Grand Rounds: Neural Mechanisms of Mindfulness Training


Mindfulness training is a viable treatment tool that rivals psychopharmaceutical agents for the treatment of addiction, anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric disorders.

Mindfulness Training (MT) can be a viable treatment option for a number of psychiatric disorders, such as addiction, anxiety, and depression. In this video, Dr Judson Brewer hits on key points of a recent Grand Rounds presentation he gave at the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. Here, he describes MT and why it is effective-and in some cases rivals psychopharmaceutical agents for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Take-home Points:
• MT showed twice the efficacy of the Freedom From Smoking treatment by the American Lung Association in a randomized controlled trial1
• MT moderates the decoupling of craving and smoking, suggesting possible psychological mechanisms of action
• Various forms of meditation deactivate the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), one of the main hubs of the default mode network.2 The PCC has been implicated in anxiety, addiction, and other psychiatric disorders, linking how mindfulness may help change neural activation patterns of these disorders..



1. Brewer JA, Mallik S, Babuscio TA, et al. Mindfulness training for smoking cessation: results from a randomized controlled trial. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011;1:72-80.
2. Brewer JA, Worhunsky PD, Gray JR, et al. Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108:20254-20259.

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