PROGRAM SCHEDULE

Day 1, Jun 20, 2019
08:30 - 09:30
Main hall
Onsite registration & Opening
09:30 - 10:10
Main hall
On the role of alpha oscillations for routing and prioritizing information in the working brain: relation to metacognitive awareness
Format : Main Presentation
Speakers
Ole Jensen, University Of Birmingham
Networks in the brain must rely on powerful mechanisms for routing, maintaining and prioritizing information processing. From a larger set of attention and memory studies we now have evidence for the notion that alpha oscillations (9 – 12 Hz) are inhibitory and serve to route information: ‘gating by inhibition’. The alpha band activity is under top-down control by areas in the dorsal attention network including striatal regions. The alpha activity is particularly strongly modulated in sensory regions in attention and working memory tasks. Amongst others, we have been investigating how meta-awareness relates to alpha band oscillations in the somatosensory system. An MEG study revealed that alpha power in somatosensory regions corresponded to self-reported attentional focus. Finally, we have attempted to relate the finding findings on metacognition and alpha oscillations to the ability to engage in mindfulness meditation. 
10:20 - 11:00
Main hall
Neural mechanism of attention in mindfulness
Format : Main Presentation
Speakers
Sara Lazar, Harvard Medical School
Prof. Sara Lazar will provide information about how mindfulness influences hippocampal structure and function in relation to recall of conditioned fear and mental set suppression. These findings will be discussed in relation to anxiety and depression. It will also be discussed how different meditation practices differ in terms of brain activity.
11:00 - 11:40
Main hall
Questions and answers
11:40 - 12:00
Garden
Coffee break
12:00 - 13:00
Main hall
Short presentations
Format : Short Presentation
1. Suppression and substitution strategies in excluding intrusives thoughts from awareness - Javier Pacios (Escuela de Trabajo Social, Universidad Complutense de Madrid). 2. Dispositional mindfulness and event-related potential (ERP) markers of emotion processing in Vietnamese children - Thy Nguyen (Bangor University). 3. Mindfulness Meditation and Executive Control: a Meta-Analysis - Luis Cásedas (Universidad de Granada). 4. Enhancing Attention, Mindfulness and Social-Emotional Competence in Elementary School Children through a Mindfulness-Based Intervention in the Classroom: A Randomized Controlled Trial - Carlos García Rubio (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). 
13:00 - 13:40
Garden
Posters and dialogues
13:40 - 14:20
Garden
Cocktail lunch
14:20 - 15:00
Main hall
The neural correlates of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in chronic back pain patients and adults with autism spectrum disorder
Format : Main Presentation
Speakers
Blair Braden, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a robust intervention for alleviating depression and anxiety, which are common co-morbid symptoms accompanying many other conditions. Elucidating the unique and shared neural correlates of MBSR-induced depression and anxiety reductions will help optimize this intervention for individual groups. In a series of experiments, we used task-based fMRI to identify the neural correlates of MBSR-induced depression and anxiety reduction in chronic back pain patients and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Even with relatively small samples, we were able to uncover functional brain changes by implementing hypothesis-driven tasks. In both studies, depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II) showed greater improvement than anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory). Back pain patients showed additional improvement in perceived pain. In these patients, we probed MBSR-induced neural changes associated with gaining awareness to one’s socio- emotional state and found increased activation in bilateral subgenual anterior cingulate cortex and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Conversely, a large body of literature delineates fundamental neural differences associated with socio-emotional awareness in adults with ASD that may stem from deficits in theory of own mind. Therefore, when implementing MBSR in adults with ASD, we probed neural changes associated with non-social self-reflection. We found increased activation in middle cingulate cortex (MCC) which correlated with depression reduction. Furthermore, functional connectivity increased between MCC and somatosensory cortex, suggesting enhanced embodied cognition. In both studies, neural changes were not observed in active control groups. Continuing to uncover the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness-induced symptom improvement holds promise for optimizing interventions such as MBSR for personalized medicine.
15:10 - 15:50
Main hall
Brain Mechanisms of Stress Reduction
Format : Main Presentation
Speakers
Yi-Yuan Tang, Texas Tech University
No one is stress free. How we perceive, process and regulate stress is vital to our health and well-being. In this talk, Dr. Yi-Yuan Tang will first summarize mindfulness effects on stress reduction based on a series of longitudinal studies. Then he will provide evidence on how self-control system in the brain and parasympathetic system in the body work together to reduce stress, improve immune function and performance, and induce brain plasticity. Finally, Dr. Tang will propose ways to understand and handle stress through training our body and mind.
15:50 - 16:30
Main hall
Questions and Answers
16:30 - 16:50
Garden
Coffee break
16:50 - 17:50
Main hall
Short presentations
Format : Short Presentation
1. Mindfulness to promote cognitive development during childhood: a randomized controlled trial to examine the effects of mindfulness training on neural indices of inhibitory control in children of a high-risk school in Latin-America - Catherine Andreu (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile). 2. Psychological distress and inflammation in chronic back pain - Gustavo G. Diex. 3. Enhancing resilience and wellbeing in GP trainees through developing mindful practice - Petra Hanson (Warwick Medical School). 4. Mindfulness and compassion practice modify attentional processing of emotional stimuli: An Emotional Attentional Blink study - Pablo Roca Morales (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). 
18:00 - 19:00
Main hall
Fundamentals of mindfulness interventions
Format : Workshop
Speakers
Ronald Siegel, Harvard Medical School
Day 2, Jun 21, 2019
08:30 - 09:30
Main hall
Onsite registration & Opening
09:30 - 10:10
Main hall
Embodied mindfulness: Brain - body interaction in attention regulation
Format : Main Presentation
Speakers
Nazareth Castellanos, Nirakara Lab
Attention regulation is a complex phenomena that should not only involve different parts of the brain, but also cardiac, breath and gut dynamics. Aiming to develop a physiological model of embodied mind we scanned 50 participants with Magnetoencephalography and a serie of peripheral electrodes measuring the electric field of heart, and gut as well as pressure sensors for bilateral breathing. Participants were selected according to their meditation practice following a regressive curve from novices to expert meditators. Participants were asked to pay attention to breathing before and after breathing slowing down. We correlated the mindfulness practice hours with physiological parameters to test the change of global and pairwise embodied coherence with meditation practice and life style, as well as compare the embodied mechanisms of attention regulation.
10:20 - 11:00
Main hall
What can mindfulness practice teach us about the resting state?
Format : Main Presentation
Speakers
Judson Brewer, Brown University
How do habits form, and why are they so hard to break? In 2014 Time magazine declared a “mindful revolution” due to its growing popularity and research suggesting that mindfulness may help to treat a number of health-related problems from anxiety to addiction. However, little is known about how (and how well) it works. In this talk, Dr. Brewer, a world-renowned expert in behavior change, will map how our minds form habits, and how we can use mindfulness training to hack this same learning process to break out of unhealthy habits ranging from emotional eating to anxiety. He will highlight the scientific research underlying behavior change using examples from clinical studies of app-based mindfulness training for smoking (Craving to Quit), eating (Eat Right Now) and anxiety (Unwinding Anxiety), as well as brain imaging studies from his lab. He will also show how we can tap into our reward-based learning systems to build our natural capacities of awareness, kindness, and curiosity.
11:00 - 11:40
Main hall
Questions and answers
11:40 - 12:00
Garden
Coffee break
12:00 - 13:40
Garden
Networking and dialogues
13:40 - 14:20
Garden
Cocktail lunch
14:20 - 15:00
Main hall
Consciousness and our place in nature
Format : Main Presentation
Speakers
Giulio Tononi, University Of Wisconsin–Madison School Of Medicine
What is consciousness, and what is its neural substrate in the brain? Why are certain parts of the brain important for consciousness, but not others that have even more brain cells and are just as complicated? Why does consciousness fade with dreamless sleep even though the brain remains active? Does consciousness always fade when patients become unresponsive after brain damage, during generalized seizures, during general anesthesia, or even in deep sleep? And are newborns, animals, and intelligent computers conscious? Integrated information theory (IIT) is an attempt to answer these and other questions in a principled manner. IIT starts not from the brain, but from consciousness itself - the world of experience – and derives from it what it takes for a system to be conscious. The results of this exploration account for many empirical findings, generate counterintuitive predictions, and have already led to the development of promising new tests for the practical assessment of consciousness in non-communicative subjects. They also spur a reassessment of our own place in nature.
15:10 - 15:50
Main hall
Neurophenomenological exploration of self-dissolution
Format : Main Presentation
Speakers
Yair Dor-Ziderman, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya
Yair Dor-Ziderman will make the case for combining phenomenology, neuroscience and meditative training for studying minimal aspects of self-awareness. Minimal self-awareness refers to what remains of our 'self' after stripping away the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and our perceived continuity over time; an immediate presence imbued with the sense of being a knowing and enduring agent inhabiting a body situated within, but separate from, a world of things and other beings. Buddhist mind training systems have long focused on experiential investigation of such states as keys to liberation and well-being. Doz-Zimerman will present his group's neurophenomenological research agenda to prove these topics. He will share the findings of initial proof-of-concept studies, showing that subtle states of self consciousness can be produced and studied within laboratory settings. He will suggest how both the subjective experience and brain oscillations of long-term meditators serve as complementary means for advancing our knowledge in a meaningful way. Finally, he will describe his group present efforts at rigorous validation, replication and extension of these results to a larger population through a custom-tailored training regime. 
15:50 - 16:30
Main hall
Questions and Answers
16:30 - 16:50
Garden
Coffee break
16:50 - 17:50
Main hall
Short presentations
Format : Short Presentation
1. Improving self-awareness of motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson's Disease by using Mindfulness - Timo Buchwitz (Clinic for Neurology, University Hospital Giessen and Marburg).2. Embodied mindfulness: Brain - body interaction in resting state - Pablo Cuesta (Centro de Tecnología Biomédica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid). 3. Structural and functional MRI correlates of the state of thoughtless awareness achieved with Sahaja Yoga Meditation - Sergio Elías Hernández Alonso (Universidad de La Laguna). 4. Space and time in the brain: entangling the reality - José Antonio Villacorta (Grupo de Investigación de Sistemas Cognitivos y Neurorobótica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid).
18:00 - 19:00
Main hall
Closing conference
Format : Main Presentation
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