Pictured above: Figure 1 from the article, "Gray Matter and Functional Connectivity in Anterior Cingulate Cortex are Associated with the State of Mental Silence During Sahaja Yoga Meditation," highlighted below.
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READ THE CURRENT ISSUE OF IBRO Neuroscience (vol. 371) published on 10 February 2018.
Highlights from this issue include:
(Eva Froehlich, Johanna Liebig, Carmen Morawetz, Johannes C. Ziegler, Mario Braun, Hauke R.Heekeren, Arthur M. Jacobs)
Reading is not only one of the most appreciated leisure activities of the elderly but it clearly helps older people to maintain functional independence, which has a significant impact on life quality. Yet, very little is known about how aging affects the neural circuits of the processes that underlie skilled reading. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to systematically investigate the neural correlates of sublexical, orthographic, phonological and lexico-semantic processing in the aging brain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we recorded brain activity of younger and older adults during letter identification, lexical decision, phonological decision and semantic categorization. Older and younger adults recruited an identical set of reading-related brain regions suggesting that the general architecture of the reading network is preserved across the lifespan. However, we also observed age-related differences in brain activity in the subcomponents of the reading network. Age-related differences were most prominent during phonological and orthographic processing possibly due to a failure of older adults to inhibit non-optimal reading strategies. Neural effects of aging were also observed outside reading-related circuits, especially in frontal midline regions. These regions might be involved because of their important role in memory, attention and executive control functions and their potential role in resting-state networks.
(Siyuan Zhou, Shi Chen, Shuang Wang, Qingbai Zhao, Chunming Lu)
Novel information selection is a crucial process in creativity and was found to be associated with frontal–temporal functional connectivity in the right brain in closed-ended creativity. Since it has distinct cognitive processing from closed-ended creativity, the information selection in open-ended creativity might be underlain by different neural activity. To address this issue, a creative generation task of Chinese two-part allegorical sayings was adopted, and the trials were classified into novel and normal solutions according to participants’ self-ratings. The results showed that (1) novel solutions induced a higher lower alpha power in the temporal area, which might be associated with the automatic, unconscious mental process of retrieving extensive semantic information, and (2) upper alpha power in both frontal and temporal areas and frontal–temporal alpha coherence were higher in novel solutions than in normal solutions, which might reflect the selective inhibition of semantic information. Furthermore, lower alpha power in the temporal area showed a reduction with time, while the frontal–temporal and temporal–temporal coherence in the upper alpha band appeared to increase from the early to the middle phase. These dynamic changes in neural activity might reflect the transformation from divergent thinking to convergent thinking in the creative progress.
(Sergio Elías Hernández, Alfonso Barros-Loscertales, Yaqiong Xiao, José Luis González-Mora, Katya Rubia)
Some meditation techniques teach the practitioner to achieve the state of mental silence. The aim of this study was to investigate brain regions that are associated with their volume and functional connectivity (FC) with the depth of mental silence in long-term practitioners of Sahaja Yoga Meditation. Twenty-three long-term practitioners of this meditation were scanned using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. In order to identify the neural correlates of the depth of mental silence, we tested which gray matter volumes (GMV) were correlated with the depth of mental silence and which regions these areas were functionally connected to under a meditation condition. Our findings suggested that the depth of mental silence is associated with medial fronto-insular-striatal networks that are crucial for top-down attention and emotional control.