Advanced Meditation Alters Resting-State Brain Network Connectivity Correlating With Improved Mindfulness
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Advanced Meditation Alters Resting-State Brain Network Connectivity Correlating With Improved Mindfulness

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an intensive 8-day Samyama meditation program on the brain functional connectivity using resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI).
Advanced Meditation Alters Resting-State Brain Network Connectivity Correlating With Improved Mindfulness

Methods: Thirteen Samyama program participants (meditators) and 4 controls underwent fMRI brain scans before and after the 8-day residential meditation program. Subjects underwent fMRI with a blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) contrast at rest and during focused breathing. Changes in network connectivity before and after Samyama program were evaluated. In addition, validated psychological metrics were correlated with changes in functional connectivity. Results: Meditators showed significantly increased network connectivity between the salience network (SN) and default mode network (DMN) after the Samyama program (p < 0.01). Increased connectivity within the SN correlated with an improvement in self-reported mindfulness scores (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Samyama, an intensive silent meditation program, favorably increased the resting-state functional connectivity between the salience and default mode networks. During focused breath watching, meditators had lower intra-network connectivity in specific networks. Furthermore, increased intra-network connectivity correlated with improved self-reported mindfulness after Samyama. Clinical Trials Registration: [https://clinicaltrials.gov], Identifier: [NCT04366544]. Registered on 4/17/2020..

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