Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Meditation increases heart rate variability by enhancing the control of the anterior cingulate cortex

Just five days of integrative body–mind training (IBMT) can improve attention and self-regulation in comparison with the same amount of relaxation training (See Tang et al., 2008). This new paper in PNAS explores the underlying mechanisms of this finding:

"Differences in heart rate variability(HRV) and EEG power suggested greater involvement of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in the IBMT group during and after training. Imaging data demonstrated stronger subgenual and adjacent ventral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activity in the IBMT group. Frontal midline ACC theta was correlated with highfrequency HRV, suggesting control by the ACC over parasympathetic activity. These results indicate that after 5 days of training, the IBMT group shows better regulation of the ANS by a ventral midfrontal brain system than does the relaxation group.(See Tang et al., 2009)"

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