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Open AccessReview

Altered Neural Activity Associated with Mindfulness during Nociception: A Systematic Review of Functional MRI

Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3E 0J9, Canada
Department of Radiology, The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
St. Boniface Hospital Research, Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Patrick W. Stroman
Brain Sci. 2016, 6(2), 14;
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Neuroimaging of Pain)
PDF [469 KB, uploaded 19 April 2016]


Objective: To assess the neural activity associated with mindfulness-based alterations of pain perception. Methods: The Cochrane Central, EMBASE, Ovid Medline, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched on 2 February 2016. Titles, abstracts, and full-text articles were independently screened by two reviewers. Data were independently extracted from records that included topics of functional neuroimaging, pain, and mindfulness interventions. Results: The literature search produced 946 total records, of which five met the inclusion criteria. Records reported pain in terms of anticipation (n = 2), unpleasantness (n = 5), and intensity (n = 5), and how mindfulness conditions altered the neural activity during noxious stimulation accordingly. Conclusions: Although the studies were inconsistent in relating pain components to neural activity, in general, mindfulness was able to reduce pain anticipation and unpleasantness ratings, as well as alter the corresponding neural activity. The major neural underpinnings of mindfulness-based pain reduction consisted of altered activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, insula, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. View Full-Text
Keywords: systematic review; mindfulness; nociception; pain; functional MRI systematic review; mindfulness; nociception; pain; functional MRI

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Bilevicius, E.; Kolesar, T.A.; Kornelsen, J. Altered Neural Activity Associated with Mindfulness during Nociception: A Systematic Review of Functional MRI. Brain Sci. 2016, 6, 14.

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