Functional brain changes during mindfulness-based cognitive therapy associated with tinnitus severity

Benjamin Zimmerman, Megan Finnegan, Subhadeep Paul, Sara Schmidt, Yihsin Tai, Kelly Roth, Yuguo Chen, Fatima T. Husain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mindfulness-based therapies have been introduced as a treatment option to reduce the psychological severity of tinnitus, a currently incurable chronic condition. This pilot study of twelve subjects with chronic tinnitus investigates the relationship between measures of both task-based and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and measures of tinnitus severity, assessed with the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI). MRI was measured at three time points: before, after, and at follow-up of an 8-week long mindfulness-based cognitive therapy intervention. During the task-based fMRI with affective sounds, no significant changes were observed between sessions, nor was the activation to emotionally salient compared to neutral stimuli significantly predictive of TFI. Significant results were found using resting state fMRI. There were significant decreases in functional connectivity among the default mode network, cingulo-opercular network, and amygdala across the intervention, but no differences were seen in connectivity with seeds in the dorsal attention network (DAN) or fronto-parietal network and the rest of the brain. Further, only resting state connectivity between the brain and the amygdala, DAN, and fronto-parietal network significantly predicted TFI. These results point to a mostly differentiated landscape of functional brain measures related to tinnitus severity on one hand and mindfulness-based therapy on the other. However, overlapping results of decreased amygdala connectivity with parietal areas and the negative correlation between amygdala-parietal connectivity and TFI is suggestive of a brain imaging marker of successful treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number747
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberJUL
StatePublished - 2019


  • Functional MRI
  • Graph connectivity analysis
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
  • Resting state MRI
  • Tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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