Richard and Matt talk about mindfulness and the role of the default mode network.


Kitti from the USA and Graz from New Zealand have both asked if we would talk about spirituality, meditation and imagination. So we thought we would talk a little about what we know.

Resources & Links:

The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation – Tang Holzel and Posner 2015 Nature Review Neuroscience. This is a lit review and covers a range of papers and studies.

Meditation’s calming effects pinpointed in the brain – Diana Kwon, 2017 Scientific American article where they talk about the pre-Bötzinger complex

What is the Molecular signature of mind-body interventions? A systematic review of gene expression changes induces by meditation and related practices – Buric et al 2017 Frontiers of Immunology

There is this paper on a Mirroring Hands protocol using DNA microarrays by Ernie, Mauro Cozzolino, Salvatore Iannotti et al 2008 The Journal of Sleep and Hypnosis – (A Pilot Study of Positive Expectations and Focused Attention via a New Protocol for Optimizing Therapeutic Hypnosis and Psychotherapy Assessed with DNA Microarrays: The Creative Psychosocial Genomic Healing Experience)

Changing Our DNA through Mind Control? (Scientific American Article – A study finds meditating cancer patients are able to positively change gene expression to maintain telomere length.

See also Depression, Anxiety and Telomeres by Richard Hill

This research on gene expression all point to an improvement in anti-inflammatory genes and some others. Consider this 2013 study on the correlation between gene expression in the immune system and well-being: A functional genomic perspective on human well-being – The results of this study show that hedonic and eudaimonic well-being [a “hedonic” form representing the sum of an individual’s positive affective experiences, and a deeper “eudaimonic” form that results from striving toward meaning and a noble purpose beyond simple self-gratification], although correlated, have markedly divergent gene transcriptional correlates in human immune cells. Eudaimonic well-being was associated with decreased expression of the previously defined CTRA (conserved transcriptional response to adversity) transcriptome profile involving elevated expres-sion of proinflammatory genes and reduced expression of genes involved in antibody synthesis and type I IFN antiviral responses. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with significant up-regulation of the CTRA gene expression profile. These opposing transcriptome profiles emerged despite the fact that hedonic and eudaimonic well-being were experienced similarly at the level of conscious affect… The emergence of distinct leukocyte transcriptome profiles in the presence of similar affective profiles suggests that the gene regulatory architecture of the human immune system may be more sensitive to the eudaimonic vs. hedonic sources of human happiness than are our conscious experiences. If “the goodlife” is a long and healthy life free from the allostatic load of chronic stress, threat, and uncertainty, CTRA gene expression may provide a negative reference point for how not to live. If we ask which type of happiness most directly opposes that molecular antipode, a functional genomic perspective favors eudaimonia.

Spirituality as Connectedness in the NPT –

DMN as a biomarker for monitoring the therapeutic effects of meditation

This is interesting – Religious and spiritual importance moderate relation between default mode network connectivity and familial risk for depression. (Svob C, Wang Z, Weissman MM, Wickramaratne P, Posner J.)

The Neurobiology of Imagination: Possible Role of Interaction-Dominant Dynamics and Default Mode Network. Luigi F. Agnati, Diego Guidolin, L. Battistin, G. Pagnoni, and K. Fuxe – (Front Psychol. 2013; 4: 296. Published online 2013 May 24. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00296)

Meditation Works Like Magic Mushrooms? (YouTube)

This Issue of The Neuropsychotherapist:
So the September issue of The Neuropsychotherapist is out and we have some great content for you including:

Part 1 of The Neurodevelopmental Impact of Stress, Adversity, and Trauma: Implications for Social Work by Janet R. Shapiro and Jeffrey S. Applegate. These authors ask the question “How does exposure to early adversity and stress precipitate neurodevelopmental changes that, in turn, are associated with increased risk behaviors and poor health outcomes? ”

Quantum Physics and the Science of Psychotherapy: Cosmic Consciousness, Stress, and Therapeutic Cognition by Ernest L. Rossi and Kathryn L. Rossi. In this article, the first in a series that the Rossi’s are writing especially for The Neuropsychotherapist, they review the evolving perspectives of subatomic particle physics, math, biology, and psychology that we have witnessed over the past century, as they seek to create a new integrated quantum field theory of cosmos, life, stress, and creating a new consciousness.

Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence by Daniel J. Siegel. In this article of the same name as his new book, explores a number of foundational concepts inspired by weaving together a wide range of disciplines that reveals how the way we develop three aspects of our mental lives—attention, intention, and awareness—actually changes the anatomic, biochemical, and physiological components of bodily health, mental flourishing, and relational well-being.

Our Spotlight article this month features Roger Keizerstein, who is a child psychotherapist and a certified clinical trauma professional in private practice in New York for 35 years. His stories and essays have appeared in Newsday, The New York Times, The Southampton Press and Listen Magazine. He lectures on trauma and post-traumatic stress throughout the New York Metropolitan area.

And we have a rather special book review by Tom Barber as he let’s us know his thoughts about the recent Hill and Rossi book The Practitioner’s Guide to Mirroring Hands!

Thanks for listening!

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