'Mindful People' Feel Less Pain; MRI Imaging Pinpoints Supporting Brain Activity

Fadel Zeidan

A study conducted at Wake Forest School of Medicine set out to learn why some people seem to feel less pain than others, and may have found one of the answers—mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is related to being aware of the present moment without too much emotional reaction or judgment,” said the study’s lead author, Fadel Zeidan, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy. “We now know that some people are more mindful than others, and those people seemingly feel less pain.”

The study, which included whole-brain analysis using functional magnetic resonance imaging, was published ahead-of-print in the journal PAIN.

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Research Funding
Research reported on was supported by the following grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

“Mindful People” Feel Less Pain; MRI Imaging Pinpoints Supporting Brain Activity: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health grants R21-AT007247, F32-AT006949, K99/R00-AT008238 and F30-AT009165; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, R01-NS239426. Additional support: Mind and Life Institute Francisco J. Varela Award and the Wake Forest Center for Integrative Medicine.