The Default Mode Network of the Brain Underlies Mind Wandering

The Default Mode Network of the Brain Underlies Mind Wandering

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the brain appears to support mind wandering by disrupting some of the brain processes that are involved in responding to our surrounding external environment.” – Julia Kam

 

We spend a tremendous amount of waking time with our minds wandering and not on the present environment or the task at hand. We daydream, plan for the future, review the past, ruminate on our failures, exalt in our successes. In fact, we spend almost half of our waking hours off task with our mind wandering. A system of the brain known as the Default Mode Network (DMN) becomes active during wind wandering and relatively quiet during focused on task behavior. Meditation is known to reduce the size, connectivity, and activity of the Default Mode Network (DMN).

 

In today’s Research News article “Lesion network mapping demonstrates that mind-wandering is associated with the default mode network.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704688/ ) Philippi and colleagues recruited patients with circumscribed brain injuries (lesions) and age and education matched non-brain damaged comparison participants. They all underwent brain scanning with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). They completed a self-report measure of mind wandering.

 

They found that the brain damaged patients had lower frequencies of mind wandering than the healthy comparison participants. They then examined the specific brain areas damaged in the patients lesions and related it to their reduced mind wandering scores. They found that reduced mind wandering was associated with structures in the Default Mode Network (DMN), including the medial prefrontal cortex, parietal lobe, and inferior frontal gyrus.

 

The results are simple and straightforward and suggest that damage to the Default Mode Network (DMN) reduces mind wandering. This finding taken together with the findings that the DMN becomes more active during mind wandering makes a clear case that the DMN is responsible for mind wandering.

 

So, the default mode network of the brain underlies mind wandering.

 

mind-wandering was associated with increased DMN activity and increased DMN-VS connectivity.“ – Xinqi Zhou

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Philippi, C. L., Bruss, J., Boes, A. D., Albazron, F. M., Deifelt Streese, C., Ciaramelli, E., Rudrauf, D., & Tranel, D. (2021). Lesion network mapping demonstrates that mind-wandering is associated with the default mode network. Journal of neuroscience research, 99(1), 361–373. https://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.24648

 

Abstract

Functional neuroimaging research has consistently associated brain structures within the default mode network (DMN) and frontoparietal network (FPN) with mind-wandering. Targeted lesion research has documented impairments in mind-wandering after damage to the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and hippocampal regions associated with the DMN. However, no lesion studies to date have applied lesion network mapping to identify common networks associated with deficits in mind-wandering. In lesion network mapping, resting-state functional connectivity data from healthy participants are used to infer which brain regions are functionally connected to each lesion location from a sample with brain injury. In the current study, we conducted a lesion network mapping analysis to test the hypothesis that lesions affecting the DMN and FPN would be associated with diminished mind-wandering. We assessed mind-wandering frequency on the Imaginal Processes Inventory (IPI) in participants with brain injury (n = 29) and healthy comparison participants without brain injury (n = 19). Lesion network mapping analyses showed the strongest association of reduced mind-wandering with the left inferior parietal lobule within the DMN. In addition, traditional lesion symptom mapping results revealed that reduced mind-wandering was associated with lesions of the dorsal, ventral, and anterior sectors of mPFC, parietal lobule, and inferior frontal gyrus in the DMN (p < 0.05 uncorrected). These findings provide novel lesion support for the role of the DMN in mind-wandering and contribute to a burgeoning literature on the neural correlates of spontaneous cognition.

Significance

Adults spend up to 50% of their waking day mind-wandering, which is the process of turning one’s attention inward to focus on self-generated thoughts or feelings. Mind-wandering can have both costs and benefits, such as increased negative mood or enhanced creative problem-solving. In this study, we report novel findings linking reduced mind-wandering with brain injury located within the default mode network. This work is important because it can help us to determine which brain networks are necessary for self-generated cognition, which may improve our understanding of neuropsychiatric conditions associated with altered self-focused thought.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704688/

 

Change the Brain to Improve Chronic Pain with Mindfulness

Change the Brain to Improve Chronic Pain with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“we should consider one’s level of mindfulness when calculating why and how one feels less or more pain.” – Fadel Zeidan

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully it’s mild and short lived. For a wide swath of humanity, however, pain is a constant in their lives. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. Prescription opioid overdoses kill more than 14,000 people annually. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain.

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain. Pain experiences are processed in the nervous system. The nervous system changes in response to how it is used and how it is stimulated in a process called neuroplasticity. Highly used areas grow in size, metabolism, and connectivity. So, the nervous system changes in response to chronic pain. Mindfulness practices in general are known to produce neuroplastic changes in the structure and activity of the brain. So, it’s likely that mindfulness practices somehow alter the brain’s processing of pain.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Network Analysis of Induced Neural Plasticity Post-Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Chronic Pain.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823706/ ) Meier and colleagues recruited adult female patients who were diagnosed with chronic musculoskeletal pain. They were provided a 4-week group program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It met twice a week for 90 minutes. They were measured before and after ACT for pain intensity, pain interference, anxiety, depression, sleep, quality of life, and cognitive ability. ACT was previously found to improve these symptoms of chronic pain.

 

They also had their brains scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (f-MRI). The researchers examined the functional connectivity in 4 brain systems; the pain network, default mode network, frontoparietal network, and salience network. They found that after Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) there were significant reductions in functional connectivity within all four networks.

 

Previous work revealed that the chronic pain patients had very high levels of connectivity in these 4 networks. This hyperconnectivity was interpreted as a neuroplastic change in the brain produced by chronic pain. The present findings that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) reduces this connectivity suggest that ACT normalizes the connectivity in these networks, making it easier for the patients to cope with their pain. This, in turn, improves their mood and quality of life.

 

So, change the brain to improve chronic pain with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness meditation can be used as a tool to create more awareness of the sensation of pain itself, without the judgment or resistance, and the affective and cognitive evaluation that we often project upon it. When we impose a litany of negativity upon our pain, it only becomes worse, and potentially elicits other difficulties including depression and anxiety. When we become more aware of what we are actually experiencing, without the overlay of our judgment, the overall perception of pain is reduced.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Meier, S. K., Ray, K. L., Waller, N. C., Gendron, B. C., Aytur, S. A., & Robin, D. A. (2020). Network Analysis of Induced Neural Plasticity Post-Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Chronic Pain. Brain sciences, 11(1), 10. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010010

 

Abstract

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a costly and prevalent condition that affects the lives of over 50 million individuals in the United States. Chronic pain leads to functional brain changes in those suffering from the condition. Not only does the primary pain network transform as the condition changes from acute to persistent pain, a state of hyper-connectivity also exists between the default mode, frontoparietal, and salience networks. Graph theory analysis has recently been used to investigate treatment-driven brain network changes. For example, current research suggests that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may reduce the chronic pain associated hyper-connectivity between the default mode, frontoparietal, and salience networks, as well as within the salience network. This study extended previous work by examining the associations between the three networks above and a meta-analytically derived pain network. Results indicate decreased connectivity within the pain network (including left putamen, right insula, left insula, and right thalamus) in addition to triple network connectivity changes after the four-week Acceptance and Commitment Therapy intervention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823706/

 

Mindful Attention Produces Different Responses to Sexual Orientation Consistent and Inconsistent Stimuli.

Mindful Attention Produces Different Responses to Sexual Orientation Consistent and Inconsistent Stimuli.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Sometimes people need to play around with the idea of [something] before they can really get a sense of whether this is something that they want to bring into their real-world sex life, so fantasy can be super helpful in that way,” Vanessa Marin

 

Sexual fantasies are nearly universal occurring in both men and women across cultures. But, the purpose of these fantasies or their effects upon sexual behavior and the well-being of the individual have not been well studied. Most heterosexual fantasies are orientation consistent involving fantasized interactions with members of the opposite sex. But occasionally orientation inconsistent fantasies occur involving fantasies about individuals of the same sex. It is not known what are the effects of these orientation consistent and inconsistent fantasies.

 

In today’s Research News article “Understanding heterosexual women’s erotic flexibility: the role of attention in sexual evaluations and neural responses to sexual stimuli.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7308660/ ) Dickinson and colleagues recruited single heterosexual women between the ages of 18 to 35 years. The women evaluated 30 second film clips of male actors masturbating, female actors masturbating, male actors engaging in non-sexual activity and female actors engaging in non-sexual activity. After each clip they answered to what extent they found the clips sexually arousing and to what extent they felt distracted? They also underwent brain scanning with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while watching the videos with mindful attention and not.

 

They found that when practicing mindful attention, the women rated the orientation consistent images significantly more sexually arousing and they were less distracted than the neutral images. On the other hand, when practicing mindful attention, the women rated the orientation inconsistent images significantly less sexually arousing and they were more distracted. When viewing sexual stimuli, the women’s brains showed significant activation in brain areas that are involved in control of the physiology (autonomic nervous system), attention, appraisal, tactual sensitivity, and motor imagery.

 

The findings demonstrate that women react differently to orientation consistent erotic imagery that to orientation inconsistent imagery finding the consistent imagery more arousing and less distracting. These differences are amplified with mindful attention. They also show that the neural responses to the stimuli differ between consistent and inconsistent orientation stimuli suggesting that the attentional and visual processing areas of the women’s brains are activated by consistent but not inconsistent orientation erotic imagery.

 

These findings suggest that women are not erotically flexible. Erotic imagery consistent with their sexual orientation were found to be more arousing psychologically and in brain processing than erotic imagery inconsistent with their orientation. They also suggest that mindfulness amplifies their responses. These types of studies begin to unravel the physical and psychological responses underlying sexuality toward the opposite sex in heterosexual women. These types of responses may support human reproduction and perpetuation of the species.

 

So, mindful attention produces different responses to sexual orientation consistent and inconsistent stimuli.

 

Sex therapists concur, encouraging lovers to observe their erotic thoughts and fantasies non-judgmentally, no matter what their content, and then gently let go of them as lovers return to focusing on giving and receiving pleasure. Just as random thoughts during meditation don’t mean anything, neither do the vast majority of thoughts and fantasies during sex.” – Michael Castleman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Dickenson, J. A., Diamond, L., King, J. B., Jenson, K., & Anderson, J. S. (2020). Understanding heterosexual women’s erotic flexibility: the role of attention in sexual evaluations and neural responses to sexual stimuli. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 15(4), 447–465. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa058

 

Abstract

Many women experience desires, arousal and behavior that run counter to their sexual orientation (orientation inconsistent, ‘OI’). Are such OI sexual experiences cognitively and neurobiologically distinct from those that are consistent with one’s sexual orientation (orientation consistent, ‘OC’)? To address this question, we employed a mindful attention intervention—aimed at reducing judgment and enhancing somatosensory attention—to examine the underlying attentional and neurobiological processes of OC and OI sexual stimuli among predominantly heterosexual women. Women exhibited greater neural activity in response to OC, compared to OI, sexual stimuli in regions associated with implicit visual processing, volitional appraisal and attention. In contrast, women exhibited greater neural activity to OI, relative to OC, sexual stimuli in regions associated with complex visual processing and attentional shifting. Mindfully attending to OC sexual stimuli reduced distraction, amplified women’s evaluations of OC stimuli as sexually arousing and deactivated the superior cerebellum. In contrast, mindfully attending to OI sexual stimuli amplified distraction, decreased women’s evaluations of OI stimuli as sexually arousing and augmented parietal and temporo-occipital activity. Results of the current study constrain hypotheses of female erotic flexibility, suggesting that sexual orientation may be maintained by differences in attentional processing that cannot be voluntarily altered.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7308660/

 

Change the Brain to Improve Emotion Regulation in Bereaved Individuals with Mindfulness

Change the Brain to Improve Emotion Regulation in Bereaved Individuals with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It takes a boat load of self-compassion to allow oneself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at any given time, without judgment, without comparison relative to another’s explicit portrayal of their own process. In this way, to grieve is to be mindful of our thoughts and feelings.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

Grief is a normal, albeit complex, process that follows a loss of a significant person or situation in one’s life. This can involve the death of a loved one, a traumatic experience, termination of a relationship, relationship to a long-missing person, etc. Exactly what transpires depends upon the individual and the nature of the loss. It involves physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive processes. In about 15% of people grief can be overly intense or long and therapeutic intervention may become necessary.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found to help with coping with loss and its consequent grief.  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. Mindfulness training has been shown to change the size, activity and connectivity of brain structures. Hence, MBCT may reduce grief by altering the brain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on bereavement grief: Alterations of resting-state network connectivity associate with changes of anxiety and mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775995/ ) Huang and colleagues recruited adults who had lost a first degree relative within the last 4 years and had unresolved grief. The patients received an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They met weekly for 2.5 hours and were encouraged to practice for 45 minutes daily at home. They were measured before and after the training for grief, generalized anxiety, depression, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. After training they underwent brain functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) at rest and while viewing pictures of faces with either neutral or negative emotional expressions.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) the participants had significant increases in mindfulness, particularly the describing and non-reacting mindfulness facets, and emotion regulation and significant decreases in grief, anxiety, and depression. The brain connectivity as revealed in the fMRI scans changed after MBCT training with decreased connectivity within the Default Mode Network of the brain and connectivity between the Auditory, Visual, Salience, and frontal-parietal networks during rest but not emotion arousal. In addition, the connectivity between the subcortical caudate with the cortex correlated positively with mindfulness and emotion regulation and negatively with anxiety.

 

The Default Mode Network is thought to underly mind wandering and self-referential thinking. So, the decreases in connectivity may signal heightened present moment awareness. In addition, the changes in the connectivity between cortical areas were negatively related to emotion regulation while the connectivity between cortical and subcortical areas were positively related to emotion regulation. This suggests that MBCT training decreased effects of external perception on emotion regulation while increasing the effects of internal sensations.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison, control, condition. So, the passage of time, participant expectancy effects, attentional effects, or experimenter bias may have been responsible for the observed changes. Nevertheless, the results suggest that MBCT training for bereaved patients improves their mental health and reduces grief. The brain scans suggest that the training altered the brain to increase present moment awareness and dependence of the person’s internal state in regulating emotions.

 

So, change the brain to improve emotion regulation in bereaved individuals with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practice is not meant to minimize that pain or to convince people that everything is OK, but rather to help you recognize the reality of your circumstances, and to do so in a nonjudgmental and self-compassionate way.” – Stephanie Pritchard

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Huang, F. Y., Hsu, A. L., Chao, Y. P., Shang, C. M., Tsai, J. S., & Wu, C. W. (2020). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on bereavement grief: Alterations of resting-state network connectivity associate with changes of anxiety and mindfulness. Human brain mapping, 42(2), 510–520. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25240

 

Abstract

Bereavement, the experience of losing a loved one, is one of the most catastrophic but inevitable events in life. It causes grief and intense depression‐like sadness. Recent studies have revealed the effectiveness and proficiency of mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in emotional regulation among bereavement populations. MBCT improves the well‐being of the bereaved by enhancing cognitive performances. Regarding the neural correlates of bereavement grief, previous studies focused on the alleviation of emotion–cognition interferences at specific brain regions. Here, we hypothesized that the bereavement grief fundamentally triggers global alterations in the resting‐state brain networks and part of the internetwork connectivity could be reformed after MBCT intervention. We recruited 19 bereaved individuals who participated the 8‐week MBCT program. We evaluated (a) the large‐scale changes in brain connectivity affected by the MBCT program; as well as (b) the association between connectivity changes and self‐rated questionnaire. First, after MBCT, the bereaved individuals showed the reduction of the internetwork connectivity in the salience, default‐mode and fronto‐parietal networks in the resting state but not under emotional arousal, implying the alleviated attention to spontaneous mind wandering after MBCT. Second, the alterations of functional connectivity between subcortical (e.g., caudate) and cortical networks (e.g., cingulo‐opercular/sensorimotor) were associated with the changes of the mindfulness scale, the anxiety and the emotion regulation ability. In summary, MBCT could enhance spontaneous emotion regulation among the bereaved individuals through the internetwork reorganizations in the resting state.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775995/

 

Change the Brain to Improve Fibromyalgia with Tai Chi

Change the Brain to Improve Fibromyalgia with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“tai chi appears to be as effective or better for managing fibromyalgia . . .  and patients are more likely to attend tai chi classes than aerobic exercise sessions.” – NCCIH

 

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious disorder whose causes are unknown. It is very common affecting over 5 million people in the U.S., about 2% of the population with about 7 times more women affected than men. It is characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, and fatigue that lead to psychological distress. Fibromyalgia may also have morning stiffness, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, headaches, including migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disturbances, thinking and memory problems, and painful menstrual periods. The symptoms are so severe and debilitating that about half the patients are unable to perform routine daily functions and about a third have to stop work. Although it is not itself fatal, suicide rates are higher in fibromyalgia sufferers. Clearly, fibromyalgia greatly reduces the quality of life of its’ sufferers.

 

There are no completely effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Symptoms are generally treated with pain relievers, antidepressant drugs and exercise. But these only reduce the severity of the symptoms and do not treat the disease directly. Mindfulness practices have also been shown to be effective in reducing pain from fibromyalgiaTai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with fibromyalgia where exercise can produce painful flares.

 

In general, mindfulness practices both produce psychological and physical benefits and also change the structure and connectivity of the brain. Indeed, Tai Chi practice has been shown to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. So, Tai Chi may be beneficial for fibromyalgia by altering the brain systems involved in the disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “Altered resting state functional connectivity of the cognitive control network in fibromyalgia and the modulation effect of mind-body intervention.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214794/ ) Kong and colleagues recruited adult patients with fibromyalgia and a group of age, gender, and body size matched controls. The fibromyalgia patients received Tai Chi practice twice a week for 1-hour for 12 weeks. All participants underwent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of their brains before and after the 12-week period and also completed measures of depression, and fibromyalgia impact, including function, overall impact, and symptom severity.

 

They found that after Tai Chi training there was a significant improvement in the fibromyalgia patients’ depression, and fibromyalgia impact, including function, overall impact, and symptom severity. They examined a set of connected brain structures (frontal gyrus, parietal gyrus, and anterior cingulate cortex) called the cognitive control network. At baseline, the fibromyalgia patients had significantly greater levels of resting functional connectivity between the structures in this network. After 12 weeks of Tai Chi practice the functional connectivity between the structures in the cognitive control network were further significantly increased. In addition, they found that the greater the increase in functional connectivity the greater the improvement in overall fibromyalgia symptoms.

 

The ability of Tai Chi to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia has been documented preciously. The contribution of the present study is to document the differences in the brains of fibromyalgia patients and healthy people and the changes in the brain of these patients that occur with Tai Chi practice. In particular the cognitive control network had increased functional connectivity in these patients and that connectivity increased significantly after Tai Chi practice. This may indicate the neural mechanism by which Tai Chi practice improves fibromyalgia symptoms. The fact that the amount of connectivity change was associated with the degree of improvement, supports this inference.

 

The baseline difference in connectivity may indicate that the way the patients’ brains adapted to help deal with the impact of fibromyalgia and Tai Chi practice further improved this adaptation. The cognitive control network is involved in high level thinking, attention, and executive control. Hence, these patients may be employing high level thought processes including the allocation of attention to help deal with the disease and Tai Chi practice further improves their ability to do this. It has been shown that attention to the pain in the present moment while not thinking about its past occurrences or worrying about the future reduces the severity of the pain. This may be what the brain is doing to help cope with fibromyalgia symptoms; using attention to mitigate the pain.

 

So, change the brain to improve fibromyalgia with Tai Chi

 

subjects with fibromyalgia, reported benefits (compared with control groups or before/after comparisons) of Tai Chi in core symptom domains for this condition (pain, sleep, impact, physical function and mental function).” – Jana Sawynok

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kong, J., Wolcott, E., Wang, Z., Jorgenson, K., Harvey, W. F., Tao, J., Rones, R., & Wang, C. (2019). Altered resting state functional connectivity of the cognitive control network in fibromyalgia and the modulation effect of mind-body intervention. Brain imaging and behavior, 13(2), 482–492. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11682-018-9875-3

 

Abstract

This study examines altered resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) of the cognitive control network (CCN) in fibromyalgia patients as compared to healthy controls, as well as how effective interventions, such as Tai Chi, can modulate the altered rsFC of the CCN. Patients with fibromyalgia and matched healthy subjects were recruited in this study. Fibromyalgia patients were scanned 12 weeks before and after intervention. The bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was used as a seed to explore the rsFC of the CCN. Data analysis was conducted with 21 patients and 20 healthy subjects. Compared to healthy subjects, fibromyalgia patients exhibited increased rsFC between the DLPFC and the bilateral rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) at baseline. The rsFC between the CCN and rACC/MPFC further increased after Tai Chi intervention, and this increase was accompanied by clinical improvements. This rsFC change was also significantly associated with corresponding changes in the Overall Impact domain of the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR). Further analysis showed that the rACC/MPFC rsFC with both the PAG and hippocampus significantly decreased following Tai Chi intervention. Our study suggests that fibromyalgia is associated with altered CCN rsFC and that effective treatment may elicit clinical improvements by further increasing this altered rsFC. Elucidating this mechanism of enhancing the allostasis process may deepen our understanding of the mechanisms underlying mind-body intervention non-pharmacological treatment of fibromyalgia and facilitate the development of new pain management methods.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214794/

 

Spirituality Activates the Brain Networks Underlying Other-Than-Self Attention

Spirituality Activates the Brain Networks Underlying Other-Than-Self Attention

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Understanding the neural bases of spiritual experiences may help us better understand their roles in resilience and recovery from mental health and addictive disorders.” – Ephrat Livni

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred.” It has been shown to have a myriad of benefits including recovery from addiction.  In addition, spirituality alters the nervous system. It has been demonstrated that spirituality is associated with changes in the size, activity, and connectivity of the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain. So, spirituality and changes in neural systems co-occur. We may be better able to control addiction if we develop a more nuanced understanding of the changes in the brain that occur with spirituality.

 

In today’s Research News article “Spiritual experiences are related to engagement of a ventral frontotemporal functional brain network: Implications for prevention and treatment of behavioral and substance addictions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7044576/ ) McClintock and colleagues recruited healthy adult, age 18 to 27 years, participants and scanned their brains with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while they were being guided toward images of either neutral, stressful, or spiritual imagery. Before and after testing they completed a measure of spirituality.

 

They found that during spiritual but not neutral or stressful imagery there was a significant increase in the activity of brain structures that constitute a ventral frontotemporal network, including middle and inferior frontal cortices, superior, middle and inferior temporal cortices, insula and frontal opercula, striatum, thalamus, brainstem, and cerebellum. The greater the increase in spirituality reported over the testing, the greater the increase in the activity of the ventral frontotemporal network. Hence, the more the imagery increased their spiritual feelings, the greater the response of the brain. They also found that there was a significant decrease in activity in areas of the brain that are components of the default mode network, including the middle and posterior cingulate and parietal cortex.

 

These findings suggest that the ventral frontotemporal network is activated during spiritual imagery while components of the default mode network are deactivated. The ventral frontotemporal network has been associated with attentional processing while the default mode network has been associated with self-referential thinking and mind wandering. It can be speculated that during spiritual imagery attention is focused away from the self. Regardless, the findings suggest that specific parts of the brain are involved in processing spiritual imagery.

 

So, spirituality activates the brain networks underlying other-than-self attention.

 

it’s essential to examine how people experience spirituality in order to fully understand how their brains work.” – Lynne Blumberg

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

McClintock, C. H., Worhunsky, P. D., Xu, J., Balodis, I. M., Sinha, R., Miller, L., & Potenza, M. N. (2019). Spiritual experiences are related to engagement of a ventral frontotemporal functional brain network: Implications for prevention and treatment of behavioral and substance addictions. Journal of behavioral addictions, 8(4), 678–691. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.8.2019.71

 

Abstract

Background and aims

Spirituality is an important component of 12-step programs for behavioral and substance addictions and has been linked to recovery processes. Understanding the neural correlates of spiritual experiences may help to promote efforts to enhance recovery processes in behavioral addictions. We recently used general linear model (GLM) analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging data to examine neural correlates of spiritual experiences, with findings implicating cortical and subcortical brain regions. Although informative, the GLM-based approach does not provide insight into brain circuits that may underlie spiritual experiences.

Methods

Spatial independent component analysis (sICA) was used to identify functional brain networks specifically linked to spiritual (vs. stressful or neutral-relaxing) conditions using a previously validated guided imagery task in 27 young adults.

Results

Using sICA, engagement of a ventral frontotemporal network was identified that was engaged at the onset and conclusion of the spiritual condition in a manner distinct from engagement during the stress or neutral-relaxing conditions. Degree of engagement correlated with subjective reports of spirituality in the scanner (r = .71, p < .001) and an out-of-the-magnet measure of spirituality (r = .48, p < .018).

Discussion and conclusion

The current findings suggest a distributed functional neural network associated with spiritual experiences and provide a foundation for investigating brain mechanisms underlying the role of spirituality in recovery from behavioral addictions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7044576/

 

Improve the Brain for Better Emotions with Mindfulness

Improve the Brain for Better Emotions with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditation affects the brain. . .  four regions of meditators’ brains associated with healthy brain function become more substantial, while one of the areas associated with undesirable behavior actually shrinks.” – Mindworks

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. There are a number of ways that mindfulness practices produce these benefits, including changes to the brain and physiology.

 

The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity. Over the last decade neuroscience has been studying the effects of contemplative practices on the brain and has identified neuroplastic changes in widespread areas. In other words, mindfulness practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits. It is not clear, however, what effects brief mindfulness training might have on temperament and the brain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Brief Mindfulness Meditation Induces Gray Matter Changes in a Brain Hub.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704181/ ) Tang and colleagues recruited healthy meditation-naïve college students and randomly assigned them to receive 30 minutes for 20 consecutive days of either Integrative Body-Mind Training or relaxation training. Before and after training they were measured for temperament, including effortful control, negative affect, extraversion/surgency, and orienting sensitivity, and underwent brain scanning with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that in comparison to the relaxation group and the baseline after training the mindfulness group had a significant increase in the volume of the ventral posterior cingulate cortex in the brain. They also found that the greater the increase in the volume of the ventral posterior cingulate cortex the greater the decrease in negative emotions in the participant. So, 20 days of mindfulness training increased ventral posterior cingulate cortex volume which was, in turn, associated with lower levels of negative emotions.

 

The ventral posterior cingulate cortex is a component of the default mode network in the brain that is associated with emotion processing, self-referential thinking, and mind wandering. Mindfulness training has been shown previously to produce improvements in emotions including more positive and less negative emotions. This suggests that 20 days of mindfulness training reduces negative emotions by producing neuroplastic changes in the default mode network of the brain.

 

So, change the brain for better emotions with mindfulness.

 

the brains of subjects thickened after an eight-week meditation course.” – Harvard Gazette

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tang, R., Friston, K. J., & Tang, Y. Y. (2020). Brief Mindfulness Meditation Induces Gray Matter Changes in a Brain Hub. Neural plasticity, 2020, 8830005. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/8830005

 

Abstract

Previous studies suggest that the practice of long-term (months to years) mindfulness meditation induces structural plasticity in gray matter. However, it remains unknown whether short-term (<30 days) mindfulness meditation in novices could induce similar structural changes. Our previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) identified white matter changes surrounding the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) within 2 to 4 weeks, following 5-10 h of mindfulness training. Furthermore, these changes were correlated with emotional states in healthy adults. The PCC is a key hub in the functional anatomy implicated in meditation and other perspectival processes. In this longitudinal study using a randomized design, we therefore examined the effect of a 10 h of mindfulness training, the Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) on gray matter volume of the PCC compared to an active control—relaxation training (RT). We found that brief IBMT increased ventral PCC volume and that baseline temperamental trait—an index of individual differences was associated with a reduction in training-induced gray matter increases. Our findings indicate that brief mindfulness meditation induces gray matter plasticity, suggesting that structural changes in ventral PCC—a key hub associated with self-awareness, emotion, cognition, and aging—may have important implications for protecting against mood-related disorders and aging-related cognitive declines.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704181/

 

Tai Chi Practice Changes the Brain Differently than Walking

Tai Chi Practice Changes the Brain Differently than Walking

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“tai chi appears to improve executive function—the ability to multitask, manage time, and make decisions—in people without any cognitive decline.” – Harvard Health

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation,  yoga, and Tai Chi have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. So, it makes sense to further study the effects of Tai Chi training on the brains of older adults.

 

In today’s Research News article “Differential Effects of Tai Chi Chuan (Motor-Cognitive Training) and Walking on Brain Networks: A Resting-State fMRI Study in Chinese Women Aged 60.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151113/ ) Yue and colleagues recruited older women (over 60 years of age) who were long-term practitioners of Tai Chi or walking and scanned their brains with functional Magnetic Imaging (fMRI).

 

They examined 3 brain networks, the Default Mode Network, the Sensory Motor Network, and the Visual Network and found significant differences in the functional connectivity within these networks between the Tai Chi and walking groups. This suggests that the two exercises change the brains information processing in these women. They suggest that the brains of the older women went through neuroplastic changes as a result of their practices with different changes in different systems depending on the exercise.

 

There is evidence that physical fitness reduces the likelihood of dementia and Tai Chi practice has been shown to reduce the likelihood or severity of age-related cognitive decline. The observed changes, particularly in the Default Mode Network, which is known to be associated with memory and thinking, may underlie the effectiveness of these exercises in reducing the incidence of age-related cognitive decline and dementia. It remains for future research to determine which of the observed changes in the brains are responsible for retaining mental ability with aging.

 

Tai Chi practice is not strenuous, involves slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi practice an excellent means to maintain fitness with aging and help maintain a fit mind and body.

 

So, Tai Chi practice changes the brain differently than walking.

 

Scientists . . . found increases in brain volume and improvements on tests of memory and thinking in Chinese seniors who practiced Tai Chi.” – ScienceDaily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yue, C., Zhang, Y., Jian, M., Herold, F., Yu, Q., Mueller, P., Lin, J., Wang, G., Tao, Y., Zhang, Z., & Zou, L. (2020). Differential Effects of Tai Chi Chuan (Motor-Cognitive Training) and Walking on Brain Networks: A Resting-State fMRI Study in Chinese Women Aged 60. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 8(1), 67. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8010067

 

Abstract

Background: This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate whether a long-term engagement in different types of physical exercise may influence resting-state brain networks differentially. In particular, we studied if there were differences in resting-state functional connectivity measures when comparing older women who are long-term practitioners of tai chi chuan or walking. Method: We recruited 20 older women who regularly practiced tai chi chuan (TCC group), and 22 older women who walked regularly (walking group). Both the TCC group and the walking group underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) scan. The acquired rs-fMRI data of all participants were analyzed using independent component analysis. Age and years of education were added as co-variables. Results: There were significant differences in default network, sensory-motor network, and visual network of rs-fMRI between the TCC group and walking group (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The findings of the current study suggested that long-term practice of different types of physical exercises (TCC vs. walking) influenced brain functional networks and brain functional plasticity of elderly women differentially. Our findings encourage further research to investigate whether those differences in resting-state functional connectivity as a function of the type of physical exercise have implications for the prevention of neurological diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151113/

 

Poor Mental Health in Patients with Fibromyalgia is Associated with Brain Systems

Poor Mental Health in Patients with Fibromyalgia is Associated with Brain Systems

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

practicing mindfulness techniques may be a low-cost, side effect free option for people wishing to reduce the severity of their fibromyalgia.” – Kim Jones

 

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious disorder whose causes are unknown. It is very common affecting over 5 million people in the U.S., about 2% of the population with about 7 times more women affected than men. It is characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, and fatigue that lead to psychological distress. Fibromyalgia may also have morning stiffness, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, headaches, including migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disturbances, thinking and memory problems, and painful menstrual periods. The symptoms are so severe and debilitating that about half the patients are unable to perform routine daily functions and about a third have to stop work. Although it is not itself fatal, suicide rates are higher in fibromyalgia sufferers. Clearly, fibromyalgia greatly reduces the quality of life of its’ sufferers.

 

There are no completely effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Symptoms are generally treated with pain relievers, antidepressant drugs and exercise. But these only reduce the severity of the symptoms and do not treat the disease directly. Mindfulness practices have also been shown to be effective in reducing pain from fibromyalgia. Some of the effects of mindfulness practices are to alter thought processes, changing what is thought about. In terms of pain, mindfulness training, by focusing attention on the present moment has been shown to reduce worry and catastrophizing. Pain is increased by worry about the pain and the expectation of greater pain in the future. Brain systems are involved in pain processing. It is not known, however, what brain systems may be involved in the psychological effects of fibromyalgia.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis as a Brain Correlate of Psychological Inflexibility in Fibromyalgia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7074535/ ) Feliu-Soler and colleagues recruited adult women who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia and assigned them to either treatment as usual or to receive and 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). They were measured before and after the program for psychological inflexibility in pain, functional impairment, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, pain catastrophizing, mindfulness, and self-compassion. They also underwent measurements of the gray matter volume in the brain with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that the higher the levels of psychological inflexibility in pain, the higher the gray matter volume of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Further they found that the higher the gray matter volume of the BNST the higher the levels of functional impairment, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and pain catastrophizing and the lower the levels of mindfulness and self-compassion. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program did not significantly alter the BNST volume or psychological inflexibility in pain.

 

These results are correlative and as such caution must be exercised in causal inferences. It was disappointing that mindfulness training did not produce a change in either psychological inflexibility or BNST volume. But the results are clear that the gray matter volume of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is associated with poor mental health in patients with fibromyalgia. This brain structure is associated with physiological and psychological responses to stress. Since, the constant pain associated with fibromyalgia is very stressful it is not surprising that enlargement of the BNST would be associated with poor mental health in these patients.

 

So, poor mental health in patients with fibromyalgia is associated with brain systems.

 

being overly observant of symptoms or trying to avoid pain can actually contribute towards the development of fibromyalgia and worsen the existing symptoms. Mindfulness practice can actually change the way you relate to your pain, . . the mindfulness group showed less avoidant and hypervigilance behaviour, supporting the idea that mindfulness encourages a non-judgemental and accepting relationship with pain, rather than trying to push it away.” – Vidyamala Burch

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Feliu-Soler, A., Martínez-Zalacaín, I., Pérez-Aranda, A., Borràs, X., Andrés-Rodríguez, L., Sanabria-Mazo, J. P., Fayed, N., Stephan-Otto, C., Núñez, C., Soriano-Mas, C., & Luciano, J. V. (2020). The Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis as a Brain Correlate of Psychological Inflexibility in Fibromyalgia. Journal of clinical medicine, 9(2), 374. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9020374

 

Abstract

This study explored the brain structural correlates of psychological flexibility (PF) as measured with the Psychological Inflexibility in Pain Scale (PIPS) in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). Structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 47 FM patients were used to identify Gray Matter Volume (GMV) alterations related to PIPS scores. Brain GMV clusters related to PIPS were then correlated with clinical and cognitive variables to further explore how emerged brain clusters were intertwined with FM symptomatology. Longitudinal changes in PIPS-related brain clusters values were assessed by studying pre–post data from 30 patients (15 allocated to a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program and 15 to treatment-as-usual). Changes in PIPS-related brain clusters were also explored in participants showing greater/lower longitudinal changes in PIPS scores. PIPS scores were positively associated with GMV in a bilateral cluster in the ventral part of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Significant associations between BNST cluster with functional impairment, depressive symptomatology, perceived stress and the nonjudging mindfulness facet were observed. Participants reporting greater pre–post increases in PIPS scores showed greater increases in BNST cluster values. These findings contribute to the understanding on the neurobiological bases of PF in FM and encourage further explorations of the role of the BNST in chronic pain.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7074535/

 

Improve Stress-Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders with Yoga and Mindfulness

Improve Stress-Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders with Yoga and Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness training holds promise for treating mood disorders partly because it may lead to changes in patients’ brains, improving connectivity among some brain areas and changing tissue density in key regions, research suggests.” – Stacy Lu

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mentalphysical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children, to adolescents, to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalitiesrace, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Meditation and yoga training have been shown to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. Meditation and yoga appear to improve the individual’s ability to cope with stress and stress is the source of or aggravates many mental disorders. There are a number of ways that meditation and yoga practices produce these benefits, including changes to the brain and physiology. It is useful to review and summarize what has been discovered regarding how meditation and yoga practices improve mental disorders.

 

In today’s Research News article “Role of Yoga and Meditation as Complimentary Therapeutic Regime for Stress-Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Utilization of Brain Waves Activity as Novel Tool.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7545749/ ) Kaushik and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of meditation and yoga for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

 

They report that the published research finds that stress is highly related to anxiety and depression and that meditation and yoga practices, including breathing exercises and postures, significantly reduce perceived stress, anxiety, and depression. They further report that meditation and yoga may produce these improvements by increasing brain activity particularly in the frontal regions of the brain. They also report that meditation and yoga produce very few if any deleterious side effects.

 

Previous research has conclusively demonstrated that mindfulness practices in general are safe and effective in altering the electrical activity of the brain and reducing perceived stress, anxiety, and depression. It can be speculated that meditation and yoga reduce the responses to stress by altering brain activity and this, in turn, produces improvements in anxiety and depression. It remains for future research to investigate this model. Regardless, the employment of meditation and yoga practices for neuropsychiatric conditions has been shown to be safe and effective alternative treatments for the relief of the suffering of these patients.

 

So, improve stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders with yoga and mindfulness.

 

mindfulness has become a household word, and the psychiatric and psychological literature abound with publications implementing mindfulness as a treatment or self-help tool for everything that ails you.” – John J. Miller

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kaushik, M., Jain, A., Agarwal, P., Joshi, S. D., & Parvez, S. (2020). Role of Yoga and Meditation as Complimentary Therapeutic Regime for Stress-Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Utilization of Brain Waves Activity as Novel Tool. Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine, 25, 2515690X20949451. https://doi.org/10.1177/2515690X20949451

 

Abstract

During recent decades, stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, chronic tension headache, and migraine have established their stronghold in the lives of a vast number of people worldwide. In order to address this global phenomenon, intensive studies have been carried out leading to the advancement of drugs like anti-depressants, anxiolytics, and analgesics which although help in combating the symptoms of such disorders but also create long-term side effects. Thus, as an alternative to such clinical practices, various complementary therapies such as yoga and meditation have been proved to be effective in alleviating the causes and symptoms of different neuropsychiatric disorders. The role of altered brain waves in this context has been recognized and needs to be pursued at the highest level. Thus, the current study provides a review focused on describing the effects of yoga and meditation on anxiety and depression as well as exploring brain waves as a tool for assessing the potential of these complementary therapies for such disorders.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7545749/