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?

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

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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / prevention & control
  • Healthy Aging / physiology*
  • Healthy Aging / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Metacognition
  • Mindfulness
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Psychotherapeutic Processes*