en substitution d’une réadaptation respiratoire et à les évaluer en association de cette dernière. Conclusion Ces thérapies peuvent être utilisées pour faciliter le changement de comportement dans une optique thérapeutique et préventive, permettant de diminuer l’impact de facteurs aggravants de la maladie respiratoire.
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Background: Tai Chi has been proved as an effective strategy to improve cognitive function while the mechanism remains unclear. This cross-sectional study aimed to compare the brain functional connection of prefrontal cortex (PFC), motor cortex (MC) and occipital cortex (OC) in middle-aged Tai Chi practitioners and Tai Chi-naïve controls. Methods: 18 Hong chuan Tai Chi practitioners (age:55.78±2.64y) and 22 demographically matched healthy Tai Chi-naïve controls (age:54.69±3.10y) were recruited in this study. Global cognition was measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Scale (MoCA), and the functional connection between PFC, MC and OC in five frequency intervals (I, 0.6-2Hz; II, 0.145-0.6Hz; III, 0.052-0.145Hz; IV, 0.021-0.052Hz; V, 0.0095-0.021Hz) was analyzed by wavelet phase coherence (WPCO). The changes in cerebral oxygenation (Δ[HbO2]) were measured by functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Continuous recordings of NIRS signals were obtained from the left and right prefrontal cortex (PFC), motor cortex (MC) and occipital cortex (OC) in resting state. Results: Compared with age-matched Tai Chi-naïve controls, Hong chuan Tai Chi practitioners had better global cognition and showed higher functional connection levels between left and right PFC, MC, OC in intervals I, III, VI and V in resting state. Conclusion: This study showed that middle-aged Hong chuan Tai Chi practitioners had higher functional connection between PFC, MC and OC, as well as the coordination of left and right brain in resting state, which maybe the contributing factors to higher global cognition.
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Psychological account hypothesizes that premature ejaculation (PE) is a learned pattern of rapid ejaculation maintained by anxiety about sexual failure, while neuropsychological accounts hypothesizes that PE is the result of dysfunction of central nervous system regulating ejaculatory. However, the central neural mechanism underlying PE patients with anxiety remains unclear. Resting‐state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were collected in 20 PE (diagnoses based on PE Guidelines drafted by the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM)) patients with anxiety and 25 matched healthy controls (HC) from January 2019 to December 2020. The values of fractional amplitude of low‐frequency fluctuation (fALFF) were compared between groups. Moreover, the correlations between fALFF and the severity of PE and anxiety of patients were examined. PE patients with anxiety had increased fALFF values in the right inferior frontal gyrus (opercular part) and middle frontal gyrus. In addition, significant positive correlations were found between the scores of PE diagnostic tool (PEDT) and fALFF values of the right inferior frontal gyrus (opercular part), as well as the right middle frontal gyrus. Moreover, fALFF values of the right inferior frontal gyrus (opercular part) and middle frontal gyrus were positively correlated with the scores of self‐rating anxiety scale (SAS). Our results suggested that increased attentional network activity might play a critical role in the neural basis of PE patients with anxiety.
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Body awareness is constructed by signals originating from within and outside the body. How do these apparently divergent signals converge? We developed a signal detection task to study the neural convergence and divergence of interoceptive and somatosensory signals. Participants focused on either cardiac or tactile events and reported their presence or absence. Beyond some evidence of divergence, we observed a robust overlap in the pattern of activation evoked across both conditions in frontal areas including the insular cortex, as well as parietal and occipital areas, and for both attention and detection of these signals. Psycho-physiological interaction analysis revealed that right insular cortex connectivity was modulated by the conscious detection of cardiac compared to somatosensory sensations, with greater connectivity to occipito-parietal regions when attending to cardiac signals. Our findings speak in favour of the inherent convergence of bodily-related signals and move beyond the apparent antagonism between exteroception and interoception.
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This is a preprint version of a paper published in The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, Taylor & Francis Online. The peer reviewed version has slight changes to the results. However, the main findings remain similar. The intervention is feasible to deliver in prisons. Possible effects of the intervention include reductions in scores for depression, anxiety, and stress. Please note the advise on delivering the intervention to people scoring high on psychopathy.
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Slow controlled breathing can be beneficial for performance of continuous and serial motor tasks. However, how controlled breathing influences discrete motor task performance remains unclear. We sought to determine the impact of paced breathing frequency on measures of movement initiation (reaction time: RT), accuracy (absolute endpoint error: AE; constant error: CE), and variability (trial-to-trial variability: V), in a goal-directed discrete motor task. We hypothesized slow breathing would be accompanied by faster RT, reduced AE and CE, and less V compared to faster breathing rates. Participants (N = 47) performed a memory-guided force pulse pinch task targeted at 10% of their maximum voluntary contraction while breathing at metronome-paced slow, normal, and fast frequencies. During each breathing condition, heart rate variability (HRV) as indexed by the standard deviation of ‘NN’ intervals (SDNN) was measured to ensure objective manipulation check of participants breathing at their set pace. Following each breathing condition, participants provided subjective ratings using the Affect Grid and Visual Analog Scales for arousal, hindrance, and dyspnea. Manipulation check results indicated participants correctly breathed at metronome paces, as indexed by increased HRV for slow breathing and decreased HRV for fast breathing. Results indicated that fast breathing reduced reaction time and movement time, and increased ratings of arousal, hindrance, and dyspnea. In contrast, slow breathing increased reaction time, and levels of hindrance and dyspnea were similar to normal breathing. Breathing frequency did not differentially impact accuracy or variability across conditions. Findings provide evidence that breathing frequency affects fundamental movement parameters, potentially mediated by factors other than arousal.
Chapter
This form of meditation has greatly increased in popularity essentially displacing other types, and is extensively applied to psychotherapy. The rapid expansion of its application and the generation of numerous subtypes, suggests a fad outstripping solid evidence. However, at the core mindfulness is a form of meditation that generally works by directing how attention is focused in the moment, with awareness a key aspect. Awareness shifts from negative to positive or neutral with both concentrative and mindfulness forms of meditation. Psychological defense mechanisms (particularly dissociate absorption), emotion regulation, human specific cognition (select executive functions), and adaptability are enhanced by mindfulness-based therapy.
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Objetivo: este estudo de revisão sistemática de literatura buscou analisar as relações entre mindfulness e regulação emocional. Método: foram consultadas diversas bases de dado nacionais e internacionais e selecionou-se para análise 60 artigos publicados no período de 2009 a 2019. Resultados: Em termos conceituais, mindfulness é prevalentemente considerado como um traço, e menos como um estado ou habilidade. Os resultados dos estudos empíricos sugerem que mindfulness mostra-se associado ao uso de estratégias de regulação emocional adaptativas favorecendo o funcionamento psíquico saudável. Apontam-se também os limites e contribuições desta revisão. Conclusão: Há a necessidade de mais estudos que considerem o aspecto processual de mindfulness e que possibilitem capturar avivência subjetiva da prática, tendo em visto a prevalência de estudos quantitativos que fizeram uso de escalas de autorrelato.
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Some hypotheses relate oscillations of EEG band power with autonomic processes derived from homeostatic control modulated by structures like the Central Autonomic Network and the Autonomic Nervous System. This research project studies the causal relationships between fluctuations of an autonomic process marker like the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and the proposed EEG band power time series (BPts). To verify the existence of directional causal relationships, Granger Causality (GC) test was used between HRV and BPts. Analyses were performed using two databases, of 9 and 14 subjects respectively. Experiments consisted of spontaneous breathing and a controlled breathing task (CBT). GC was tested over Intrinsinc Mode Functions of HRV derived from Empirical Mode Decomposition and BPts computed over α, β and γ bands. Positive GC tests were observed through each experimental task, channels, IMFs, EEG band, and direction. The largest number of positive GC relationships were found from BPts to HRV when testing, higher EEG band and IMF with lower spectral content. Opposite direction achieves lower total counts, but more related with IMFs of higher spectral content. Its presence also suggests that some homeostatic condition alters the BPts course given its increment under the CBT. It is important to notice that in both cases γ band achieves larger values for almost all of the studied conditions. Suggesting that such band has an important influence over HRV, but alterations on breathing condition also produce changes on BPts evolution, suggesting that the closed loop for homeostatic control alters neural dynamics at cortical level.
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Im Hier und Jetzt präsent zu sein, ist eine der wichtigsten und hilfreichsten Fertigkeiten für traumatisierte Menschen (Fisher 1999). Um sie zu erlangen und zu entwickeln, sind Achtsamkeit und Selbstgewahrsein nötig. Beide bilden somit auch ganz grundlegende Elemente der Stabilisierung; sie ermöglichen uns, auf unseren Körper regulierend einzuwirken, so dass sich dieser und mit ihm auch unser Inneres beruhigen kann. Wir können uns durch sie zentrieren und in unsere Mitte finden. Und wir können mit ihrer Hilfe innere Distanz zu aufwühlenden, belastenden und bedrohlichen Emotionen, Gedanken, Erinnerungen, inneren Bildern und Körperempfindungen gewinnen.
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Dealing with one's emotions is a core skill in everyday life. Effective cognitive control strategies have been shown to be neurobiologically represented in prefrontal structures regulating limbic regions. In addition to cognitive strategies, mindfulness-associated methods are increasingly applied in psychotherapy. We compared the neurobiological mechanisms of these two strategies, i.e., cognitive reappraisal and mindfulness, during both the cued expectation and perception of negative and potentially negative emotional pictures. Fifty-three healthy participants were examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (47 participants included in analysis). Twenty-four subjects applied mindfulness, 23 used cognitive reappraisal. On the neurofunctional level, both strategies were associated with comparable activity of the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. When expecting negative versus neutral stimuli, the mindfulness group showed stronger activations in ventro- and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, supramarginal gyrus as well as in the left insula. During the perception of negative versus neutral stimuli, the two groups only differed in an increased activity in the caudate in the cognitive group. Altogether, both strategies recruited overlapping brain regions known to be involved in emotion regulation. This result suggests that common neural circuits are involved in the emotion regulation by mindfulness-based and cognitive reappraisal strategies. Identifying differential activations being associated with the two strategies in this study might be one step towards a better understanding of differential mechanisms of change underlying frequently used psychotherapeutic interventions.
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Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is thought to involve deficits in emotion regulation, and more specifically, deficits in cognitive reappraisal. However, evidence for such deficits is mixed. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal, we examined reappraisal-related behavioral and neural responses in 27 participants with generalized SAD and 27 healthy controls (HC) during three socio-emotional tasks: (1) looming harsh faces (Faces); (2) videotaped actors delivering social criticism (Criticism); and (3) written autobiographical negative self-beliefs (Beliefs). Behaviorally, compared to HC, participants with SAD had lesser reappraisal-related reduction in negative emotion in the Beliefs task. Neurally, compared to HC, participants with SAD had lesser BOLD responses in reappraisal-related brain regions when reappraising faces, in visual and attention related regions when reappraising criticism, and in the left superior temporal gyrus when reappraising beliefs. Examination of the temporal dynamics of BOLD responses revealed late reappraisal-related increased responses in HC, compared to SAD. In addition, the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC), which showed reappraisal-related increased activity in both groups, had similar temporal dynamics in SAD and HC during the Faces and Criticism tasks, but greater late response increases in HC, compared to SAD, during the Beliefs task. Reappraisal-related greater late DMPFC responses were associated with greater percent reduction in negative emotion ratings in SAD patients. These results suggest a dysfunction of cognitive reappraisal in SAD patients, with overall reduced late brain responses in prefrontal regions, particularly when reappraising faces. Decreased late activity in the DMPFC might be associated with deficient reappraisal and greater negative reactivity. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00380731.
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Mindfulness training aims to impact emotion regulation. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) symptoms can be successfully addressed through mindfulness-based interventions. This preliminary study is the first to investigate neural mechanisms of symptom improvements in GAD following mindfulness training. Furthermore, we compared brain activation between GAD patients and healthy participants at baseline. 26 patients with a current DSM-IV GAD diagnosis were randomized to an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, N = 15) or a stress management education (SME, N = 11) active control program. 26 healthy participants were included for baseline comparisons. BOLD response was assessed with fMRI during affect labeling of angry and neutral facial expressions. At baseline, GAD patients showed higher amygdala activation than healthy participants in response to neutral, but not angry faces, suggesting that ambiguous stimuli reveal stronger reactivity in GAD patients. In patients, amygdala activation in response to neutral faces decreased following both interventions. BOLD response in ventrolateral prefrontal regions (VLPFC) showed greater increase in MBSR than SME participants. Functional connectivity between amygdala and PFC regions increased significantly pre- to post-intervention within the MBSR, but not SME group. Both, change in VLPFC activation and amygdala-prefrontal connectivity were correlated with change in Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scores, suggesting clinical relevance of these changes. Amygdala-prefrontal connectivity turned from negative coupling (typically seen in down-regulation of emotions), to positive coupling; potentially suggesting a unique mechanism of mindfulness. Findings suggest that in GAD, mindfulness training leads to changes in fronto-limbic areas crucial for the regulation of emotion; these changes correspond with reported symptom improvements.
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Anxiety is the cognitive state related to the inability to control emotional responses to perceived threats. Anxiety is inversely related to brain activity associated with the cognitive regulation of emotions. Mindfulness meditation has been found to regulate anxiety. However, the brain mechanisms involved in meditation-related anxiety relief are largely unknown. We employed pulsed arterial spin labeling MRI to compare the effects of distraction in the form of attending to the breath (ATB; before meditation training) to mindfulness meditation (after meditation training) on state anxiety across the same subjects. Fifteen healthy subjects, with no prior meditation experience, participated in 4 d of mindfulness meditation training. ATB did not reduce state anxiety, but state anxiety was significantly reduced in every session that subjects meditated. Meditation-related anxiety relief was associated with activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex and anterior insula. Meditation-related activation in these regions exhibited a strong relationship to anxiety relief when compared to ATB. During meditation, those who exhibited greater default-related activity (i.e. posterior cingulate cortex) reported greater anxiety, possibly reflecting an inability to control self-referential thoughts. These findings provide evidence that mindfulness meditation attenuates anxiety through mechanisms involved in the regulation of self-referential thought processes.
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Importance Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD) is thought to enhance cognitive reappraisal in patients with SAD. Such improvements should be evident in cognitive reappraisal–related prefrontal cortex responses.Objective To determine whether CBT for SAD modifies cognitive reappraisal–related prefrontal cortex neural signal magnitude and timing when implementing cognitive reappraisal with negative self-beliefs.Design Randomized clinical trial of CBT for SAD vs wait-list control group during a study that enrolled patients from 2007 to 2010.Setting University psychology department.Participants Seventy-five patients with generalized SAD randomly assigned to CBT or wait list.Intervention Sixteen sessions of individual CBT for SAD.Main Outcome Measures Negative emotion ratings and functional magnetic resonance imaging blood oxygen–level dependent signal when reacting to and cognitively reappraising negative self-beliefs embedded in autobiographical social anxiety situations.Results During reactivity trials, compared with wait list, CBT produced (1) greater reduction in negative emotion ratings and (2) greater blood oxygen–level dependent signal magnitude in the medial prefrontal cortex. During cognitive reappraisal trials, compared with wait list, CBT produced (3) greater reduction in negative emotion ratings, (4) greater blood oxygen level–dependent signal magnitude in the dorsolateral and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, (5) earlier temporal onset of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex activity, and (6) greater dorsomedial prefrontal cortex–amygdala inverse functional connectivity.Conclusions and Relevance Modulation of cognitive reappraisal–related brain responses, timing, and functional connectivity may be important brain changes that contribute to the effectiveness of CBT for social anxiety. This study demonstrates that clinically applied neuroscience investigations can elucidate neurobiological mechanisms of change in psychiatric conditions.Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00380731.
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Mindfulness - an attentive, non-judgmental focus on present experiences - is increasingly incorporated in psychotherapeutic treatments as a skill fostering emotion regulation. Neurobiological mechanisms of actively induced emotion regulation are associated with prefrontally mediated down-regulation of, for instance, the amygdala. We were interested in neurobiological correlates of a short mindfulness instruction during emotional arousal. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated effects of a short mindfulness intervention during the cued expectation and perception of negative and potentially negative pictures (50% probability) in 24 healthy individuals compared to 22 controls.The mindfulness intervention was associated with increased activations in prefrontal regions during the expectation of negative and potentially negative pictures compared to controls. During the perception of negative stimuli, reduced activation was identified in regions involved in emotion processing (amygdala, parahippocampal gyrus). Prefrontal and right insular activations when expecting negative pictures correlated negatively with trait mindfulness, suggesting that more mindful individuals required less regulatory resources to attenuate emotional arousal.Our findings suggest emotion regulatory effects of a short mindfulness intervention on a neurobiological level.
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The brain network governing meditation has been studied using a variety of meditation practices and techniques practices eliciting different cognitive processes (e.g., silence, attention to own body, sense of joy, mantras, etc.). It is very possible that different practices of meditation are subserved by largely, if not entirely, disparate brain networks. This assumption was tested by conducting an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of meditation neuroimaging studies, which assessed 150 activation foci from 24 experiments. Different ALE meta-analyses were carried out. One involved the subsets of studies involving meditation induced through exercising focused attention (FA). The network included clusters bilaterally in the medial gyrus, the left superior parietal lobe, the left insula and the right supramarginal gyrus (SMG). A second analysis addressed the studies involving meditation states induced by chanting or by repetition of words or phrases, known as "mantra." This type of practice elicited a cluster of activity in the right SMG, the SMA bilaterally and the left postcentral gyrus. Furthermore, the last analyses addressed the effect of meditation experience (i.e., short- vs. long-term meditators). We found that frontal activation was present for short-term, as compared with long-term experience meditators, confirming that experts are better enabled to sustain attentional focus, rather recruiting the right SMG and concentrating on aspects involving disembodiment.
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To evaluate the impact of an intensive period of mindfulness meditation training on cognitive and affective function, a non-clinical group of 20 novice meditators were tested before and after participation in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat. They were evaluated with self-report scales measuring mindfulness, rumination and affect, as well as performance tasks assessing working memory, sustained attention, and attention switching. Results indicated that those completing the mindfulness training demonstrated significant improvements in self-reported mindfulness, depressive symptoms, rumination, and performance measures of working memory and sustained attention, relative to a comparison group who did not undergo any meditation training. This study suggests future directions for the elucidation of the critical processes that underlie the therapeutic benefits of mindfulness-based interventions.
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This study sought to examine the effect of meditation experience on brain networks underlying cognitive actions employed during contemplative practice. In a previous study, we proposed a basic model of naturalistic cognitive fluctuations that occur during the practice of focused attention meditation. This model specifies four intervals in a cognitive cycle: mind wandering (MW), awareness of MW, shifting of attention, and sustained attention. Using subjective input from experienced practitioners during meditation, we identified activity in salience network regions during awareness of MW and executive network regions during shifting and sustained attention. Brain regions associated with the default mode were active during MW. In the present study, we reasoned that repeated activation of attentional brain networks over years of practice may induce lasting functional connectivity changes within relevant circuits. To investigate this possibility, we created seeds representing the networks that were active during the four phases of the earlier study, and examined functional connectivity during the resting state in the same participants. Connectivity maps were then contrasted between participants with high vs. low meditation experience. Participants with more meditation experience exhibited increased connectivity within attentional networks, as well as between attentional regions and medial frontal regions. These neural relationships may be involved in the development of cognitive skills, such as maintaining attention and disengaging from distraction, that are often reported with meditation practice. Furthermore, because altered connectivity of brain regions in experienced meditators was observed in a non-meditative (resting) state, this may represent a transference of cognitive abilities "off the cushion" into daily life.
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