Neurofeedback-Augmented Mindfulness Training Elicits Distinct Responses in the Subregions of the Insular Cortex in Healthy Adolescents. Brain sciences Yu, X., Cohen, Z. P., Tsuchiyagaito, A., Cochran, G., Aupperle, R. L., Stewart, J. L., Singh, M. K., Misaki, M., Bodurka, J., Paulus, M. P., Kirlic, N. 2022; 12 (3)


Mindfulness training (MT) reduces self-referential processing and promotes interoception, the perception of sensations from inside the body, by increasing one's awareness of and regulating responses to them. The posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and the insular cortex (INS) are considered hubs for self-referential processing and interoception, respectively. Although MT has been consistently found to decrease PCC, little is known about how MT relates to INS activity. Understanding links between mindfulness and interoception may be particularly important for informing mental health in adolescence, when neuroplasticity and emergence of psychopathology are heightened. We examined INS activity during real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging neurofeedback-augmented mindfulness training (NAMT) targeting the PCC. Healthy adolescents (N = 37; 16 female) completed the NAMT task, including Focus-on-Breath (MT), Describe (self-referential processing), and Rest conditions, across three neurofeedback runs and two non-neurofeedback runs (Observe, Transfer). Regression coefficients estimated from the generalized linear model were extracted from three INS subregions: anterior (aINS), mid (mINS), and posterior (pINS). Mixed model analyses revealed the main effect of run for Focus-on-Breath vs. Describe contrast in aINS [R2 = 0.39] and pINS [R2 = 0.33], but not mINS [R2 = 0.34]. Post hoc analyses revealed greater aINS activity and reduced pINS activity during neurofeedback runs, and such activities were related to lower self-reported life satisfaction and less pain behavior, respectively. These findings revealed the specific involvement of insula subregions in rtfMRI-nf MT.

View details for DOI 10.3390/brainsci12030363

View details for PubMedID 35326319