Mindfulness Starts With the Body: Somatosensory Attention and Top-Down Modulation of Cortical Alpha Rhythms in Mindfulness Meditation.

Mindfulness starts with the body: somatosensory attention and top-down modulation of cortical alpha rhythms in mindfulness meditation.

Filed under: Depression Treatment

Front Hum Neurosci. 2013; 7: 12
Kerr CE, Sacchet MD, Lazar SW, Moore CI, Jones SR

Using a common set of mindfulness exercises, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) have been shown to reduce distress in chronic pain and decrease risk of depression relapse. These standardized mindfulness (ST-Mindfulness) practices predominantly require attending to breath and body sensations. Here, we offer a novel view of ST-Mindfulness’s somatic focus as a form of training for optimizing attentional modulation of 7-14 Hz alpha rhythms that play a key role in filtering inputs to primary sensory neocortex and organizing the flow of sensory information in the brain. In support of the framework, we describe our previous finding that ST-Mindfulness enhanced attentional regulation of alpha in primary somatosensory cortex (SI). The framework allows us to make several predictions. In chronic pain, we predict somatic attention in ST-Mindfulness “de-biases” alpha in SI, freeing up pain-focused attentional resources. In depression relapse, we predict ST-Mindfulness’s somatic attention competes with internally focused rumination, as internally focused cognitive processes (including working memory) rely on alpha filtering of sensory input. Our computational model predicts ST-Mindfulness enhances top-down modulation of alpha by facilitating precise alterations in timing and efficacy of SI thalamocortical inputs. We conclude by considering how the framework aligns with Buddhist teachings that mindfulness starts with “mindfulness of the body.” Translating this theory into neurophysiology, we hypothesize that with its somatic focus, mindfulness’ top-down alpha rhythm modulation in SI enhances gain control which, in turn, sensitizes practitioners to better detect and regulate when the mind wanders from its somatic focus. This enhanced regulation of somatic mind-wandering may be an important early stage of mindfulness training that leads to enhanced cognitive regulation and metacognition.
HubMed – depression


Arsenicosis: Is it a Protective or Predisposing Factor for Mental Illness?

Filed under: Depression Treatment

Iran J Psychiatry. 2012; 7(4): 180-3
Sen D, Sarathi Biswas P

Chronic arsenic poisoning (Arsenicosis) is a global health risk, and it has been reported to improve the fitness, especially in altitudinal sickness in therapeutic dose. Scarcity of systematic study on psychiatric co-morbidities in Arsenicosis motivated us to conduct this research. The aim of this study was to estimate the co-morbid psychiatric disorders in patients with arsenicosis and to examine whether natural arsenic exposure and toxicity is protective or detrimental for mental health.Out of 1477 arsenicosis patients aged 18 to 65 years, 1169 were finally assessed after excluding those who were disinclined to participate or those who had any organ failure or prior psychiatric disorder in themselves or their first-degree relatives. We applied General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) to screen psychiatric symptoms. Finally, 191 patients with BPRS score > 30 were structurally interviewed using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN).Of the 1169 participants in our study, 18.99% of the arsenicosis patients had psychiatric ailments. Common psychiatric manifestations were depression (8.47%), mixed anxiety and depressive disorder (4.61%), adjustment disorder in the form of mixed anxiety and depressive reaction, and brief depressive reaction (2.22%), and suicidal attempts (1.53%).Considering the higher prevalence of psychiatric ailments in arsenicosis compared to general population of the same territory, it is necessary to screen psychological disorders in them. Conducting studies with control groups to further evaluate the impact of arsenicosis on mental health is warranted.
HubMed – depression


Social exclusion, infant behavior, social isolation, and maternal expectations independently predict maternal depressive symptoms.

Filed under: Depression Treatment

Brain Behav. 2013 Jan; 3(1): 14-23
Eastwood J, Jalaludin B, Kemp L, Phung H, Barnett B, Tobin J

The objective of the study was to identify latent variables that can be used to inform theoretical models of perinatal influences on postnatal depressed mood and maternal-infant attachment. A routine survey of mothers with newborn infants was commenced in South Western Sydney in 2000. The survey included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and 46 psychosocial and health-related variables. Mothers (n = 15,389) delivering in 2002 and 2003 were surveyed at 2-3 weeks for depressive symptoms. Nonlinear principal components analysis was undertaken to identify dimensions that might represent latent variables. Correlations between latent variables and EPDS >12 were assessed by logistic regression. A five-dimension solution was identified, which accounted for 51% of the variance among the items studied. The five dimensions identified were maternal responsiveness, social exclusion, infant behavior, migrant social isolation, and family size. In addition, the variable maternal expectation contributed significantly to total variance and was included in the regression analysis. Regression on EPDS >12 was predictive for all variables except for maternal responsiveness, which was considered an outcome variable. The findings are consistent with the proposition that social exclusion, infant behavior, social isolation among migrant mothers, and maternal expectations are determinants of maternal mood.
HubMed – depression


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