Effects of meditation on frontal alpha-asymmetry in previously suicidal individuals.
Barnhofer T., Duggan D., Crane C., Hepburn S., Fennell MJV., Williams JMG.
This study investigated the effects of a meditation-based treatment for preventing relapse to depression, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), on prefrontal alpha-asymmetry in resting electroencephalogram (EEG), a biological indicator of affective style. Twenty-two individuals with a previous history of suicidal depression were randomly assigned to either MBCT (N=10) or treatment-as-usual (TAU, N=12). Resting electroencephalogram was measured before and after an 8-week course of treatment. The TAU group showed a significant deterioration toward decreased relative left-frontal activation, indexing decreases in positive affective style, while there was no significant change in the MBCT group. The findings suggest that MBCT can help individuals at high risk for suicidal depression to retain a balanced pattern of baseline emotion-related brain activation.