Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction-related changes in posterior cingulate resting brain connectivity.Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2019 07 31; 14(7):777-787.SC
Mindfulness meditation training has been shown to increase resting-state functional connectivity between nodes of the frontoparietal executive control network (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [DLPFC]) and the default mode network (posterior cingulate cortex [PCC]). We investigated whether these effects generalized to a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and tested for structural and behaviorally relevant consequences of change in connectivity. Healthy, meditation-naïve adults were randomized to either MBSR (N = 48), an active (N = 47) or waitlist (N = 45) control group. Participants completed behavioral testing, resting-state fMRI scans and diffusion tensor scans at pre-randomization (T1), post-intervention (T2) and ~5.5 months later (T3). We found increased T2-T1 PCC-DLPFC resting connectivity for MBSR relative to control groups. Although these effects did not persist through long-term follow-up (T3-T1), MBSR participants showed a significantly stronger relationship between days of practice (T1 to T3) and increased PCC-DLPFC resting connectivity than participants in the active control group. Increased PCC-DLPFC resting connectivity in MBSR participants was associated with increased microstructural connectivity of a white matter tract connecting these regions and increased self-reported attention. These data show that MBSR increases PCC-DLPFC resting connectivity, which is related to increased practice time, attention and structural connectivity.