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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Hum. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00376

Alterations of Regional Homogeneity and Functional Connectivity Following Short-Term Mindfulness Meditation in Healthy Volunteers

Qin Xiao1, Xingrong Zhao2, 3, Guoli Bi1, 4, Lisha Wu1, Hongjiang Zhang1, 4, Ruixiang Liu5, Jingmei Zhong4, Shaoyuan Wu4*, Yong Zeng6, Liqian Cui7,  Yanmei Chen1, Kunhua Wu1, 4* and  Zhuangfei Chen4, 8*
  • 1Kunming University of Science and Technology, China
  • 2Mental Health Institute of the Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South Universit y, China
  • 3First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, China
  • 4The First People’s Hospital of Yunnan Province, China
  • 5Second People’s Hospital of Yunnan Province, China
  • 6The Second Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, China
  • 7First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, China
  • 8Medical Faculty, Kunming University of Science and Technology, China

Mindfulness is described as the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment. The sustained practice of mindfulness may also have beneficial effects on an individual’s well-being. For instance, mindfulness meditation is an effective approach for improving emotion regulation. Specifically, the early stage of mindfulness meditation training enhances emotional monitoring systems related to attention regulation and executive function. Default mode network (DMN) could probably be observed of reduced involvement corresponding to attenuated mind wandering. In the present study, we hypothesized that alterations of functional activity in the frontal-parietal cortex and DMN may be induced by short-term mindfulness meditation. In this study, before and after 8 weeks of weekly Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training, healthy participants were evaluated using a mindfulness questionnaire and an affect schedule, as well as via resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Sixteen right-handed non-meditators were enrolled. Another 16 demographically matched healthy adults without any meditation experience were recruited as controls. Pre- and post-MBSR assessments were compared. Increased regional homogeneity in the right superior parietal lobule and left postcentral gyrus (PoCG), as well as altered functional connectivity in PoCG-related networks, were observed post-MBSR. The mindfulness questionnaire scores also improved and negative affect was significantly decreased after MBSR. Together with reduced involvement of the posterior brain, our results suggest a tendency toward stronger involvement of the parietal cortex in mindfulness beginners. This study provides novel evidence regarding the optimization of emotional processing with short-term mindfulness meditation.

Keywords: Emotion Regulation, functional connectivity, mindfulness, regional homogeneity, Default Mode Network, functional magnetic resonance imaging

Received: 27 Feb 2019; Accepted: 03 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Xiao, Zhao, Bi, Wu, Zhang, Liu, Zhong, Wu, Zeng, Cui, Chen, Wu and Chen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Shaoyuan Wu, The First People’s Hospital of Yunnan Province, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China, wushaoyuan777@163.com
Prof. Kunhua Wu, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Kunming, 650500, Yunnan Province, China, wukunhua@hotmail.com
Dr. Zhuangfei Chen, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Medical Faculty, Kunming, China, chen.zhf@outlook.com