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Neural Effects of Mindfulness Training on Attention

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00379210
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 21, 2006
Results First Posted : January 26, 2012
Last Update Posted : January 26, 2012
Information provided by (Responsible Party):

Study Description
Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to examine behavioral and neural changes resulting from Mindfulness Meditation Training (MMT), and to use this knowledge in advancing our understanding of the mechanisms of attention.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
No Condition Focus is Neural Effects of Mindfulness Training on Attention Behavioral: Mindfulness Meditation Training (MMT) Behavioral: Nutrition Education course

Detailed Description:
Mindfulness Meditation Training (MMT) has been used successfully to decrease stress, pain, and adverse health symptoms in a varied subject population. MMT has been described as "paying attention in a particular way." Although attention is a key component of meditation, little is known about the cognitive and neural changes within the human attention system that result from MMT. In this study, we examine the effects of MMT on the human attention system using neurobehavioral measures. Here MMT comprises participation in a Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction (MBSR) course, while the comparison group participates in a nutrition education course, both 8 weeks long. We compare the performance and neural activity of these groups both before and after participation in the course.

Study Design

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 60 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Neural Effects of Mindfulness Training on Attention
Study Start Date : September 2006
Primary Completion Date : August 2009
Study Completion Date : August 2009
Arms and Interventions

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: 1

Meditation training group-- received Mindfulness Based Stress Management from the Penn Program for Stress Management.

The meditation practice initially emphasized attention to a single focus. For most concentrative exercises, this focus was the breath. The sensations of breathing were to be examined closely, and when attention wandered it was to be redirected back to the breath. In other exercises, the focus of attention was to be directed to sensations within specific body parts (body scan exercise) and sensations of walking (walking meditation). During the 5th week of classes, the mindfulness training was expanded to include some explicit training in receptive attention.

Behavioral: Mindfulness Meditation Training (MMT)
8-week training course in mindfulness meditation
Other Name: MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Active Comparator: 2

Nutrition education group

An active comparison condition involving nutrition education was offered. This course matched the mindfulness course in all dimensions including course duration, homework, psychosocial support, and teacher expertise. The course was taught by a nurse who had expertise in nutrition and offered a program described in the book, Nutrition for Life by Lisa Hark.

Behavioral: Nutrition Education course
8-week course in nutrition

Outcome Measures

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Reaction Times on the Sustained Attention to Response Task. [ Time Frame: 9 weeks ]
    Single digits (0-9) are flashed on the screen one by one. The number 3 is the target and all other digits are non-targets. The participant is asked to press the space bar for nontargets and withhold from pressing the space bar for the target.

Eligibility Criteria

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Men and women (all races and ethnicities) between 18 and 40 years old
  • Women of childbearing age with a negative pregnancy test within 48 hours of scanning
  • In good health
  • Right-handed
  • Normal or corrected-to-normal vision
  • English as a first language
  • Able to understand and provide signed informed consent
  • No history of metal in their body or other reasons why they could not undergo an Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • No history of ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, encephalopathy or encephalitis, minimal-cognitive impairment or dementia, movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease, head trauma causing loss of consciousness, cancer involving the central nervous system

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Pregnant or breast-feeding women
  • Individuals with implanted metal or electronic devices that would prevent them from MRI scanning.
  • Individuals with a history of neurologic dysfunction that would prevent performance on attentional tasks including: history of transient ischemic attacks, history of cerebral infarction, history of Binswanger's disease (or a history of hypertensive encephalopathy), history of intracranial hemorrhage, history of head trauma with loss of consciousness, history of encephalitis, history of extended exposure to any known neurotoxin, history of acquired cognitive impairment, history of normal pressure hydrocephalus, history of a cancer metastatic to the central nervous system, history of Parkinson's or other basal ganglia disease, history of Guillain-Barré syndrome or chronic or relapsing polyneuropathy
Contacts and Locations

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00379210

United States, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19104
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Pennsylvania
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: Amishi P Jha, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: University of Pennsylvania
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00379210     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21AT002761-01A1 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: September 21, 2006    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: January 26, 2012
Last Update Posted: January 26, 2012
Last Verified: November 2007

Keywords provided by University of Pennsylvania:
event-related potentials
functional magnetic resonance imaging
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness Meditation Training