Author: Anna Xu, Chloe S Zimmerman, Sara W Lazar, Yan Ma, Catherine E Kerr, Albert Yeung
1 Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States.
2 Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States.
3 Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States.
4 Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States.
5 Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.
6 Center for Dynamical Biomarkers, Division of Interdisciplinary Medicine and Biotechnology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.
7 Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.
8 Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.
Conference/Journal: Front Integr Neurosci
Date published: 2020 May 28
Other: Volume ID: 14 , Pages: 25 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fnint.2020.00025. , Word Count: 234
Objective: Tai chi (TC), a contemplative practice combining slow movements and deep breathing, has been shown to be clinically effective in alleviating depressive symptoms. Feelings of fatigue or low vitality often accompany major depressive disorder (MDD) though they are commonly overlooked and not well understood neurologically. By using resting state functional connectivity (rs-FC) using the insula as the seed, this study examines the relationship between mood and vitality symptoms in MDD and how they are impacted by TC training. Methods: Patients (N = 16) with MDD participated in a 10-week TC intervention. Self-report scores of vitality (using the SF-36 scale) and depressed mood (using the Beck Depression Inventory) as well as rs-fMRI were collected pre- and post-intervention. A seed-to-voxel approach was used to test whether changes in insular rs-FC were related to therapeutic improvement in MDD-related symptoms resulting from TC practice. Results: We found decreased self-reported depressed mood and increased vitality following the TC intervention. Furthermore, decreases in depressed mood were associated with increased rs-FC between the right anterior insula (AIC) and superior temporal gyrus and caudate (cluster-corrected p < 0.05). Increased vitality was associated with increased rs-FC between the right posterior insula (PIC) and regions associated with sensorimotor processes (cluster-corrected p < 0.05). Conclusion: These results provide support for differential changes in insula connectivity as neural correlates of symptom improvement in MDD.
Keywords: Tai Chi; fatigue; insula; interoception; major depressive disorder; mood; resting-state functional connectivity; vitality.