Research: IVES-DELIPERI and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 203

Abstract

IVES-DELIPERI and COLLEAGUES, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. vives@mweb.co.za  used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify the brain regions involved in state mindfulness and to shed light on its mechanisms of action.

Background

‘Mindfulness’ is a capacity for heightened present-moment awareness that we all possess to a greater or lesser extent. Enhancing this capacity through training has been shown to alleviate stress and promote physical and mental well-being.

Methodology

As a consequence, interest in mindfulness is growing and so is the need to better understand it. This study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify the brain regions involved in state mindfulness and to shed light on its mechanisms of action.

Results

Significant signal decreases were observed during mindfulness meditation in midline cortical structures associated with interoception, including bilateral anterior insula, left ventral anterior cingulate cortex, right medial prefrontal cortex, and bilateral precuneus. Significant signal increase was noted in the right posterior cingulate cortex.

Conclusion

These findings lend support to the theory that mindfulness achieves its positive outcomes through a process of disidentification.

References

Ives-Deliperi VL, Solms M and Meintjes EM. The neural substrates of mindfulness: an fMRI investigation. Social Neuroscience. 6(3):231-42. Jun 2011.

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