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The most diffuse forms of meditation derive from Hinduism and Buddhism spiritual traditions. Different cognitive processes are set in place to reach these meditation states. According to an historical-philological hypothesis (Wynne, 2009) the two forms of meditation could be disentangled. While mindfulness is the focus of Buddhist meditation reached by focusing sustained attention on the body, on breathing and on the content of the thoughts, reaching an ineffable state of nothigness accompanied by a loss of sense of self and duality (Samadhi) is the main focus of Hinduism-inspired meditation. It is possible that these different practices activate separate brain networks. We tested this hypothesis by conducting an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. The network related to Buddhism-inspired meditation (16 experiments, 263 subjects, and 96 activation foci) included activations in some frontal lobe structures associated with executive attention, possibly confirming the fundamental role of mindfulness shared by many Buddhist meditations. By contrast, the network related to Hinduism-inspired meditation (8 experiments, 54 activation foci and 66 subjects) triggered a left lateralized network of areas including the postcentral gyrus, the superior parietal lobe, the hippocampus and the right middle cingulate cortex. The dissociation between anterior and posterior networks support the notion that different meditation styles and traditions are characterized by different patterns of neural activation.
ObjectiveMindfulness based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a standardized meditation program which has been proposed as a therapeutic option for the prevention of relapses in patients suffering from major depression (MD). The aim of the present review and meta-analysis is to provide an estimate of the efficacy of MBCT for MD patients. Methods A literature search was undertaken using MEDLINE, ISI web of knowledge, the Cochrane database, Google scholar and references of retrieved articles. Controlled studies investigating the efficacy of MBCT for MD were entered in the Cochrane Collaboration Review Manager Software (RevMan version 5.0). Results Reviewed data showed that MBCT in adjunct to usual care was significantly better than usual care alone for reducing MD relpases in patients with 3 or more past episodes of MD. MBCT plus gradual discontinuation of maintenance antidepressants was similar to continuation of antidepressants alone with respect to relapse prevention. The augmentation of MBCT could be useful for patients with current residual symptoms of depression as well. Conclusions Current studies showed preliminary evidence about the efficacy of MBCT for patients with 3 or more past episodes of depression and for currently depressed patients with residual symptoms. However, methodological shortcomings of reviewed studies including small sample size, frequent lack of replications and the absence of studies comparing MBCT to control groups designed to distinguish specific from non specific effects of meditation imply the necessity for further research.
<p>Background Mindfulness meditation (MM) practices constitute an important group of meditative practices that have received growing attention. The aim of the present paper was to systematically review current evidence on the neurobiological changes and clinical benefits related to MM practice in psychiatric disorders, in physical illnesses and in healthy subjects.</p>