Judson Alyn Brewer MD/PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Medical Director, Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic
Addiction; Cognitive Control; Mindfulness training; Relapse Prevention; Smoking Cessation; Meditation
- Mindfulness training for smoking cessation
- fMRI activation during mindfulness meditation
- Self-reported mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation measures
My laboratory studies how mindfulness training might help people quit smoking and using alcohol and other drugs. We also are looking to see how mindfulness training might change the way the brain activates when we see triggers for cigarette or drug use or when we get stressed out.
We are also interested in what happens to the brain when people practice mindfulness meditation. To this end, we are studying brain activity in experienced and novice meditators using fMRI. We hope that this will help us develop better ways to help people quit smoking/using drugs.
Extensive Research Description
My primary research interest is the elucidation of
neurobiological mechanisms underlying the interface between stress, mindfulness
and the addictive process, and in developing effective means for the modulation
of these processes to better treat substance use disorders. In such, the
principal focus of my laboratory is on studying mindfulness training as a
mechanistic probe and treatment for addictions. Using neurobiological and
physiological probes such as fMRI, skin conductance, and heart rate
variability, we measure the effects that mindfulness training has on stress
provocation and treatment outcomes in individuals with addictive disorders.
Additionally, my laboratory is interested in improving
methods to assay mindfulness practice and acquisition. We are working to
delineate brain activation patterns during specific meditation techniques, and
to link these to physiological and behavioral measures. Ultimately, we hope to
be able to use this knowledge to not only more accurately measure
neurophysiological correlates of mindfulness, but to improve mindfulness
acquisition, leading to directly measurable effects on health outcomes.
- Elwafi, H. M., Witkiewitz, K., Mallik, S., Thornhill, T. A., Brewer, J. A., “Mechanisms of mindfulness training in smoking cessation: moderation of the relationship between craving and cigarette use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence (in press).
- Brewer, J. A., Davis, J. H., Goldstein, J. (2013) “Why is it so hard to pay attention, or is it? Mindfulness, the factors of awakening and reward-based learning.” Mindfulness 4: 75-80.
- Brewer, J. A., Elwafi, H. M., Davis, J. H. (2012) “Craving to Quit: psychological models and neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness training as treatment for addictions.” Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (in press).
- Libby, D. J., Worhunsky, P. D., Pilver, C. E., J. A. Brewer. (2012) “Meditation-induced changes in high-frequency heart rate variability predict smoking outcomes.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6:54.
- Brewer, J. A., P. D. Worhunsky, J. R. Gray, YY Tang, J. Weber, H. Kober. (2011) “Meditation training is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity.” PNAS 108(50): 20254-9.
- Brewer, J. A., S. Mallik, T. A. Babuscio, C. Nich, H. E. Johnson, C. M. Deleone, C. A. Minnix-Cotton, S. Byrne, H. Kober, A. Weinstein, K. M. Carroll, B. J. Rounsaville. (2011) “Mindfulness Training for smoking cessation: results from a randomized controlled trial.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 119: 72-80.
- Brewer, J. A., S. Bowen, J. T. Smith, G. A. Marlatt, M. N. Potenza, (2010) “Applying Mindfulness-Based Treatments to Co-Occurring Disorders: What Can We Learn From the Brain?” Addiction 105: 1698-1706.
- Brewer, J. A., R. Sinha, J. A. Chen, R. N. Michalsen, T. A. Babuscio, C. Nich, A. Grier, K. L. Bergquist, D. L. Reis, M. N. Potenza, K. M. Carroll, B. J. Rounsaville (2009), “Mindfulness Training and Stress Reactivity in Substance Abuse: Results from A Randomized, Controlled Stage I Pilot Study.” Substance Abuse 30 (4): 306-17.
- Brewer, J. A., P. D. Worhunsky, K. M. Carroll, B. J. Rounsaville, M. N. Potenza (2008) “Pre-Treatment Brain Activation During Stroop Task is Associated with Treatment Outcomes in Cocaine Dependent Patients.” Biological Psychiatry 64(11): 998-1004.
- Brewer, J. A. and M. N. Potenza. (2008) “The neurobiology and genetics of impulse control disorders: Relationships to drug addictions.” Biochemical Pharmacology 75: 63-75.