BACKGROUND: Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and its prevalence is on the rise. One of the most debilitating aspects of depression is the dominance and persistence of depressive rumination, a state of mind that is linked to onset and recurrence of depression. Mindfulness meditation trains adaptive attention regulation and present-moment embodied awareness, skills that may be particularly useful during depressive mind states characterized by negative ruminative thoughts. METHODS: In a randomized controlled functional magnetic resonance imaging study (N = 80), we looked at the neurocognitive mechanisms behind mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (n = 50) for recurrent depression compared with treatment as usual (n = 30) across experimentally induced states of rest, mindfulness practice and rumination, and the relationship with dispositional psychological processes. RESULTS: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with treatment as usual led to decreased salience network connectivity to the lingual gyrus during a ruminative state, and this change in salience network connectivity mediated improvements in the ability to sustain and control attention to body sensations. CONCLUSIONS: These findings showed that a clinically effective mindfulness intervention modulates neurocognitive functioning during depressive rumination and the ability to sustain attention to the body.
Depression, Interoceptive awareness, Mechanisms, Mindfulness, Neural connectivity, Rumination