Jocelyne Azar, MD, MHM, MHPE
Dr. Azar is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the LAU School of Medicine in the Division of Psychiatry/Department of Internal Medicine. She is the Head of the Division of Psychiatry at the LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital. Dr. Azar is actively involved in the academic development of students and residents as the residency program director and core clerkship director.
Dr. Azar graduated with an MD and completed her residency training in psychiatry at the Saint Joseph University Faculty of Medicine. She has a University Diploma in Eating Disorders from St. Joseph University/Rene Descartes, Paris V. A Diploma in Forensic Medicine from St. Joseph University/Universite de Rouen, France. And, a Diploma in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from St. Joseph University/Rene Descartes, Paris V.
Dr. Azar then pursued a Masters degree in Health and Hospital Management at the Ecole Superieure des Affaires in Lebanon. She also completed a Masters in Health Professions Education (FAIMER Distance Learning) at Keele University in the UK.
Mindfulness meditation has received attention in neuroscience research over the past two decades. Behavioral studies suggest that mindfulness mediation provides beneficial effects on a number of cognitive domains, including attention, memory, executive function, and cognitive flexibility. In addition, these effects have been found in multiple brain regions, including the cerebral cortex, subcortical grey and white matter, brain stem and cerebellum. Studies showed consistent difference between meditators and non- meditators, including areas key to meta-awareness (prefrontal cortex), exteroceptive and interoceptive body awareness (sensory cortices and insula), memory (hippocampus), and emotional regulation (anterior cingulate and orbitofrontal cortex).
Mindfulness meditation influences our ability to concentrate, strengthen our emotion regulation skills, and enhance our self-awareness. Better attention control is related to increase in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) activation in experienced meditators, allowing them to make more conscious decisions and pay more attention during action execution. In addition, after mindfulness practice, people reported lower intensity and frequency of negative emotions and improved positive mood states. This might reveal that they are more successful at dealing with negative emotions. Areas of the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) show high activity during rest, mind wandering, and theory of mind, but relatively little activity in meditators. An uncoupling of the right insula and medial PFC and increased connectivity of the right insula with dorsolateral PFC regions in individuals after mindfulness training was also reported. This might express a shift in self-referential processing from an affective or subjective valuation towards more self-detached and objective analysis of interoceptive and exteroceptive sensory events after meditation.