On book “The positive autoimage” by Jaime Duque Linares

Libro 34 de 2017
Colombian author and speaker Jaime Duque Linares in this work of 2002, comments and echoes that Greek phrase of the temple of Delphi, Seauthon Gnosei, know yourself. The fluid or connected state of consciousness, that modified state of consciousness that we seek so much with different types of experiences, is usually within reach of what we are doing, in daily life, in a sometimes stormy way, sometimes leading as a drop that finally pierces the rock. And in each life that whisper is present, and some listen it more than others. That whisper helps to feel life and to seek and obtain the desired meaning.

While reading some words that one is responsible for choosing what one can think, what one can feel, the image of a beloved program of some years ago, Babylonia 5, with Captain Sinclair came to mind. And the huge Babylon five space station, usually has galactic policy problems with some troublesome neighbors, namely the mimbari. The huge station and its crew depend on the experience, good sense, great intuition, ability to solve complex problems that the deeply human captain Sinclair account. And the nervous system, interestingly works in a similar way. There is a grid, like the magic spiderweb almost unidentifiable, hidden in the intricacies of the brain stem, which turns out to have around one hundred thousand neurons that regulate attention, consciousness, and wakefulness. This is the structure named the ascending activating reticular substance, described by two patients and inquisitive neuroscientists, Giuseppe Moruzzi and Horace Magoun.

The interesting thing and the nature of the paragon of the reticular substance with Captain Sinclair, or with Captain James Kirk, is that she manages a machine if possible, of almost one hundred billion neurons, all the neurons of the cerebral cortex, that magical loom first described bt Sherrington, where are the dreams, the thoughts, the idea of ​​God.

And the ascending reticular activating substance, or reticular substance is like the pilot, responsible for combining and taking advantage of the experience of the other hundred billion neurons, where obviously, are the centers of emotion, which have evolved so long and have made us social beings we are.

And the positive mental attitude is a way if you want, to teach, to educate, to make that particular group of neurons of consciousness, trace flight routes, where the most complex ship in the universe will fly, the human brain , that sympathetic extract of stardust, with a spark of divine intelligence, the spark that can already be sensed in that work of Adam and God.

Stress, the disease of our time, can be managed. With breathing, with input of energy, which makes the neurons can take that quantum leap to reach the modified state of consciousness, where the world is seen from a perspective without perspectives, and we have to repeat it as a mantra, relaxed and calm, relaxed and calm, relaxed and calm, relaxed and calm. Stress becomes paradoxically vitality. And the scars of the past, can be seen as a necessary school to reach that process of becoming the best you can be.

After having made these speculations about science fiction and neuroscience, (sometimes the one has twilight borders one another) the point is that a discipline is possible around the process of learning to learn, which not only serves to learn knowledge in a scholasticist pattern, but help to achieve a positive handling of emotions and instincts. To be emotionally intelligent, it is a goal and a duty, to be able to help to have that better world, which begins with the daily environment and microcosm in which each one lives.


Dopamine, serotonine and impulsity

Briefly, the impulsive people have a strong urge to act without thinking. Although it is sometimes regarded as a positive trait the plain impulsiveness is also widely present in clinical disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), drug dependence, mania, and antisocial behaviour.

In this article is described the significance of the impulsiveness for clinical disorders expressing impulsive behaviour as well as the pivotal contribution made by the brain systems working with  dopamine and serotonin in the aetiology and treatment of behavioural syndromes expressing impulsive symptoms (1).

So, the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the impulse control disorders (ICD) and substance-related disorders (SUD) overlap each other on different levels, including phenomenology, co-morbidity, neurocircuitry, neurocognition, neurochemistry and family history (2).

  1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452212003983
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21568361


Crédito de imagen: https://pixabay.com/es/nube-de-palabras-palabras-etiquetas-679936/#

Sex human brain mosaic

Some articles as per this issue, because neuroanatomical data reveal that sex interacts with other factors in utero and throughout life to determine the structure of the brain, and that because these interactions are complex, the result is a multi-morphic, rather than a dimorphic, brain.




On personal profile according to FB posts – Articles in PubMed

PLoS One. 2014 Aug 27;9(8):e104036. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104036. eCollection 2014.

How safe do teenagers behave on Facebook? An observational study.

The substantial use of social network sites by teenagers has raised concerns about privacy and security. Previous research about behavior on social network sites was mostly based on surveys and interviews. Observational research overcomes problems inherent to this research method, for example social desirability. However, existing observational research mostly focuses on public profiles of young adults. Therefore, the current observation-study includes 1050 public and non-public Facebook-profiles of teenagers (13-18) to investigate (1) what kind of information teenagers post on their profile, (2) to what extent they protect this information using privacy-settings and (3) how much risky information they have on their profile. It was found that young people mostly post pictures, interests and some basic personal information on their profile. Some of them manage their privacy-settings as such that this information is reserved for friends’ eyes only, but a lot of information is accessible on the friends-of-friends’ pages. Although general risk scores are rather low, more detailed analyses show that teenagers nevertheless post a significant amount of risky information. Moreover, older teenagers and girls post more (risky) information while there are no differences in applying privacy settings. We found no differences in the Facebookbehavior of teenagers enrolled in different education forms. Implications of these results are discussed.

PMID: 25162234 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID: PMC4146465

Free PMC Article

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Select item 249479222.
Med Educ Online. 2014 Jun 18;19:23149. doi: 10.3402/meo.v19.23149. eCollection 2014.

Medical professionalism: an experimental look at physicians’Facebook profiles.



Use of social networking services (SNS) is on the rise. While many users sign in for personal purposes, it is not uncommon for professionals to connect over SNSs with clients, students, and patients.


The present study used an experimental approach to examine how medical doctors’ SNS profiles impacted potential patients’ impressions of professionalism. Participants (N=250 students) were randomly assigned to view one of six Facebook profiles. Profiles were populated with 1) solely professional material, 2) personal material that was strictly healthy, or 3) personal material that included unhealthy behavior. Profiles portrayed a male or female physician resulting in a total of six experimental conditions. Medical professionalism was measured with the First Impressions of Medical Professionalism (FIMP) scale, specifically developed for this study.


There was a large and statistically significant main effect for profiletype, F(2, 250)=54.77, p<0.001, ηp(2)=0.31. Post hoc tests indicated thatpersonal profiles that contained healthy behavior were rated as most professional followed by profiles with strictly professional content. Personal unhealthy profiles were rated as least professional. Additionally, female profiles consistently received higher professionalism ratings across all three profile types [F(1, 250)=5.04, p=0.026, ηp(2)=0.02].


Our results suggest that a physician’s SNS profile affects a patient’s perception of that physician’s medical professionalism. A personal, healthy profile may augment a patient’s perception of that physician’s character virtues if the profile content upholds the decorum of the medical field.


Facebook; professionalism; professionalism scale; social networking

PMID: 24947922 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID: PMC4064246

Free PMC Article

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J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2014 Jul-Aug;50(4):227-36. doi: 10.5326/JAAHA-MS-6069.

Reputation management on facebook: awareness is key to protecting yourself, your practice, and the veterinary profession.

From the Social media use by health professionals occurs in a digital environment where etiquette has yet to be solidly defined. The objectives of this study were to explore veterinarians’ personal use of Facebook, knowledge of privacy settings, and factors related to sharing personal information online. All American Animal Hospital Association member veterinarians with a valid e-mail address (9469) were invited to complete an online survey about Facebook (e.g., time spent on Facebook, awareness of consequences, types of information posted). Questions assessing personality dimensions including trust, popularity, self-esteem and professional identity were included. The response rate was 17% (1594 of 9469); 72% of respondents (1148 of 1594) had a personal Facebook profile. Veterinarians were more likely to share information on Facebook than they would in general. Trust, need for popularity, and more time spent on Facebook predicted more disclosure of personal information on Facebook. Awareness of consequences and increased veterinary experience predicted lesser disclosure. As veterinary practices use Facebook to improve client services, they need also to manage risks associated with online disclosure by staff. Raising awareness of reputation management and consequences of posting certain types of information to Facebook is integral to protecting the individual, the practice, and the veterinary profession.

PMID: 24855091 [PubMed – in process]
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Death Stud. 2013 Aug;37(7):617-35.

You don’t de-friend the dead: an analysis of grief communication by college students through Facebookprofiles.

This research examined how various members of a social network interact with the Facebook (FB) profile page of a friend who has died. From 43 in-depth qualitative interviews, FB friends of deceased FB users maintained their FB connection with the deceased. Most participants who visited the profile found it helpful to look at pictures; a few wrote messages to the deceased as a coping mechanism. In some instances, a spouse or parent controlled the profile, which respondents universally viewed as having a negative effect on their ability to cope with their loss.

PMID: 24520964 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Apr;16(4):254-9. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0328. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Blaming the victim: the effects of extraversion and information disclosure on guilt attributions in cyberbullying.


Cyberbullying victims’ success in coping with bullying largely depends on schoolmates and other bystanders’ social support. However, factors influencing the degree of social support have as yet not been investigated. In this article, the concept of victim blaming is applied to cyberbullying incidents. It is assumed that a cyberbullying victim receives less social support when the victim’s behavior is perceived as very overt. It is further assumed that this effect’s underlying process is the partial attribution of responsibility for the incident to the victim and not to the bully. The hypotheses are tested with a 2×2 online experiment. In this experiment, varying online self-presentations of a fictitious female cyberbullying victim were presented to 586 Germans aged 16-22. The victim’s public Facebook profile was manipulated in terms of the victim’s extraversion and the amount of personalinformation disclosed. The results support the hypotheses. Participants attributed more responsibility for the bullying incident to the victim when the victim was presented as extraverted and very open in revealing personal information. This diminished social support for the victim. The effect was partially mediated by the victim’s perceived attractiveness. The study implies that concepts from victimization research can enhance our understanding of cyberbullying incidents. Among other factors, the victim’s specific personal characteristics deserve more consideration–not only with regard to the incident itself but also regarding subsequent social dynamics and coping mechanisms.

PMID: 23441684 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Jan;16(1):20-4. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0305. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Effects of gender and physical attractiveness on visual attention to Facebook profiles.


The current study examined viewers’ gaze while observing Facebook profiles of strangers varying in gender and physical attractiveness. Fifty-one participants viewed four Facebook profiles, a physically attractive and unattractive individual of each gender. Participants’ eye movements were tracked as they viewed eachprofile for 60 seconds. Results showed that participants paid more attention to the physical appearance (main profile photograph) of female than of male profileowners and to the personal information (likes and interests) of male than to female profile owners. Participants spent more time focusing on information that was irrelevant to forming an impression of the profile owner (advertisements) when viewing the profiles of unattractive than attractive individuals, suggesting that they made a greater effort to learn about these individuals.

PMID: 23153080 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Jan;16(1):3-7. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0288. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Romantic relationship development in the age of Facebook: an exploratory study of emerging adults’ perceptions, motives, and behaviors.


Social networking sites are becoming a prevalent form of communication in the escalation of romantic relationships. An online survey (n=403) addressed emerging adults’ experiences with Facebook and romantic relationships, particularly a unique affordance of Facebook: the ability to declare oneself as “In a Relationship” and actively link one’s profile to a romantic partner’s, commonly known as going Facebook official. Results identified common social perceptions of the meaning of this status (regarding commitment, intensity, and social response) and both interpersonal and social motives for posting it on Facebook. Additionally, sex differences were identified in perceptions of meaning, wherein women felt this status conveyed commitment and intensity moreso than men did. Implications of this discrepancy on heterosexual relationship satisfaction and the prevailing role of technology in romantic relationships are discussed.

PMID: 23098273 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
J Vet Med Educ. 2011 Winter;38(4):353-9. doi: 10.3138/jvme.38.4.353.

Teaching veterinary professionalism in the Face(book) of change.


Facebook has been identified as the preferred social networking site among postsecondary students. Repeated findings in the social networking literature have suggested that postsecondary students practice high personal self-disclosure on Facebook and tend not to use privacy settings that would limit public access. This study identified and reviewed Facebook profiles for 805 veterinarians-in-training enrolled at four veterinary colleges across Canada. Of these, 265 (32.9%) were categorized as having low exposure, 286 (35.5%) were categorized as having medium exposure, and 254 (31.6%) were categorized as having high exposure of information. Content analysis on a sub-sample (n=80) of the high-exposure profiles revealed publicly available unprofessional content, including indications of substance use and abuse, obscene comments, and breaches of client confidentiality. Regression analysis revealed that an increasing number of years to graduation and having a publicly visible wall were both positively associated with having a high-exposure profile. Given the rapid uptake of social media in recent years, veterinary educators should be aware of and begin to educate students on the associated risks and repercussions of blurring one’s private life and one’s emerging professional identity through personal online disclosures.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
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J Adolesc Health. 2011 Oct;49(4):414-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 May 24.

The decision to access patient information from a social media site: what would you do?



The current study examined the prevalence with which healthcare providers use a social media site (SMS) account (e.g., Facebook), the extent to which they use SMSs in clinical practice, and their decision-making process after accessing patient information from an SMS.


Pediatric faculty and trainees from a medical school campus were provided a SMS history form and seven fictional SMS adolescent profile vignettes that depicted concerning information. Participants were instructed to rate theirpersonal use and beliefs about SMSs and to report how they would respond if they obtained concerning information about an adolescent patient from their public SMS profile.


Healthcare providers generally believed it not to be an invasion of privacy to conduct an Internet/SMS search of someone they know. A small percentage of trainees reported a personal history of conducting an Internet search (18%) or an SMS search (14%) for a patient. However, no faculty endorsed a history of conducting searches for patients. Faculty and trainees also differed in how they would respond to concerning SMS adolescent profileinformation.


The findings that trainees are conducting Internet/SMS searches of patients and that faculty and trainees differ in how they would respond to concerning profile information suggest the need for specific guidelines regarding the role of SMSs in clinical practice. Practice, policy, and training implications are discussed.

Copyright © 2011 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 21939873 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID: PMC3179605

Free PMC Article

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J Med Ethics. 2011 Feb;37(2):101-4. doi: 10.1136/jme.2010.036293. Epub 2010 Dec 15.

Facebook activity of residents and fellows and its impact on the doctor-patient relationship.



Facebook is an increasingly popular online social networking site. The purpose of this study was to describe the Facebook activity of residents and fellows and their opinions regarding the impact of Facebook on the doctor-patient relationship.


An anonymous questionnaire was emailed to 405 residents and fellows at the Rouen University Hospital, France, in October 2009.


Of the 202 participants who returned the questionnaire (50%), 147 (73%) had a Facebook profile. Among responders, 138 (99%) displayed their real name on their profile, 136 (97%) their birthdates, 128 (91%) a personalphotograph, 83 (59%) their current university and 76 (55%) their current position. Default privacy settings were changed by 61% of users, more frequently if they were registered for >1&emsp14;year (p=0.02). If a patient requested them as a ‘friend’, 152 (85%) participants would automatically decline the request, 26 (15%) would decide on an individual basis and none would automatically accept the request. Eighty-eight participants (48%) believed that the doctor-patient relationship would be altered if patients discovered that their doctor had aFacebook account, but 139 (76%) considered that it would change only if the patient had open access to their doctor’s profile, independent of its content.


Residents and fellows frequently use Facebook and displaypersonal information on their profiles. Insufficient privacy protection might have an impact the doctor-patient relationship.

PMID: 21160080 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
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The neuroscience of mindfulness


The nervous system has enough complexity underlying in the vasteness of neural and connecting settings. Stressful responses originally exists evolutionarily being part of the general adaptation syndrome, named by Hans Selye. But the lifestyle is originating an enormous burst of stress to each individual. There are some interventions known from ancient times, including several types of meditation, which were re-discovered by scholar researchers during the last decades of the last century, which were re-inforced in its impact on the nervous system, by many of the techniques intensely researched during the previous decade of the brain.  The mindfulness is a well-proven intervention demonstrating evidence in controlling functional states of several structures of nervous system, namely prefrontal cortex, hippocampal structures, cyngulate cortex, thalamus, and the resulting attention not only controls the stressful response, but improves cognition and cognitive abilities. And the amigdala, the nucleus in the forebrain linked to fear and stressful responses, diminish in size, and in function, improving conditions such as chronic pain, pos-traumatic stress disorders, to mention some.  The value of mindfulness as described by the investigator Jon Kavatt Zin is of big value when taking in consideration the new definition of health, namely the abilities to face and to adapt to stressful situations in a physical, social or mental challenges.

Brief introduction to the brain.

Credit of the image: http://people.esam.northwestern.edu/~kath/gating.html

The human brain is the most complex object in universe, is a reddish grey mass, with the consistency of firm jelly, which weighs on average 1200 grams and contains nearly 100 billion cells called neurones. Each neurone has a cell body which houses its processor, the nucleus and a lot of batteries providing energy, the mithochondria. Branching from the bodies are numerous processes or extension called collectively neurites, classified as dendrites or axons. Dendrytes branch and re-branch, are tree like structures that intertwingle with another dendritic trees of other neurones, while axon allows the transmission of electrical impulses to target tissues or another neurons. Each neurone makes up to 1000 different connections with its neighbours and different areas of the brain. This extensive connectivity allows electrical signals, and thus information to travel from one brain processing centre to another in a matter of milliseconds.

The human brain is organised in a hierarchical manner: the oldest core parts controlling the more primitive, instinctual behavioural reflexes; the newest parts enveloping the new ones, are controlling the more sophisticated cognitive, sensory and motor functions. The human brain is made up of three main blocks: the forebrain, the midbrain and the hindbrain.
The brain is made of three main parts: the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The forebrain consists of the cerebrum, thalamus, and hypothalamus (part of the limbic system). The midbrain consists of the tectum and tegmentum. The hindbrain is made of the cerebellum, pons and medulla. Often the midbrain, pons, and medulla are referred to together as the brainstem, which is the oldest part, evolved more than 500 million years ago. It closely resembles the brain of a modern reptile. It is responsible for automatic physiological reflexes that control in example breathing, heart rate and digestion, and coordinate movement and sense perception.
The midbrain contains neurones responsible for temperature control and the fine tuning of movement. It relays sensory information from the bodies sensory organs to the forebrain, while the hindbrain is made of the cerebellum, pons and medulla.
The most evolved part is the forebrain which is composed of cerebral hemispheres, and is what we most commonly think of as the brain, and the hypothalamus and thalamus.  It also plays an important part of the limbic system, a group of brain structures associated with the expression of emotion. In the last 100,000 years, the weight of the human brain has almost tripled, and most of this growth has been mainly by the cerebral hemispheres. The neurones of the forebrain control cognitive, sensory and motor function, as well as regulating reproductive functions, eating, sleeping and the display of emotion. (http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/Structure1.html)

Neuroscience behind emotions

Emotions are triggered in the brain by thoughts, which are often unconscious. When we are confronted by a potential threat, this can trigger the best known feelings of fear, anger or the urge to flee (sometimes called “amygdala hyjack“).   The reaction is often disproportionate to the actual provocation.

Stres vs medit
Credit of the image: http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic893616.files/Neuroscience_Meditation.pdf

Stress is thought to be an important factor in many health problems. Early stress researchers found that regardless of the environmental stressor, a generalized physiological response was activated in the organism called the “fight or flight,” or stress response and termed the General Adaptation Syndrome by Hans Selye. When an individual encounters a stressor, the body part that first notes the stimulus passes the signal to the brain.   
The physical problems related to chronic stress include the lowering of the immune response, chronic muscle tension, and increased blood pressure. These problems can eventually lead to serious life-threatening illnesses such as heart attacks, kidney disease, and cancer (http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/stress1.htm)
Makes absolute sense in the lifestyle we live in, the mastering of these stressful emotions, so then the enhancement of the own´s abilities for higher “rational brain” thinking favours the person, being likely to avoid the automatically behaviour stored in the basal ganglia.

Taken form http://www.drjack.co.uk/tag/emotion/

MRI scans show that after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, appears to shrink. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress.
As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker.
The practice of mindfulness helps us to recognise and observe our thought patterns. Practitioners develop the ability to recognise when thoughts arise, and observe them in a detached manner, without the need to become involved in them, in the way described by professor Jon Kavatt-Zim Ph.D. (thus not triggering an emotional or “automatic” reaction).

The basic and classic conflict  between reason and emotion is between the amygdala, or the emotional and fearful part of the brain, and the frontal cortex, which can calm the amygdala and sort things out rationally.  Curiously, there is a limit to what the rational brain can handle, and the neuroanatomy can explain why. Projections from the amygdala to the brainstem, via the hypothalamus, regulate the expression of autonomic reactions to social signals, affecting the prefrontal cortex (PFC). In the same way, the control of the amygdala (AMY) arises from the anterior cingulate cortex (ACG) and affects the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) (http://mindblog.dericbownds.net/2010/10/serotonin-regulates-our-moral.html)

Right Brain and Left Brain?

The theory of right brain vs. left brain dominance originates with Nobel Prize winning neurobiologist and neuropsychologist Roger Sperry. Sperry discovered that the left hemisphere of the brain usually functions by processing information in rational, logical, sequential, and overall analytical ways. The right hemisphere tends to recognize relationships, integrate and synthesize information, and arrive at intuitive thoughts. By working together as a team, sharing logical and creative  information, the two hemispheres can generate a more complete description. A study conducted at the University of Utah has debunked the myth. Neuroscientists analyzed over 1,000 brain scans from people between the ages of seven and 29. The brain scans did not show any evidence that people use one side of the brain more than the other. Essentially, the brain is interconnected, and the two hemispheres support each other in its processes and functions (http://www.diffen.com/difference/Left_Brain_vs_Right_Brain)


Kavat- Zimm describes mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”. This general understanding is echoed by other authors who explain mindfulness as being “characterized by dispassionate, non-evaluative, and sustained moment-to-moment awareness of perceptible mental states and processes. This includes continuous, immediate awareness of physical sensations, perceptions, affective states, thoughts, and imagery” (Front Neurosci. 2013;7:8).
Mindfulness interventions do begin with concentrative attention practices, such as attending to parts of the body or one’s breath, initially seeking to strengthen attentional control. Practice however then transitions to more ‘open monitoring’ practices of widespread attention to all sensations, thoughts and emotions (Can J Psychiatry. 2012 Feb; 57(2): 70–77.)
When practicing mindfulness the activation of the amygdala confers emotional significance to the lack of sensory information. Through these actions on the hypothalamus, the amygdala modifies the activity of the autonomic nervous system. First a blissful, peaceful state arises from the maximal activation of the parasympathetic (relaxation) nervous system, and then, as the different neural, hormonal and other triggers swing in, there is a maximal activation of the sympathetic (arousal) nervous system, producing a mentally clear and alert state. Physiological effects, such as changes to breathing rate, heart rate or blood pressure are the result of the amygdala’s effect on midbrain structures that control these functions.  Both of the left and right orientation and verbal-conceptual association areas are virtually switched off. A lack of activity in the right orientation association area gives rise to a sense of unity and wholeness, where as lack of activity in the left orientation association area results in the dissolving of the self/non-self boundary (http://www.mindfulnet.org/page25.htm). In emotion regulation, mindfulness provides prefrontal training that seems to promote the stable recruitment of a non-conceptual sensory pathway, an alternative to conventional cognitive reappraisal strategies. The attentional resources are directed towards a limbic pathway for present-moment sensory awareness, involving the thalamus, insula (Can J Psychiatry. 2012 Feb; 57(2): 70–77.)

What happens in the brain during meditation?

In experiments of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – MBSR subjects showed (1) increased functional connectivity within auditory and visual networks, (2) increased functional connectivity between auditory cortex and areas associated with attentional and self-referential processes, (3) stronger anticorrelation between auditory and visual cortex, and (4) stronger anticorrelation between visual cortex and areas associated with attentional and self-referential processes. These findings depicts that 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation training can alter intrinsic functional connectivity in ways that may reflect a more consistent attentional focus, enhanced sensory processing, and reflective awareness of sensory experience (Neuroimage. 2011 May 1;56(1):290-8)
Meditation includes a variety of practices aimed at focusing attention and awareness. Two general forms of meditation exist, namely “focused attention” and “open monitoring“. Initially a practitioner will often utilize focused attention practice to enhance attentional skills. The “open monitoring” practices focus widespread attention to all sensations, thoughts and emotions. Then, it will be possible to engage in open monitoring, which involves moment-by-moment awareness of whatever occurs in one’s awareness (Front Neurosci. 2013;7:8).
Another experiments in expert Theravada Buddhist monks and lay novices with 10 days of meditation practice on the above modalities, suggests that expert meditators control cognitive engagement in conscious processing of sensory-related, thought and emotion contents, by massive self-regulation of fronto-parietal and insular areas in the left hemisphere, in a meditation state-dependent fashion. So then, a functional reorganization of brain activity patterns for meditation type takes place with mental practice, and that meditation-related neuroplasticity is crucially associated to a functional reorganization of activity patterns in prefrontal cortex and in the insula (Brain Res Bull. 2010 Apr 29;82(1-2):46-56.)

Cognition Improved By Mindfulness Meditation

Credit of the image: https://universe-review.ca/R10-16-ANS07.htm

In another experiments in the framework of meditation, it was explored the hippocampal features analyzing high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 30 long-term meditators and 30 matched controls. It was found that left and right hippocampal volumes were larger in meditators than in controls, significantly so for the left hippocampus. The implications of larger hippocampal dimensions in long-term meditators may constitute part of the underlying neurological substrate for cognitive skills, mental capacities, and/or personal traits associated with the practice of meditation (Hum Brain Mapp. 2013 Dec;34(12):3369-75.)


To know more about interventions improving functioning and mental conditions will be of utility when dealing stressful conditions and maybe to avoid risk factors to develop neurodegenerative conditions. Mindfulness shows evidence when executed during eight weeks and the more the practice, the better the benefits.

More about mindfulness




Alejandro Melo-Florián MD – FACP

Author from Cerebro mente y conciencia – Un enfoque multidisciplinario


  1. Kilpatrick LA, Suyenobu BY, Smith SR, Bueller JA, Goodman T, Creswell JD, Tillisch K, Mayer EA, Naliboff BD. Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training on intrinsic brain connectivity. Neuroimage. 2011 May 1;56(1):290-8.
  2. Manna A, Raffone A, Perrucci MG, Nardo D, Ferretti A, Tartaro A, Londei A, Del Gratta C, Belardinelli MO, Romani GL. Neural correlates of focused attention and  cognitive monitoring in meditation. Brain Res Bull. 2010 Apr 29;82(1-2):46-56.
  3. Marchand WR. Neural mechanisms of mindfulness and meditation: Evidence from neuroimaging studies. World J Radiol. 2014 Jul 28;6(7):471-9.
  4. Malinowski P. Neural mechanisms of attentional control in mindfulness meditation. Front Neurosci. 2013;7:8.
  5. Luders E, Thompson PM, Kurth F, Hong JY, Phillips OR, Wang Y, Gutman BA, Chou YY, Narr KL, Toga AW. Global and regional alterations of hippocampal anatomy in long-term meditation practitioners. Hum Brain Mapp. 2013 Dec;34(12):3369-75.
  6. Farb NAS, Anderson AK, Segal ZV. The Mindful Brain and Emotion Regulation in Mood Disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie. 2012;57(2):70-77.
  7. https://universe-review.ca/R10-16-ANS07.htm
  8. http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic893616.files/Neuroscience_Meditation.pdf
  9. http://www.mindfulnet.org/page25.htm
  10. https://vimeo.com/29272470
  11. http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/301notes2.htm
  12. http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/Structure1.html