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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy improves frontal control in bipolar disorder: a pilot EEG study

Fleur M Howells1*, Victoria L Ives-Deliperi2, Neil R Horn1 and Dan J Stein1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, South Africa

2 Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, South Africa

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Citation and License

BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:15  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-15

Published: 29 February 2012

Abstract

Background

Cognitive processing in Bipolar Disorder is characterized by a number of attentional abnormalities. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy combines mindfulness meditation, a form of attentional training, along with aspects of cognitive therapy, and may improve attentional dysfunction in bipolar disorder patients.

Methods

12 euthymic BD patients and 9 control participants underwent record of electroencephalography (EEG, band frequency analysis) during resting states (eyes open, eyes closed) and during the completion of a continuous performance task (A-X version, EEG event-related potential (ERP) wave component analysis). The individuals with BD completed an 8-week MBCT intervention and record of EEG was repeated.

Results

(1) Brain activity, individuals with BD showed significantly decreased theta band power, increased beta band power, and decreased theta/beta ratios during the resting state, eyes closed, for frontal and cingulate cortices. Post MBCT intervention improvement over the right frontal cortex was seen in the individuals with BD, as beta band power decreased. (2) Brain activation, individuals with BD showed a significant P300-like wave form over the frontal cortex during the cue. Post MBCT intervention the P300-like waveform was significantly attenuated over the frontal cortex.

Conclusions

Individuals with BD show decreased attentional readiness and activation of non-relevant information processing during attentional processes. These data are the first that show, MBCT in BD improved attentional readiness, and attenuated activation of non-relevant information processing during attentional processes.