This site became the new on June 19th. Learn more.
Show more Menu IMPORTANT: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more... Menu IMPORTANT: Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more... Menu
Give us feedback

Neural Effects of Mindfulness Training on Attention

This study has been completed.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Pennsylvania Identifier:
First received: September 20, 2006
Last updated: December 20, 2011
Last verified: November 2007
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 Intervention
No Condition Focus is Neural Effects of Mindfulness Training on Attention Behavioral: Mindfulness Meditation Training (MMT) Behavioral: Nutrition Education course

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Neural Effects of Mindfulness Training on Attention

Further study details as provided by University of Pennsylvania:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • 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.

Enrollment: 60
Study Start Date: September 2006
Study Completion Date: August 2009
Primary Completion Date: August 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
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

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.

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
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: 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 Identifier: NCT00379210     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21AT002761-01A1 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: September 20, 2006
Results First Received: July 20, 2010
Last Updated: December 20, 2011

Keywords provided by University of Pennsylvania:
event-related potentials
functional magnetic resonance imaging
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness Meditation Training
MMT processed this record on August 16, 2017