prefrontal cortex

Mindfulness Meditation Part 6

Posted on Actualizado enn

Science & Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR; Kabat-Zinnn, 2003) is a meditation-based treatment program applied to diverse clinical conditions. It seems that MBSR improves attention, nonjudgmental attitude and focus on the present.

Nonjudgmental attitude may be related to an emotional response. Emotional resonses are linked to the emotional brain, Mindfulness meditation 6particularly with the amygdala. It has been demonstrate that the response of the amygdala to negative distractors in a sustained attention task is better in experienced meditators (Brefczynski-Lewis et al., 2007). In normal life, negative distractors tend to focus our attention on the future more than in the present. For example, if I am studying for an exam, my fear of fail on the exam, disrupts my sustained attention on what I am learning. At the same time, my attention jumps from the present to the future.

There is a big difference on studying for achieve or pass the test, and studying for learning. In the first condition, you will need a big attentional effort because your motivation is clearly in the future and not in the process itself. The process itself always happens in the present. It can not always be ensured that you will pass the exam with a mindful brain.

 

HOW TO MEDITATE

  • TRY ON SUNSET.
  • TRY WITH FRIENDS.
  • DO NOT TRY WITH RELAXATION MUSIC.
  • DO NOT TRY IN YOUR BED, BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP.
  • YOU NEED TO MASTER THE EXERCISE BEFORE TRYING IT IN VERY BAD DAYS.

 

References:

Brefczynski-Lewis, J. A., Lutz, A., Schaefer, H. S., Levinson, D. B., & Davidson, R. J. (2007). Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(27), 11483-11488. doi:10.1073/pnas.0606552104

Jensen, C. G., Vangkilde, S., Frokjaer, V., & Hasselbalch, S. G. (s.d.). Mindfulness training affects attention—Or is it attentional effort? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(1), 106-123. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0024931

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Constructivism in the Human Sciences, 8(2), 73-107.

 

If you want to receive more information or to contact with a psychologist, please fill out the contact form:

Mindfulness Meditation Part 5

Posted on Actualizado enn

There are two styles of meditation. The first, is to try to focus our attention on a single object. The second is to monitor our attention in a Mindfulness meditaton 4moment-by-moment experienceBoth of them could be viewed as an attentional training and a possible way to cultivate our well-being. Focused attention meditation is not a passive work. You must constantly and actively monitor the quality of your attention. You must constantly and actively monitor the quality of your attention. In our normal lives, attention jumps from an object to object, without any work. Monitoring implies to recognize that attention wanders away. Then, you must consciously refocus your attention to the chosen object.

Science & Mindfulness Meditation

There are different and specific neural systems associated with meditation. These systems are the neural network for some cognitive functions:

  • Conflict monitoring (cingulate cortex, prefrontal cortex).
  • Selective attention (temporoparietal junction, prefrontal cortex).
  • Sustained attention (right frontal cortex; prefrontal cortex).

HOW TO MEDITATE

  • SIT UP WITH YOUR BACK “STRAIGHT RIGHT”.
  • FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS ON EXPIRATION.
  • STAY WITH FIVE MINUTES EVERYDAY: AT LEAST THREE MONTHS!!
  • DON’T TRY TO GET THE PRIZE. IT’S NOT A COMPETITION WITH YOURSELF.

References:

Corbetta, M., & Shulman, G. L. (2002). Control of goal-directed and stimulus-driven attention in the brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 3(3), 201-215. doi:10.1038/nrn755

Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (2007). Research on Attention Networks as a Model for the Integration of Psychological Science. Annual Review of Psychology, 58(1), 1-23. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085516

Weissman, D. H., Roberts, K. C., Visscher, K. M., & Woldorff, M. G. (2006). The neural bases of momentary lapses in attention. Nature Neuroscience, 9(7), 971-978. doi:10.1038/nn1727

If you want to receive more information or to contact with a psychologist, please fill out the contact form:

ADHD and Emotional Memory

Posted on Actualizado enn

Emotional memory can be defined as the memory of the emotions related to an specific event of our life. In case of negative events, this memory allows us to accommodate our conduct in order to avoid negative consequences in similar situations, which implies a capacity to analyze the situation and remember and be aware of our feelings related to it. It is well known that children with ADHD have alterations in the structure and function of the prefrontal cortex (which regulates our ability to plan and analyze our behavior), and also in brain structures linked with emotional processes such as the amygdala and the hippocampus (Plessen et al., 2006), which underlies their difficulties to cope with their emotions and behavior.

On the other hand, there is a growing literature studying the linkage between emotional memory lack in ADHD children and alterations in brain activity during sleep. For sleep disorder in children (Meltzer et al., 2010), the prevalence is 3.7%. The most-common diagnoses are enuresis and sleep-disordered breathing. ADHD is a predictor of sleep disorders.

Sleep disturbances are ADHD and Memorycommon in ADHD children (Cortese, Faraone, Konofal, & Lecendreux, 2009) and during sleep, new memory representations are reactivate during slow wave sleep SWS (sleep phase when our brain have the lowest activity rates) promoting memory consolidation. Studies show that ADHD children have abnormal SWS activity compared with healthy controls (Ringli et al., 2013), reflecting a neuromaturational delay of this brain wave rhythm in nonREM sleep. This imbalanced activity of slow waves is also associated with difficulties in consolidation of declarative memory (Prehn-Kristensen et al., 2011) which may explain difficulties to memorize facts and consequent learning problems related with ADHD.

In a recent study, the same author find that ADHD children have less activity in brain regions related to the consolidation of emotional memory (cited above), and suggest that these deficits are implicated in emotional symptoms reported by ADHD children during daytime (Prehn-Kristensen et al., 2013). ADHD children seem to have difficulties to select properly between emotional and non-emotional stimuli during sleep, which causes a diminished capacity to consolidate emotions related to events, which in turn, should have a direct impact on emotional relationships established with their peers.

Although more research is needed to strengthen the association between emotional memory and sleep, it is an important perspective because highlights the role of brain activity during sleep-time and allows us to better understand ADHD children not only in relation to their behavior, but also in relation to their emotions.

If you want to contact a psychologist or receive more information, please fill out the contact form:

References

Cortese, S., Faraone, S. V., Konofal, E., & Lecendreux, M. (2009). Sleep in Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Meta-Analysis of Subjective and Objective Studies. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(9), 894-908. doi:10.1097/CHI.0b013e3181ac09c9

Plessen, K. J., Bansal, R., Zhu, H., Whiteman, R., Amat, J., Quackenbush, G. A., … Peterson, B. S. (2006). Hippocampus and Amygdala Morphology in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Archives of general psychiatry, 63(7), 795-807. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.63.7.795

Prehn-Kristensen, A., Göder, R., Fischer, J., Wilhelm, I., Seeck-Hirschner, M., Aldenhoff, J., & Baving, L. (2011). Reduced sleep-associated consolidation of declarative memory in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Sleep Medicine, 12(7), 672-679. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2010.10.010

Prehn-Kristensen, A., Munz, M., Molzow, I., Wilhelm, I., Wiesner, C. D., & Baving, L. (2013). Sleep Promotes Consolidation of Emotional Memory in Healthy Children but Not in Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. PLoS ONE, 8(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065098

Ringli, M., Souissi, S., Kurth, S., Brandeis, D., Jenni, O. G., & Huber, R. (2013). Topography of sleep slow wave activity in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Cortex, 49(1), 340-347. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2012.07.007

Meltzer, L. J., Johnson, C., Crosette, J., Ramos, M., & Mindell, J. A. (2010). Prevalence of diagnosed sleep disorders in pediatric primary care practices.Pediatrics125(6), e1410-e1418.