Improved Psychological Well-Being and Cognition is Reported by Adult who Engage in Microdosing of Psychedelic Substances

Improved Psychological Well-Being and Cognition is Reported by Adult who Engage in Microdosing of Psychedelic Substances

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“After a 40-year moratorium, the psychedelic renaissance has begun: rigorous scientific methods can now be used to investigate psychedelics as potential medicines and for “the betterment of well people”. – Thomas Anderson

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

Recently doses of psychedelic substances that are small enough that they do not produce psychedelic effects (microdoses) have been employed repeatedly in real world settings. They have been reported to produce reductions in the symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve cognitive function, and promote social interaction. But there is little systematic research on the effects of repeated psychedelic microdosing.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282936/ ) Cameron and colleagues recruited adult volunteers to complete an anonymous online survey of “Recreational Drug and Alcohol Use”. The survey requested information regarding familiarity with psychedelic microdosing. personal practices, drugs used, and any changes observed in depression, anxiety, memory, sociability, focus/attention, and physical health.

 

They found that of the 2347 respondents the majority (59%) were familiar with psychedelic microdosing but only 13 % ever practiced it and only 4% were currently practicing. LSD and Psilocybin were the most common drugs used in microdosing. Males, veterans, and less educated participants were significantly more likely to practice psychedelic microdosing.

 

In comparison to participants who did not microdose, those that did reported significantly greater reductions in depression anxiety and greater improvements in memory, attention, and sociability. Males again reported the greatest improvements. The majority of the participants who stopped microdosing attributed it to difficulty in obtaining the drugs and their legal riskiness.

 

These results were produced by an anonymous survey and there was no way to ascertain the veracity of the responses. In addition, there were no comparison to other spontaneously used drugs to determine demand characteristics or placebo effects. Hence, the results are from a self-selected sample, have strong expectancy effect, and with no objective verification of the responses. So, these results must be viewed as preliminary. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that psychedelic microdosing is viewed by those engaging in it as beneficial for their psychological well-being and cognitive ability. These are interesting results that suggest that further investigation in warranted to determine if this practicemay be useful in improving well-being.

 

So, improved psychological well-being and cognition is reported by adult who engage in microdosing of psychedelic substances.

 

We have an epidemic of mental health problems, with existing treatments that don’t work for everyone. We need to follow the lead of patients who are taking these initiatives to improve their wellbeing and reduce suffering.” – Zach Walsh

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Cameron, L. P., Nazarian, A., & Olson, D. E. (2020). Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 52(2), 113–122. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2020.1718250

 

Abstract

Anecdotal reports suggest that the administration of sub-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelic compounds on a chronic, intermittent schedule—a practice known as psychedelic microdosing—is becoming increasingly popular among young adults due to its purported ability to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety while improving cognitive function and promoting social interaction. Using an anonymous online survey, we collected data from 2347 people to 1) assess the prevalence of psychedelic microdosing and characterize the demographics of microdosers, 2) determine whether microdosers associate the practice with changes in mood, cognitive function, social interaction, or physiology, and 3) investigate frequent motives for discontinuing the practice. Fifty-nine percent of respondents (NT = 2183) reported familiarity with the concept of psychedelic microdosing, with 17% (383 respondents, NT=2200) having engaged in this practice. Microdosers attributed psychedelic microdosing with improving their mood, decreasing their anxiety, and enhancing their memory, attention, and sociability. The most frequently cited reasons for quitting microdosing (NT = 243) were the risks associated with taking an illegal substance (24.28%) and the difficulty of obtaining psychedelic compounds (22.63%). Overall, our findings suggest that psychedelic microdosing is relatively common and is subjectively associated with a broad spectrum of socio-affective, cognitive, and physical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282936/

Strengthen the Brain and Improve Cognition in Older Adults with Mindfulness

Strengthen the Brain and Improve Cognition in Older Adults with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness training, with its emphasis on present-focused attention and regulation of the habitual, reflexive tendencies of the mind, has the potential to enhance cognitive control operations in the elderly and the neural circuitry associated with it.” – Ruchika S Prakash

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline of the body and the brain. Every system in the body deteriorates including cognitive function (thinking ability) and motor function with a decline in strength, flexibility, and balance. There is some hope as there is evidence that these declines can be slowed. For example, a healthy diet and a regular program of exercise can slow the physical and cognitive decline of the body with aging. Also, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline. Research has 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 and yoga have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training Improves Cognition and Strengthens Intrinsic Connectivity Between the Hippocampus and Posteromedial Cortex in Healthy Older Adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8430251/ ) Sevinc and colleagues recruited healthy elderly participants (aged 65 to 80 years) who were evaluated as cognitively normal and randomly assigned them to receive either mindfulness training or cognitive fitness training. Mindfulness training was delivered in 8 weekly 105 minute sessions and was modelled after the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program containing training in meditation, body scan, and yoga along with discussion and daily home practice. The cognitive fitness training consisted of 8 weekly 1-hour sessions of word finding and crossword puzzle solving along with home puzzle solving. They were measured before and after training for memory and cognitive performance. In addition, their brains were scanned before and after training with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline the group that received mindfulness training had significant increases in cognitive performance, primarily due to episodic memory improvement, while the cognitive fitness training group did not. The brain scans revealed that the mindfulness group had increased functional connectivity between the hippocampus and the angular gyrus. Additionally, the improved cognitive performance after mindfulness training was associated with increased connectivity between the precuneus and the hippocampus.

 

The findings suggest that mindfulness training improves cognition in cognitively intact elderly individuals. This may be why mindfulness training has been shown to reduce age related cognitive decline and dementia. The results also suggest that these improvements in cognition may be related to changes in the connectivity of the brain. The observed changes produced by mindfulness training were in the connectivity between the hippocampus and the precuneus and between the hippocampus and the angular gyrus. These are structures included in what is known as the brain’s default mode network, which is known to have decreased activity in association with age-related cognitive decline. So, the improved connectivity may indicate that mindfulness training protects the brain from deterioration associated with aging and this may be responsible for improved cognition in the elderly.

 

So, strengthen the brain and improve cognition in older adults with mindfulness.

 

recent research suggests about how mindfulness meditation practice may help keep aging brains fit and functional.” – Grace Bullock

 

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

 

Sevinc, G., Rusche, J., Wong, B., Datta, T., Kaufman, R., Gutz, S. E., Schneider, M., Todorova, N., Gaser, C., Thomalla, G., Rentz, D., Dickerson, B. D., & Lazar, S. W. (2021). Mindfulness Training Improves Cognition and Strengthens Intrinsic Connectivity Between the Hippocampus and Posteromedial Cortex in Healthy Older Adults. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 13, 702796. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2021.702796

 

Abstract

Maintaining optimal cognitive functioning throughout the lifespan is a public health priority. Evaluation of cognitive outcomes following interventions to promote and preserve brain structure and function in older adults, and associated neural mechanisms, are therefore of critical importance. In this randomized controlled trial, we examined the behavioral and neural outcomes following mindfulness training (n = 72), compared to a cognitive fitness program (n = 74) in healthy, cognitively normal, older adults (65–80 years old). To assess cognitive functioning, we used the Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC), which combines measures of episodic memory, executive function, and global cognition. We hypothesized that mindfulness training would enhance cognition, increase intrinsic functional connectivity measured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) between the hippocampus and posteromedial cortex, as well as promote increased gray matter volume within those regions. Following the 8-week intervention, the mindfulness training group showed improved performance on the PACC, while the control group did not. Furthermore, following mindfulness training, greater improvement on the PACC was associated with a larger increase in intrinsic connectivity within the default mode network, particularly between the right hippocampus and posteromedial cortex and between the left hippocampus and lateral parietal cortex. The cognitive fitness training group did not show such effects. These findings demonstrate that mindfulness training improves cognitive performance in cognitively intact older individuals and strengthens connectivity within the default mode network, which is particularly vulnerable to aging affects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8430251/

 

Improve Working Memory and Increase Brain Activity with a Single Focused Meditation in Novice Meditators

Improve Working Memory and Increase Brain Activity with a Single Focused Meditation in Novice Meditators

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Regular meditation increases blood flow to the brain, which leads to a stronger network of blood vessels in the cerebral cortex and reinforces memory capacity.” – Mindworks

 

Humans have both an amazing capacity to remember and a tremendously limited capacity depending upon which phase of the memory process. Our long-term store of information is virtually unlimited. On the other hand, short-term memory is extremely limited. This is called our working memory and it can contain only about 5 to 9 pieces of information at a time. This fact of a limited working memory store shapes a great deal about how we think, summarize, and categorize our world.

 

Memory ability is so important to everyday human functioning that it is important to study ways to maintain or improve it. Mindfulness has been shown to improve working memory capacity. Since the brain is responsible for working memory, the effects of mindfulness training on working memory must in some way be altering the brain. One way to observe the effects of meditation on the nervous system is to measure changes in the functional near‐infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), which measures blood flow to brain areas. Hence, it makes sense to observe the effects of meditation on working memory and its association with cerebral flows.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of one-session focused attention meditation on the working memory capacity of meditation novices: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8413779/ ) Yamaya and colleagues recruited adult meditation naïve university students and randomly assigned them to practice for 15 minutes focused breath following meditation or listen to disconnected random conversations. During the 15-minute intervention period cerebral blood flow was measured with functional near‐infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). They were also measured 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the 15-minute intervention period for working (short-term) memory.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the random thinking control group, the group that performed focused meditation had a significant increase in working memory capacity and a significant increase in cerebral blood flow to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. They found that the working memory change and the cerebral blood flow change were significantly correlated such that the greater the increase in cerebral blood flow, the greater the increase in working memory.

 

The results are interesting that a single 15-minute meditation by meditation naïve participants immediately increases working memory. The results further suggest that this memory improvement is associated with an increase in the flow of blood to a particular brain area, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, that has been shown to be involved in focused attention. This suggests that focused meditation activates the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which improves working memory.

 

The very short-term nature of the study precludes any neuroplastic changes in the brain. But previous research has found that longer-term meditation produces long-term changes in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. It is unfortunate that in the present study there wasn’t a follow up to determine if the effects of the single 15-minute meditation were immediate and transitory or persisted for a period of time. Regardless, the results may provide a glimpse as to how meditation changes brain systems and in turn memory.

 

So, improve working memory and increase brain activity with a single focused meditation in novice meditators.

 

the mindfulness group had significantly less proactive interference during the memory test compared to the writing group, indicating an improvement in short-term memory.” – Jill Suttie

 

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

 

Yamaya, N., Tsuchiya, K., Takizawa, I., Shimoda, K., Kitazawa, K., & Tozato, F. (2021). Effect of one-session focused attention meditation on the working memory capacity of meditation novices: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study. Brain and behavior, 11(8), e2288. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.2288

 

Abstract

Introduction

Previous studies have revealed that one‐session focused attention meditation (FAM) can improve top‐down attention control, which is one of the factors of working memory capacity (WMC). In addition, FAM shares various neural substrates, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), with WMC. Thus, we hypothesized that one‐session FAM would improve WMC by activating the DLPFC evoked by the top‐down attention control. In this study, we examined whether FAM modified WMC in individuals with little to no meditation experience.

Methods

The participants were randomly assigned to either the FAM group (N = 13) or the control group (N = 17) who engaged in random thinking (i.e., mind‐wandering). Before and after each 15‐min intervention, the participants’ WMC was measured according to the total number of correct answers in the Reading Span Test. During each intervention, functional near‐infrared spectroscopy was employed to measure the blood flow in the participants’ DLPFC and determine the top‐down attention control effect.

Results

In the FAM group, WMC increased, and the bilateral DLPFC was activated during the intervention. As for the control group, WMC decreased after the intervention, and the bilateral DLPFC was not activated during the intervention. A correlation was also found among all participants between the increase in WMC and the activation of the bilateral DLPFC.

Conclusion

The study findings suggest that top‐down attention control during FAM can activate the bilateral DLPFC and increase WMC among meditation novices.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8413779/

 

Improve Reaction Time and Memory and Lose Weight with Yoga

Improve Reaction Time and Memory and Lose Weight with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga practice seems to be associated with moderate improvements in cognitive function.” – Neha Gothe

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and also improves cognitive flexibility. Yoga practice has been shown to have a large number of beneficial effects on the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual and is helpful in the treatment of mental and physical illness. Yoga practice has been shown to improve both social–emotional and cognitive skills.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of 12 Weeks of Yogic Training on Neurocognitive Variables: A Quasi-Experimental Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8117916/ ) Chatterjee and colleagues recruited healthy adults and assigned them to receive either 6-days per week for 12 weeks of yoga practice or to a wait-list control group. Yoga practice started at 45 minutes per day at the start of training increasing systematically to 105 minutes by the 12th week. They were measured before during and after training for body size, visual and auditory reaction time, and for short-term memory.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that practiced yoga had a significant weight loss, increase in short-term memory, and decrease in visual and auditory reaction times.

 

In interpreting these findings, it should be recognized that the comparison, control, condition was passive and as such there is a possibility that the observed changes were due to participant expectancies, experimenter bias, attention effects, etc. In addition, the control condition did not involve any physical activity. So, it is possible that the benefits seen were due to the exercise provided by the yoga practice rather than anything specific to yoga. But clearly the two groups had different response over the course of treatment. In addition, yoga practice has been shown in controlled research to improve cognitive performance and memory. So, the results probably result from the effects of the practice.

 

So, improve reaction time and memory and lose weight with yoga.

 

taking up yoga may be a good way to maintain your brain health by increasing physical activity and possibly also alleviating stress.” – Yuko Hara

 

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

 

Chatterjee, S., Mondal, S., & Singh, D. (2021). Effect of 12 Weeks of Yogic Training on Neurocognitive Variables: A Quasi-Experimental Study. Indian journal of community medicine : official publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine, 46(1), 112–116. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijcm.IJCM_325_20

 

Abstract

Background:

Neurocognitive abilities are the brain-mind skills needed to initiate any task from the simplest to the most complex, decreases with advancing age. Attention, alertness, and memory are the basic neurocognitive functions most affected by age. There are potential benefits of yoga on neurocognitive functions because this ancient Indian technique positively nurtures the mind-body systems.

Aim of the Study:

The present study was aimed to evaluate the effect of 12 weeks of yogic training on neurocognitive abilities in a middle-aged group.

Methods:

A total of 86 volunteers (46 male and 40 females, age group of 35–55 years), with no prior experience of yoga were participated in this study. Five male and 4 female participants were excluded from the study. All participants divided into yoga training group (male = 21 and female = 18) and control group (male = 20 and female = 18). The yoga training group underwent yoga practices, including kriya, surya namaskar, asana, pranayama, and dhyana daily in the morning, for 6 days/week, for 12 weeks. Standing height, body weight, body mass index, visual reaction time (RT), auditory RT (attention and alertness), and short-term memory were assessed day 1 (pre), 6th week (mid), and 12th weeks (post) of intervention.

Results:

Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed that a statistically significant increased (P < 0.05) in attention-alertness and short-term memory after 12 weeks of yogic practices.

Conclusion:

Integrated approach of yogic intervention may have promising effect on neurocognitive abilities that concomitantly promote successful aging.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8117916/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Dementia Patient and Caregiver Outcomes

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Dementia Patient and Caregiver Outcomes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Research has shown preliminary but promising results for mindfulness-based interventions to benefit people with dementia and caregivers.” – Lotte Berk

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. Dementia patients require caregiving particularly in the later stages of the disease. Caregiving for dementia patients is a daunting intense experience that can go on for four to eight years with increasing responsibilities as the loved one deteriorates. This places tremendous psychological and financial stress on the caregiver. Hence, there is a need to both care for the dementia patients and also for the caregivers. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving. In addition, mindfulness training has been found to help protect aging individuals from physical and cognitive declines.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Baseline Patient and Caregiver Mindfulness on Dementia Outcomes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8324319/ ) Innis and colleagues recruited patients with dementia and their caregivers and both were measured for cognitive function, functional activities, health related quality of life, verbal learning, memory, executive function, visual ability, mindfulness, resilience, vulnerability, and Apolipoprotein E. In addition, “caregivers completed ratings of care confidence, care preparedness, burden, mood, and appraisals of caregiving”.  Finally, a subset of participants underwent brain scanning with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that participants without dementia had significantly higher levels of mindfulness than those with even mild dementia. They also found that the higher the level of patient mindfulness the lower the caregiver ratings of patient dementia, the higher the ratings of health-related quality of life, and the lower the rated patient impairment, cognitive complaints, anxiety, and depression. In addition, the higher the patient’s level of mindfulness the higher the levels of cognition, verbal learning, memory, visuospatial ability, and resilience and the lower the levels of vulnerability. Finally, the found that the association of patient mindfulness on cognitive ability was mediated by resilience and vulnerability.

 

These results are based upon correlations and thus causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the associations are clear. The degree of mindfulness of dementia patients is associated with better cognitive ability, emotional health, and resilience and lower levels of vulnerability. These latter relationships appear to be the intermediaries between the patient’s mindfulness and their cognitive ability. It has been shown that mindfulness training in normal individuals produces improvements in resilience. This suggests that mindfulness may help protect against cognitive decline by improving the patient’s resilience and lessening their vulnerability to the effects of aging. This further suggests the possibility that mindfulness training might help to ameliorate the cognitive decline associated with dementia. It remains for future research to explore these possibilities.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with better dementia patient and caregiver outcomes.

 

Alzheimer’s disease patients who practice mindfulness may have better outcomes than those who do not.” – Josh Baxt

 

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

 

Innis, A. D., Tolea, M. I., & Galvin, J. E. (2021). The Effect of Baseline Patient and Caregiver Mindfulness on Dementia Outcomes. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD, 79(3), 1345–1367. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201292

 

Abstract

Background:

Mindfulness is the practice of awareness and living in the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness-based interventions may improve dementia-related outcomes. Before initiating interventions, it would be beneficial to measure baseline mindfulness to understand targets for therapy and its influence on dementia outcomes.

Objective:

This cross-sectional study examined patient and caregiver mindfulness with patient and caregiver rating scales and patient cognitive performance and determined whether dyadic pairing of mindfulness influences patient outcomes.

Methods:

Individuals (N = 291) underwent comprehensive evaluations, with baseline mindfulness assessed using the 15-item Applied Mindfulness Process Scale (AMPS). Correlation, regression, and mediation models tested relationships between patient and caregiver mindfulness and outcomes.

Results:

Patients had a mean AMPS score of 38.0 ± 11.9 and caregivers had a mean AMPS score of 38.9 ± 11.5. Patient mindfulness correlated with activities of daily living, behavior and mood, health-related quality of life, subjective cognitive complaints, and performance on episodic memory and attention tasks. Caregiver mindfulness correlated with preparedness, care confidence, depression, and better patient cognitive performance. Patients in dyads with higher mindfulness had better cognitive performance, less subjective complaints, and higher health-related quality of life (all p-values<0.001). Mindfulness effects on cognition were mediated by physical activity, social engagement, frailty, and vascular risk factors.

Conclusion:

Higher baseline mindfulness was associated with better patient and caregiver outcomes, particularly when both patients and caregivers had high baseline mindfulness. Understanding the baseline influence of mindfulness on the completion of rating scales and neuropsychological test performance can help develop targeted interventions to improve well-being in patients and their caregivers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8324319/

 

Mindfulness Improves Thinking in Children and Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Mindfulness Improves Thinking in Children and Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“studies indicate that people with ADHD can meditate successfully, and that meditation may have benefits for some of the behaviors associated with ADHD.” – Corey Whelan

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life. The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, can be addictive, and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.

 

There are indications that mindfulness practices may be an effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness practices training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD,  attentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, unlike drugs, they are relatively safe interventions that have minimal troublesome side effects.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Differential Impact of Acute Exercise and Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Functioning and Psycho-Emotional Well-Being in Children and Youth With ADHD.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1665889_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210623_arts_A ) Bigelow and colleagues recruited children aged 10-14 years who were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They completed 3 sessions in random order of 10 minutes of either aerobic cycling, mindfulness meditation, or magazine reading. They were measured before and after each session and 10 minutes later for inhibitory control, short-term memory, task switching, mood, and self-efficacy.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the magazine reading control condition only mindfulness meditation produced an increase in inhibitory control, short-term memory, and task switching. The improvement in inhibitory control and short-term memory were still present 10 minutes later. On the other hand, in comparison to baseline and the magazine reading control condition only aerobic exercise produced an improvement in mood and self-efficacy.

 

These results suggest that brief mindfulness meditation produces short-term improvements in executive function (thinking) in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) while aerobic exercise produces mood improvements in these children. These are acute effects of brief interventions and do not demonstrate lasting effects. But previous research has shown that mindfulness training produces lasting improvements in ADHD and executive function and that yoga practice, a form of exercise and mindfulness practice also produces lasting improvements in ADHD and executive function.

 

Hence, it appears that mindfulness training and exercise are both beneficial for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but they appear to affect different types of ADHD symptoms with mindfulness meditation improving executive function and exercise improving emotions. This suggests that a combined program or meditation and exercise may be particularly beneficial for children with ADHD. It remains for future research to examine this intriguing possibility.

 

So, mindfulness improves thinking in children and youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 

 

Medication and therapy are good ways to manage your ADHD symptoms. But they’re not your only options. Research now shows that mindfulness meditation — where you actively observe your moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings- — may also be a good way to calm your mind and improve your focus.” – WebMD

 

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

 

Bigelow H, Gottlieb MD, Ogrodnik M, Graham JD and Fenesi B (2021) The Differential Impact of Acute Exercise and Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Functioning and Psycho-Emotional Well-Being in Children and Youth With ADHD. Front. Psychol. 12:660845. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845

 

This study investigated how acute exercise and mindfulness meditation impacts executive functioning and psycho-emotional well-being in 16 children and youth with ADHD aged 10–14 (male = 11; White = 80%). Participants completed three interventions: 10 min of exercise, 10 min of mindfulness meditation, and 10 min of reading (control). Before and after each intervention, executive functioning (inhibitory control, working memory, task-switching) and psycho-emotional well-being (mood, self-efficacy) were assessed. Mindfulness meditation increased performance on all executive functioning tasks whereas the other interventions did not (d = 0.55–0.86). Exercise enhanced positive mood and self-efficacy whereas the other interventions did not (d = 0.22–0.35). This work provides preliminary evidence for how acute exercise and mindfulness meditation can support differential aspects of executive and psycho-emotional functioning among children and youth with ADHD.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1665889_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210623_arts_A

 

Improve Attention, Memory, and Emotions with Meditation

Improve Attention, Memory, and Emotions with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

meditating can change the structure and function of the brain through relaxation, which can: Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, Increase focus and learning concentration, Improve memory and attention span, Build stronger immune system and greater physical/psychological resilience, Allow better sleep” – Columbia University

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Mindfulness also decreases the individual’s tendency to use tried and true solutions to problems and thereby improves cognitive flexibility. Mindfulness has also been shown to improve attention, memory, and emotions. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals.There are, however, a large variety of meditation techniques and it is not known which types are best for which benefit.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Combining Meditation Techniques on Short-Term Memory, Attention, and Affect in Healthy College Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.607573/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A )  Pragya and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to one of three meditation groups or to a no-treatment control group. Meditation occurred in 3 25-minute sessions per week for 8 weeks and was either a sound meditation (Bee sound), color imagery (green) or the combination of the two. They were measured before and after training for short-term memory and positive and negative emotions. They also completed a continuous performance test to measure selective attention, sustained attention, and impulsivity.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group the combined meditation groups had significantly greater short-term memory and positive emotions and significantly lower negative emotions, inattention, and impulsivity. The two types of meditation techniques and their combination had somewhat different magnitudes of effects. Sound meditation had greater improvements of attention and reductions in negative emotions, while the color focused meditation group had greater attentiveness and short-term memory. The combined color and sound meditation group had the greatest improvements.

 

These results demonstrate as has been previously reported that mindfulness practices produce greater short-term memory and positive emotions and significantly lower negative emotions, inattention, and impulsivity. The contribution of the present study is to demonstrate that different meditation techniques produce similar effects but differ in the magnitudes of those effects. This could help to determine which techniques work best for people with different weaknesses. Regardless, meditation appear to improve cognitive and emotional well-being.

 

So, improve attention, memory, and emotions with meditation.

 

A critical part of attention (and working memory capacity) is being able to ignore distraction. There has been growing evidence that meditation training (in particular mindfulness meditation) helps develop attentional control, and that this can start to happen very quickly.” – About memory

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

 

Pragya SU, Mehta ND, Abomoelak B, Uddin P, Veeramachaneni P, Mehta N, Moore S, Jean-Francois M, Garcia S, Pragya SC and Mehta DI (2021) Effects of Combining Meditation Techniques on Short-Term Memory, Attention, and Affect in Healthy College Students. Front. Psychol. 12:607573. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.607573

 

Meditation refers to a family of self-regulation practices that focuses on training attention and awareness to foster psycho-emotional well-being and to develop specific capacities such as calmness, clarity, and concentration. We report a prospective convenience-controlled study in which we analyzed the effect of two components of Preksha Dhyāna – buzzing bee sound meditation (Mahapran dhvani) and color meditation (leśyā dhyāna) on healthy college students. Mahapran and leśya dhyāna are two Preksha Dhyāna practices that are based on sound and green color, respectively. The study population represents a suitable target as college students experience different stress factors during the school year. This study measures the individual and combined effects of two techniques (one focusing on sound and one focusing on color), on short-term memory, attention, and affect, in novice meditators. We used a battery of cognitive, performance, and compared results with baseline and control values. We found improved cognition, especially attention, short-term memory, and affect in terms of positivity and reduced negativity. Overall, the two techniques produced variable benefits and subjects showed improved scores over baseline for short-term memory, cognitive function, and overall wellbeing. Further studies are required to understand underlying mechanisms for the observed differences between the two techniques and to elucidate mechanisms underlying the more pronounced and global benefits observed with the combined techniques. These results underscore a need to examine individual components of meditation practices in order to individualize treatment approaches for attention disorders in young adults.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.607573/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A

 

Mindfulness Improves the Attention. Memory, and Stress Resistance of Junior High School Students.

Mindfulness Improves the Attention. Memory, and Stress Resistance of Junior High School Students.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

youth benefit from learning mindfulness in terms of improved cognitive outcomes, social-emotional skills, and well being. In turn, such benefits may lead to long-term improvements in life.’ – Mindful Schools

 

Childhood and adolescence are miraculous periods during which the youth is dynamically learning and absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve attentional ability which is fundamental to success in all aspects of academic performance. It is unclear the degree to which the students’ levels of mindfulness (trait mindfulness) without training are related to students’ attention, memory, and stress.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Relationship Among Trait Mindfulness, Attention, and Working Memory in Junior School Students Under Different Stressful Situations.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7960675/ ) Li and colleagues performed 2 studies. For both they recruited youths aged 8 to 15 years and measured them for mindfulness, attention and working memory.

 

In the first study they found that the higher the level of mindfulness the higher the levels of attention and working memory. A mediation analysis revealed that mindfulness was associated with working memory directly and also indirectly by being associated with higher levels of attention which in turn were associated with higher levels of working memory. So, the mindfulness association with better working memory was direct and indirect via attention.

 

In a second study they separated the students into a high mindfulness group (top 27%) and a low mindfulness group (bottom 27%). They then measured attention and working memory under 3 conditions; stress-free, single stress, and multiple stresses. The stress-free condition was like that used in study 1. In the single stress condition, a time constraint was placed on the performance of the attention and memory tests. In the multiple stress condition, the time constraint was maintained and additionally the students were informed that the results would be used to determine the top students for individual separate instruction in school.

 

They found that the high mindfulness group had higher attention and working memory scores than the low mindfulness group regardless of condition. They also found that for the high mindfulness group, stress improved both attention and memory scores relative to the stress-free condition with the single stress condition producing the greatest increase. On the other hand, the low mindfulness group had non-significant decreases in performance when stressed.

 

In the present studies the association between mindfulness and attention and working memory are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. Previous research, however, has clearly demonstrated that mindfulness causes increases in attention and memory. So, the relationship seen here is likely due to a causal connection. The present study, though, demonstrates that the effects of mindfulness on memory are both direct and indirect via effects on attention.

 

The present study also shows that stress improves the performance of high but not low mindfulness students. Stress is known to interfere with attention and memory performance. But mindfulness has been shown to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. So, it appears that mindfulness reduces the students’ responses to stress and thereby further improves their attention and memory.

 

So, mindfulness improves the attention. memory, and stress resistance of junior high school students.

 

Students who did about an hour of “mindfulness training” for eight days subsequently did better on the GRE as well as tests of working memory and mind-wandering.” – James Hamblin

 

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

 

Li, Y., Yang, N., Zhang, Y., Xu, W., & Cai, L. (2021). The Relationship Among Trait Mindfulness, Attention, and Working Memory in Junior School Students Under Different Stressful Situations. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 558690. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.558690

 

Abstract

Attention and working memory are important cognitive functions that affect junior school students’ learning ability and academic performance. This study aimed to explore the relationships among trait mindfulness, attention, and working memory and to explore differences in performance between a high trait mindfulness group and a low one in attention and working memory under different stressful situations. In study 1, 216 junior school students completed the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), and their attention and working memory were tested in a non-pressure situation. The results showed that attention had a partial mediating effect between mindfulness and working memory. In study 2, the high trait mindfulness group and the low one were tested for attention and working memory under situations with single and multiple pressures. One notable result was that the attention and working memory performances of the high mindfulness group were all significantly higher than those of the low mindfulness group in every stress situation (no stress, single stress, and multiple stresses). Other important results were that trait mindfulness moderates the relationship between stress and attention and between stress and working memory. These results suggest that trait mindfulness has a protective effect in the process by which various stresses affect attention and working memory. These findings indicate that trait mindfulness is an important psychological quality that affects the attention and working memory of junior school students, and it is also an important psychological resource for effectively coping with the impact of stress on attention and working memory. Therefore, it is possible that improving trait mindfulness may help to improve junior school students’ attention and working memory and enable them to cope better with stress, thereby helping to improve academic performance. This research is of great significance for understanding the association between key psychological qualities and cognitive functions in different stressful situations. These findings also provide insight for future studies in educational psychology.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7960675/

 

Decrease Aging Cognitive Decline with Qigong Practice

Decrease Aging Cognitive Decline with Qigong Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“various activities such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Meditation, Yoga, Pranayama (breath work) and more can slow down the aging process and also reverse DNA damage.” – Beyond Spiritual Healing

 

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.

 

Qigong has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Qigong training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Qigong  practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Qigong 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 ability of Qigong training to reduce cognitive decline in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of 1 Year of Qigong Exercise on Cognitive Function Among Older Chinese Adults at Risk of Cognitive Decline: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.546834/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1473550_69_Psycho_20201103_arts_A ) Jin and colleagues recruited healthy elderly adults, over 60 years of age, who did not engage in any mind-body practices like Qigong and randomly assigned them to receive either Qigong practice or stretching practice. Each intervention had 3 weekly training sessions followed by 1-year of at least twice a week 60-minute practice guided with videos and included once a month refresher training. The participants were measured before and after training for cognitive performance and neuropsychological performance.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the stretching group the Qigong participants had significantly higher cognitive performance after the year’s practice including memory, visuospatial ability, and language ability. The number of Qigong participants who were classified as having a mild cognitive impairment declined over the year while the stretching group did not.

 

These results suggest that Qigong practice improves cognitive ability and reduces cognitive decline in the elderly. Age related cognitive is inevitable and greatly reduces the abilities and quality of life of the elderly. Reducing the decline should contribute to greater well-being in aging individuals.

 

These findings suggest that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective method to reduce the decline in thinking ability with aging. But the story is even better. Qigong 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 suggests that Qigong practice should be recommended for the elderly.

 

So, decrease aging cognitive decline with Qigong practice.

 

Qigong can complement Western medicine in many ways to provide better healthcare. For example, qigong has special value for treating chronic conditions and as a preventive medicine, whereas Western medicine has special value for treating acute conditions.” – Qigong Institute

 

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

 

Jin J, Wu Y, Li S, Jin S, Wang L, Zhang J, Zhou C, Gao Y and Wang Z (2020) Effect of 1 Year of Qigong Exercise on Cognitive Function Among Older Chinese Adults at Risk of Cognitive Decline: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Front. Psychol. 11:546834. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.546834

 

ABSTRACT

Background: The rapidly aging Chinese population is showing an increase in age-related illnesses, including mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease. The best types of physical activity for the improvement of cognition remain unknown. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of a tailored qigong exercise with that of stretching exercise in the maintenance of cognitive abilities in Chinese elders at risk of cognitive decline.

Methods: Seventy-four community-dwelling adults aged ≥60 years were screened for eligibility. Using a randomized control group design, participants with scores ≥19 on the Chinese version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment-Basic (MoCA) were allocated to a 1-year qigong intervention (n = 33) and a stretching control exercise group (n = 33). The primary outcome was the MoCA score, as a measure of global cognitive function, and secondary outcomes were globe cognition and five domain scores on the Chinese version of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS). The MoCA and RBANS were administered at baseline and 1 year after intervention to assess the effect of the exercises on cognitive decline.

Results: Twenty-five of 33 (75.8%) participants in the qigong group and 26 of 33 (78.8%) participants in the control group completed the 1-year exercise programs. A bivariate test revealed strong correlation between MoCA and RBANS total scores after the intervention (r = 0.517, p < 0.01). Generalized estimating equations revealed a lower risk of progression of cognitive decline at 1 year in the qigong group than in the control group (odds ratio, 0.314; 95% confidence interval, 0.103–0.961; p = 0.04). Two-way repeated-measures ANOVA followed by post hoc t tests with Bonferroni corrections indicated that MoCA and RBANS scores were significantly higher in the qigong group than in the control group (MoCA and RBANS global cognition, memory, visuospatial/constructional ability, and language, all p < 0.01), with the exception of RBANS attention score (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: One year of qigong practice was significantly superior to stretching exercise not only for the prevention of cognitive decline progression, but also for the improvement of several cognitive functions, among older Chinese adults at risk of cognitive decline.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.546834/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1473550_69_Psycho_20201103_arts_A

 

Improve Attention and Memory with Closed-Loop Digital Meditation

Improve Attention and Memory with Closed-Loop Digital Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The good news is that its possible to train your attention and gain the associated benefits, and practicing mindfulness offers one of the most accessible and effective approaches.” – Deborah Schoeberlein David

 

There has accumulated a large amount of research demonstrating that mindfulness has significant benefits for psychological, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. It even improves high level thinking known as executive function and emotion regulation and compassion. One of the primary effects of mindfulness training is an improvement in the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and ignore interfering stimuli. This is an important consequence of mindfulness training and produces improvements in thinking, reasoning, and creativity. The importance of heightened attentional ability to the individual’s ability to navigate the demands of complex modern life cannot be overstated. It helps in school, at work, in relationships, or simply driving a car. As important as attention is, it’s surprising that little is known about the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves attention.

 

There is evidence that mindfulness training improves attention by altering the brain. It appears That mindfulness training increases the size, connectivity, and activity of areas of the brain that are involved in paying attention. One way to observe the effects of meditation is to measure changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG), the rhythmic electrical activity that can be recorded from the scalp. The recorded activity can be separated into frequency bands. Theta activity consists of oscillations in the 4-8 cycles per second band and it thought to measure attention. Another method to observe attentional processing in the brain is to measure the changes in the electrical activity that occur in response to paying attention. These are called event-related potentials or ERPs. The signal following a stimulus changes over time. The fluctuations of the signal after specific periods of time are thought to measure different aspects of the nervous system’s processing of the stimulus. The P300 response in the evoked potential (ERP) is a positive going electrical response occurring between a 1.5 to 5.0 tenths of a second following the target stimulus presentation. The P300 component is thought to reflect attentional processes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Closed-loop digital meditation improves sustained attention in young adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7534732/ ) Ziegler and colleagues recruited meditation-naïve young adults and randomly assigned them to a placebo control group or to receive 6 weeks of daily online breath following focused meditation training. Initially they meditated for 20 minutes but as they reported greater and greater ability to pay attention to their breath the duration of the meditation increased up to 30 minutes. The placebo control condition was engagement with an online app that was judged by participants to produce expectations equivalent to the meditation app for improvements in sustained attention and working memory. Three online aps were identified and self-selected by the participants of foreign language learning, Tai Chi practice, or logic games. The participants were measured before and after training for sustained attention, distraction filtering, working memory, and accuracy of working memory. They also recoded the electroencephalogram (EEG) during the sustained attention task and recorded the theta rhythm and the P300 evoked potentials to the attention stimuli.

 

They found that in comparison to the placebo group the meditation group had significant increases in sustained attention, distraction filtering, and working memory. In addition, they found that the greater the duration of the meditation practice achieved the greater the improvement in sustained attention. In the EEG they found that the meditation group had significant increases in attention-related EEG measures. In particular, they had increased frontal midline theta rhythm and earlier parietal P300 latencies in the evoked potentials.

 

Previous studies have shown that mindfulness practices produce improvements in attention and memory. An interesting and important difference between this research and prior research is that they employed a control condition that was demonstrated to produce the same degree of expectation in the participants for improvement in attention and memory. In other words. they controlled for participant expectancy, placebo, effects that were not controlled in the prior work. So, the improvements in attention and working memory were likely due to the meditation practice itself. Another interesting difference was that the present results were both in behavioral and brain activity measures. This demonstrates that the effects can be seen in objective, EEG and evoked potential data, and not just in behavioral responses that are more susceptible to bias.

 

So, improve attention and memory with closed-loop digital meditation.

 

mindful attention improves attention regulation, benefits physical and mental health, reduces stress, facilitates emotion regulation, and helps you remove those extra pounds!” – Gavin Khoury

 

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

 

Ziegler, D. A., Simon, A. J., Gallen, C. L., Skinner, S., Janowich, J. R., Volponi, J. J., Rolle, C. E., Mishra, J., Kornfield, J., Anguera, J. A., & Gazzaley, A. (2019). Closed-loop digital meditation improves sustained attention in young adults. Nature human behaviour, 3(7), 746–757. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0611-9

 

Abstract

Attention is a fundamental cognitive process that is critical for essentially all aspects of higher-order cognition and real-world activities. Younger generations have deeply embraced information technology and multitasking in their personal lives, school, and the workplace, creating myriad challenges to their attention. While improving sustained attention in healthy young adults would be beneficial, enhancing this ability has proven notoriously difficult in this age group. Here we show that six-weeks of engagement with a meditation-inspired, closed-loop software program (MediTrain) delivered on mobile devices led to gains in both sustained attention and working memory in healthy young adults (n = 22). These improvements were associated with positive changes in key neural signatures of attentional control (frontal theta inter-trial coherence and parietal P3b latency), as measured by electroencephalography. Our findings suggest the utility of delivering aspects of the ancient practice of focused-attention meditation in a modern, technology-based approach and its benefits on enhancing sustained attention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7534732/