Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness

A 2003 study found changes in brain and immune function after a short program in mindfulness meditation. The findings suggest that mindfulness changes brain and immune functionin positive ways. The authors, RICHARD J. DAVIDSON, PHD, JON KABAT-ZINN, PHD, JESSICA SCHUMACHER, MS, MELISSA ROSENKRANZ, BA, DANIEL MULLER, MD, PHD, SAKI F. SANTORELLI, EDD, FERRIS URBANOWSKI, MA, ANNE HARRINGTON, PHD, KATHERINE BONUS, MA, AND JOHN F. SHERIDAN, PHD, performed a randomized, controlled study on the effects on brain and immune function of a clinical training program in mindfulness meditation. They found significant increases in left-sided anterior activation, a pattern previously associated with positive affect, in the meditators compared with the nonmeditators. They also found significant increases in antibody titers to influenza vaccine among subjects in the meditation compared with those in the wait-list control group. Finally, the magnitude of increase in left-sided activation predicted the magnitude of antibody titer rise to the vaccine.

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