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Published Online: 15 March 2021

Reconfiguration of Electroencephalography Microstate Networks after Breath-Focused, Digital Meditation Training

Publication: Brain Connectivity
Volume 11, Issue Number 2


Sustained attention and working memory were improved in young adults after they engaged in a recently developed, closed-loop, digital meditation practice. Whether this type of meditation also has a sustained effect on dominant resting-state networks is currently unknown. In this study, we examined the resting brain states before and after a period of breath-focused, digital meditation training versus placebo using an electroencephalography (EEG) microstate approach. We found topographical changes in postmeditation rest, compared with baseline rest, selectively for participants who were actively involved in the meditation training and not in participants who engaged with an active, expectancy-match, placebo control paradigm. Our results suggest a reorganization of brain network connectivity after 6 weeks of intensive meditation training in brain areas, mainly including the right insula, the superior temporal gyrus, the superior parietal lobule, and the superior frontal gyrus bilaterally. These findings provide an opening for the development of a novel noninvasive treatment of neuropathological states by low-cost, breath-focused, digital meditation practice, which can be monitored by the EEG microstate approach.


Impact statement

Breath-focused, digital meditation training leads to sustained changes of resting-state, brain network functional connectivity, as assessed with electroencephalography microstates.

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Information & Authors


Published In

cover image Brain Connectivity
Brain Connectivity
Volume 11Issue Number 2March 2021
Pages: 146 - 155
PubMed: 33403921


Published online: 15 March 2021
Published in print: March 2021
Published ahead of print: 9 February 2021
Published ahead of production: 6 January 2021


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Lucie Bréchet [email protected]
Functional Brain Mapping Laboratory, Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM), Lausanne, Switzerland.
David A. Ziegler
Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Neuroscape, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Weill Institute for Neurosciences and Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Alexander J. Simon
Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Neuroscape, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Weill Institute for Neurosciences and Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Denis Brunet
Functional Brain Mapping Laboratory, Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM), Lausanne, Switzerland.
Adam Gazzaley
Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Department of Physiology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Neuroscape, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Weill Institute for Neurosciences and Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Christoph M. Michel
Functional Brain Mapping Laboratory, Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM), Lausanne, Switzerland.


Address correspondence to: Lucie Bréchet, Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Campus Biotech, 9 Chemin des Mines, Geneva CH-1202, Switzerland [email protected]

Authors' Contributions

All authors contributed significantly to the work. D.A.Z. and A.J.S. collected the data and preprocessed the EEG. D.A.Z. and A.G. designed and supervised the experiment and the data collection. L.B., D.B., and C.M.M. analyzed the data. L.B. and C.M.M. wrote the manuscript. D.A.Z. and A.G. corrected the manuscript.

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

Funding Information

The NIH, grants R21 AG041071 and R01 AG049424, provided financial support for the collection of data reported in this study. The data analysis was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Grant No. 320030_184677 (to C.M.M.).

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