Brief mindfulness training increased glutamate metabolism in the anterior cingulate cortex

Yi Yuan Tang, Pegah Askari, Changho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Mindfulness meditation has become a promising intervention for promoting health and well-being. Neuroimaging studies have shown its beneficial effects on brain functional activity, connectivity, and structures following months to years of practice. A series of randomized controlled trials indicated that one form of mindfulness meditation, the integrative body-mind training (IBMT) induces brain functional and structural changes in brain regions related to self-control networks such as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) after 2-10 h of practice. However, whether IBMT could change brain metabolism in the ACC remains unexplored. Utilizing a noninvasive 3T proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, our results showed a significant increase in glutamate metabolism in the rostral ACC following 10 h of IBMT, suggesting that brief training not only increases ACC activity and structure, but also induces neurochemical changes in regions of the self-control networks. To our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating the positive effects on brain metabolism in the ACC following brief intervention, suggesting a potential mechanism and implications of mindfulness meditation in ameliorating disorders such as addiction, depression and schizophrenia, which often involve the dysfunction of self-control networks and glutamatergic system (i.e. lower glutamate metabolism).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1142-1145
Number of pages4
Issue number16
StatePublished - Nov 4 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • N -acetylaspartate
  • anterior cingulate cortex
  • choline
  • glutamate
  • integrative body-mind training
  • mindfulness meditation
  • proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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