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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 680407, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/680407
Research Article

Meditation-State Functional Connectivity (msFC): Strengthening of the Dorsal Attention Network and Beyond

1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27708, USA
2Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
3College of Social Work, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2570, USA
4Trinity Institute for the Addictions, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2570, USA
5Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and VISN 6 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
6Duke Integrative Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA
7Thousand Petals Yoga, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA

Received 14 December 2011; Revised 11 January 2012; Accepted 12 January 2012

Academic Editor: David Mischoulon

Copyright © 2012 Brett Froeliger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Meditation practice alters intrinsic resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) in the default mode network (DMN). However, little is known regarding the effects of meditation on other resting-state networks. The aim of current study was to investigate the effects of meditation experience and meditation-state functional connectivity (msFC) on multiple resting-state networks (RSNs). Meditation practitioners (MPs) performed two 5-minute scans, one during rest, one while meditating. A meditation naïve control group (CG) underwent one resting-state scan. Exploratory regression analyses of the relations between years of meditation practice and rsFC and msFC were conducted. During resting-state, MP as compared to CG exhibited greater rsFC within the Dorsal Attention Network (DAN). Among MP, meditation, as compared to rest, strengthened FC between the DAN and DMN and Salience network whereas it decreased FC between the DAN, dorsal medial PFC, and insula. Regression analyses revealed positive correlations between the number of years of meditation experience and msFC between DAN, thalamus, and anterior parietal sulcus, whereas negative correlations between DAN, lateral and superior parietal, and insula. These findings suggest that the practice of meditation strengthens FC within the DAN as well as strengthens the coupling between distributed networks that are involved in attention, self-referential processes, and affective response.