Came across this new research listed in the March 2018 edition of the AMRA, American Mindfulness Research Association. It is a small study but another example of the many areas which Mindfulness research is exploring.
MBSR changes brain networks of opiate dependent patients Posted 03.14.2018 | by AMRA
The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with over 42,000 opioid overdose related deaths in 2016. There is a clear need for innovative approaches to help deal with the problems of substance dependency and misuse. Mindfulness-based interventions are sometimes used as adjunctive treatments for substance use disorders, but little is known about how these interventions affect the brains of substance users.
Fahmy et al. [Addictive Behaviors] used structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate brain changes in opiate dependent patients undergoing either treatment-as-usual (TAU), or treatment-as-usual plus Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)....
Highlights •We investigated effects of MBI on brain volume in patients with opioid dependence.
•Patients receiving MBI showed distinct structural network changes after treatment.
•An increase in striatal and prefrontal network strength was observed.
•Prefrontal network strength was associated with impulsivity levels.
...These findings suggest that MBI can have a recognizable role in treatment of substance use disorders and that neural effects of MBI may be captured in terms of frontostriatal structural network change. Read abstract HERE.