For combat veterans, increased connectivity with DLPFC and dorsal ACC following therapy
THURSDAY, April 7, 2016 (HealthDay News) — For combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a novel mindfulness-based group therapy is associated with increased connectivity between dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) regions and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) regions, according to a study published in the April issue of Depression and Anxiety.
Anthony P. King, Ph.D., from VA Ann Arbor Health Care System in Michigan, and colleagues used mindfulness-based exposure therapy (MBET) in combat veterans with PTSD to examine potential neural correlates of mindfulness training. Twenty-three male combat veterans deployed to Afghanistan and/or Iraq with PTSD were treated with a mindfulness-based intervention (14 veterans) or an active control group therapy (present-centered group therapy [PCGT]; nine veterans).
The researchers found that veterans treated with MBET had reduced PTSD symptoms, but the effect did not differ significantly from PCGT. Following MBET there was increased default mode network (DMN) resting-state functional connectivity (posterior cingulate cortex [PCC] seed) with DLPFC regions and dorsal ACC regions associated with executive control. After therapy there was a group × time interaction showing increased connectivity with DLPFC and dorsal ACC for MBET. Improvement in PTSD avoidant and hyperarousal symptoms were seen in association PCC-DLPFC connectivity.
“Increased connectivity between DMN and executive control regions following mindfulness training could underlie increased capacity for volitional shifting of attention,” the authors write.
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