Research Update

May 7, 2024 by

Mindfulness Training Has a Long-term Impact on Neuroplasticity and Symptoms Among Patients with Panic Disorder

This study from South Korea examined the long-term effects of an eight-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) course on neuroplasticity in specific brain regions over a period of two years in patients with panic disorder.  They also assessed the relationships between these brain changes and the severity of symptoms.  A total of 71 participants were enrolled and underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at baseline and after 2 years (26 who received MBCT as an adjunct to medications [MBCT+M], 20 treated with medications alone [M-alone], and 25 healthy controls).  The MBCT+M group showed significantly greater improvements in their Panic Disorder Severity Scale scores after two years than the M-alone group. The groups had different MRI changes over the two years.  Decreased white matter in several brain areas was more common in the MBCT+M group, and these changes were associated with improvements in the severity of panic disorder symptoms.  The authors concluded that the alleviation of these excessive white matter connections can lead to improvements in clinical symptoms in patients with panic disorder, and that the results provide new evidence for the long-term benefits of MBCT on white matter plasticity in panic disorder.

Bang M, Kim B, Lee KS, et al. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2023;77:355-64

Filed Under: News and Notes