Very preterm (VPT) young adolescents are at high risk of executive, behavioural and socio-emotional difficulties. Previous research has shown significant evidence of the benefits of mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) on these abilities. This study aims to assess the association between the effects of MBI on neurobehavioral functioning and changes in white-matter microstructure in VPT young adolescents who completed an 8-week MBI program. Neurobehavioural assessments (i.e., neuropsychological testing, parents- and self-reported questionnaires) and multi-shell diffusion MRI were performed before and after MBI in 32 VPT young adolescents. Combined diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI) measures were extracted on well-defined white matter tracts (TractSeg). A multivariate data-driven approach (partial least squares correlation) was used to explore associations between MBI-related changes on neurobehavioural measures and microstructural changes. The results showed an enhancement of global executive functioning using parent-reported questionnaire after MBI that was associated with a general pattern of increase in fractional anisotropy (FA) and decrease in axonal dispersion (ODI) in white-matter tracts involved in executive processes. Young VPT adolescents with lower gestational age at birth showed the greatest gain in white-matter microstructural changes after MBI.
© 2023. The Author(s).