Cerebral Blood Flow and Brain Functional Connectivity Changes in Older Adults Participating in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program

Author: Aleeze Sattar Moss1, Diane K Reibel1, Nancy Wintering1, Faezeh Vedaei2, Hannah Porter1, Mohsen Khosravi1, Justin Heholt3, Mahdi Alizadeh2, Feroze B Mohamed2, Andrew B Newberg1,2
1 Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.
2 Department of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.
3 Department of Surgery, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, USA.
Conference/Journal: Behav Sci (Basel)
Date published: 2022 Feb 14
Other: Volume ID: 12 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 48 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/bs12020048. , Word Count: 143

There is a growing interest in the potential beneficial effects of mindfulness meditation training in protecting against age-related physical, emotional, and cognitive decline. The current prospective, single-center, single-arm study investigated if functional magnetic resonance imaging-based changes in cerebral blood flow and brain functional connectivity could be observed in 11 elderly adults (mean age 79) after participation in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The results showed significantly (p < 0.05) altered cerebral blood flow and functional connectivity in the cingulate gyrus, limbic structures, and subregions of the temporal and frontal lobes, similar to findings of other meditation-related studies in younger populations. Furthermore, these changes were also associated with significant improvements in depression symptoms. This study suggests that the MBSR program can potentially modify cerebral blood flow and connectivity in this population.

Keywords: brain; cerebral blood flow; depression; elderly; functional connectivity; mindfulness.

PMID: 35200299 PMCID: PMC8869750 DOI: 10.3390/bs12020048