Default-Mode Brain Network Deactivation Seen in Meditators

Less mind-wandering in experienced meditators tied to deactivated default mode network

THURSDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Experienced meditators have relative deactivation of the main modes of the default mode network (DMN), and stronger coupling between the posterior cingulate, dorsal anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, according to a study published online Nov. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Judson A. Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues compared brain activity using magnetic resonance imaging in 12 experienced meditators and 13 matched meditation-naive controls while they performed different types of meditation.

The investigators found that across all meditation types, experienced meditators reported less mind-wandering during meditation compared with controls. They also had relatively deactivated main nodes of the DMN. Meditators showed meditation-specific regional differences in activation patterns. Functional connectivity analyses at baseline and during meditation showed that experienced meditators had stronger coupling between the posterior cingulate, dorsal anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices than controls.

"These results suggest that the neural mechanisms underlying mindfulness training are associated with differential activation and connectivity of the DMN. As meditators also reported significantly less mind-wandering, which has been previously associated with activity in DMN, these results support the hypothesis that alterations in DMN are related to reduction in mind-wandering," the authors write.

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