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Neural Plast. 2019 Apr 2;2019:7067592. doi: 10.1155/2019/7067592. eCollection 2019.

Default Mode Network, Meditation, and Age-Associated Brain Changes: What Can We Learn from the Impact of Mental Training on Well-Being as a Psychotherapeutic Approach?

Author information

1
Escuela de Tecnología Médica, Universidad Andrés Bello, Quillota 980, 2531015 Viña del Mar, Chile.
2
Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Studies (CIESAL), Universidad de Valparaíso, Angamos 655, 2540064 Viña del Mar, Chile.
3
Biomedical Research Centre (CIB), Universidad de Valparaíso, Angamos 655, 2540064 Viña del Mar, Chile.
4
School of Medicine, Universidad de Valparaíso, Angamos 655, 2540064 Viña del Mar, Chile.
5
División de Neurociencias (NeuroCICS), Centro de Investigación en Complejidad Social (CICS), Facultad de Gobierno, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile.
6
Laboratorio de Estructura y Función Celular, Escuela de Medicina, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Valparaíso, Hontaneda 2664, 2341386 Valparaíso, Chile.
7
Laboratorio de Neurociencia Cognitiva y Social, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile.
8
Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Interdisciplinary Center for Neuroscience, School of Medicine, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Abstract

Aging is a physiological process accompanied by cognitive decline, principally in memory and executive functions. Alterations in the connectivity of the default mode network (DMN) have been found to participate in cognitive decline, as well as in several neurocognitive disorders. The DMN has antisynchronic activity with attentional networks (task-positive networks (TPN)), which are critical to executive function and memory. Findings pointing to the regulation of the DMN via activation of TPN suggest that it can be used as a strategy for neuroprotection. Meditation is a noninvasive and nonpharmacological technique proven to increase meta-awareness, a cognitive ability which involves the control of both networks. In this review, we discuss the possibility of facilitating healthy aging through the regulation of networks through meditation. We propose that by practicing specific types of meditation, cognitive decline could be slowed, promoting a healthy lifestyle, which may enhance the quality of life for the elderly.

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