Decrease Depressive Rumination with Mindfulness

Decrease Depressive Rumination with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Rumination starts off as a dim light that we stop putting energy into, allowing it to get darker and darker until we can’t see anymore.” – Laura Meyer

 

Worry (concern about the future) and rumination (repetitive thinking about the past) are associated with mental illness, particularly depression. Mindfulness training been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence even in the cases where drugs fail. This is especially true for Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy That is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. These include rumination. It is possible that ruminative thinking is reduced by MBCT and this, in turn, is responsible for the effectiveness of MBCT in reducing depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of depressive rumination: Systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6220915/ ), Perestelo-Perez and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on ruminative thinking for patients with at least one major depressive episode. They found 11 published research studies that were either randomized controlled studies or pseudorandomized controlled studies comparing MBCT to treatment as usual for depression.

 

They report that the literature finds that MBCT significantly reduces ruminative thinking with moderate effect size and that this effect is still present one month later. Five of the studies performed a meditation analysis and reported that the reductions in rumination significantly mediated the effectiveness MBCT on depression. Hence, MBCT appears to reduce the levels of repetitive thinking about the past and this is responsible, in part, for MBCT’s ability to reduce depression.

 

Mindfulness training focuses the mind on the present moment, reducing the influence of memories of the past and projections about the future. So, it would seem to be unsurprising that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) would reduce the frequency with which the mind is focused on memories of the past (rumination). In addition, since depression is characterized by rumination it is also unsurprising that MBCT would effectively reduce depression.

 

So, decrease depressive rumination with mindfulness

 

“Know that practicing is an act of self care and helps stop the cycle of rumination and cultivates more patience, compassion, and peace. Mindfulness is not a panacea for depression, but it’s a good foundation for preventing relapse.” – Elisha Goldstein

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Perestelo-Perez, L., Barraca, J., Peñate, W., Rivero-Santana, A., & Alvarez-Perez, Y. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of depressive rumination: Systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of clinical and health psychology : IJCHP, 17(3), 282-295.

 

Abstract

Background/Objective: This systematic review aims to evaluate the effect of interventions based on the mindfulness and/or acceptance process on ruminative thoughts, in patients with depression. Method:Electronic searches in Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central, PsycInfo, and Cinahl until December 2016, in addition to hand-searches of relevant studies, identified eleven studies that fulfilling inclusion criteria. Results: A meta-analysis of the effect of the intervention compared to usual care showed a significant and moderate reduction of ruminative thoughts (g = −0.59, 95% CI: −0.77, −0.41; I2 = 0%). Furthermore, findings suggest that mindfulness/acceptance processes might mediate changes in rumination, and that they in turn mediate in the clinical effects of interventions. A meta-analysis of three studies that compared the intervention to other active treatments (medication, behavioral activation and cognitive-behavioral therapy, respectively) showed no significant differences. Conclusions: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared to usual care, produces a significant and moderate reduction in rumination. This effect seems independent of the treatment phase (acute or maintenance) or the number of past depressive episodes, and it was maintained one month after the end of treatment. However, further controlled studies with real patients that compare the most commonly used cognitive-behavioral techniques to treat ruminative thoughts to the acceptance and mindfulness techniques are needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6220915/

 

Reduce Treatment-Resistant Depression with Mindfulness

Reduce Treatment-Resistant Depression with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“MBCT is a major achievement. Based on a coherent body of experimental work, the treatment has proven its worth in reducing the recurrence of depression and, as a consequence, changing the future prospects of numerous people whose lives are blighted by repeated episodes of this disabling condition. – David Clark

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering. Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.

 

The most commonly used mindfulness technique for the treatment of depression is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  MBCT was developed specifically to treat depression. It involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. MBCT has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant drugs in relieving the symptoms of depression and preventing depression reoccurrence and relapse. In addition, it appears to be effective as either a supplement to or a replacement for these drugs.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for patients with chronic, treatment-resistant depression: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6175087/ ), Cladder-Micus and colleagues recruited adult patients with current depression who had failed to respond to antidepressant drug treatment. All participants continued with treatment as usual including antidepressant medication, psychological treatment, support by a psychiatric nurse, or day‐hospital treatment. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive 8 weeks, 2,5 hour once a week, of group based Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before and after treatment and 3 and 6 months later for depressive symptoms, remission, rumination, quality of life, mindfulness, and self-compassion.

 

They found that the addition of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to treatment as usual resulted in decreased depressive symptoms which was significant only for participants who completed the program. There was a 42% remission rate for the MBCT group that was significantly better than the 22% rate in the treatment as usual group. The MBCT group also had significantly improved mindfulness and self-compassion.

 

These results are impressive and corroborate previous findings that MBCT is an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail. Depressed patients are suffering and if the depression isn’t lifted by drug treatments, the suffering becomes chronic. The fact that MBCT can help these treatment resistant patients, reducing depressive symptoms and producing remissions in greater numbers of patients, should not be underestimated. Since suicide is a real possibility in these patients, MBCT may not only be reducing suffering but actually saving lives,

 

So, reduce treatment-resistant depression with mindfulness.

 

MBCT was developed for people with recurring episodes of depression or unhappiness, to prevent relapse. It has been proven effective in patients with major depressive disorder who have experienced at least three episodes of depression.” – Psychology Today

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Abstract

Cladder-Micus, M. B., Speckens, A., Vrijsen, J. N., T Donders, A. R., Becker, E. S., & Spijker, J. (2018). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for patients with chronic, treatment-resistant depression: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial. Depression and anxiety, 35(10), 914-924.

 

Background

Chronic and treatment‐resistant depressions pose serious problems in mental health care. Mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an effective treatment for remitted and currently depressed patients. It is, however, unknown whether MBCT is effective for chronic, treatment‐resistant depressed patients.

Method

A pragmatic, multicenter, randomized‐controlled trial was conducted comparing treatment‐as‐usual (TAU) with MBCT + TAU in 106 chronically depressed outpatients who previously received pharmacotherapy (≥4 weeks) and psychological treatment (≥10 sessions).

Results

Based on the intention‐to‐treat (ITT) analysis, participants in the MBCT + TAU condition did not have significantly fewer depressive symptoms than those in the TAU condition (–3.23 [–6.99 to 0.54], d = 0.35, P = 0.09) at posttreatment. However, compared to TAU, the MBCT + TAU group reported significantly higher remission rates (χ 2(2) = 4.25, φ = 0.22, P = 0.04), lower levels of rumination (–3.85 [–7.55 to –0.15], d = 0.39, P = 0.04), a higher quality of life (4.42 [0.03–8.81], d = 0.42, P = 0.048), more mindfulness skills (11.25 [6.09–16.40], d = 0.73, P < 0.001), and more self‐compassion (2.91 [1.17–4.65], d = 0.64, P = 0.001). The percentage of non‐completers in the MBCT + TAU condition was relatively high (n = 12, 24.5%). Per‐protocol analyses revealed that those who completed MBCT + TAU had significantly fewer depressive symptoms at posttreatment compared to participants receiving TAU (–4.24 [–8.38 to –0.11], d = 0.45, P = 0.04).

Conclusion

Although the ITT analysis did not reveal a significant reduction in depressive symptoms of MBCT + TAU over TAU, MBCT + TAU seems to have beneficial effects for chronic, treatment‐resistant depressed patients in terms of remission rates, rumination, quality of life, mindfulness skills, and self‐compassion. Additionally, patients who completed MBCT showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms. Reasons for non‐completion should be further investigated.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6175087/

 

Reduce Psychological Distress and Improve Emotion Regulation with Online Mindfulness Training

Reduce Psychological Distress and Improve Emotion Regulation with Online Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindful emotion regulation represents the capacity to remain mindfully aware at all times, irrespective of the apparent valence or magnitude of any emotion that is experienced. It does not entail suppression of the emotional experience, nor any specific attempts to reappraise or alter it in any way. Instead, MM involves a systematic retraining of awareness and nonreactivity, leading to defusion from whatever is experienced, and allowing the individual to more consciously choose those thoughts, emotions and sensations they will identify with, rather than habitually reacting to them.” – Richard Chambers

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a certified trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, online mindfulness training programs have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. There is a need to investigate the effectiveness of these programs as an alternative to face-to-face trainings.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Online Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Psychological Distress and the Mediating Role of Emotion Regulation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02090/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_820262_69_Psycho_20181108_arts_A ), Ma and colleagues recruited adult participants over the web and randomly assigned them to 4 different online groups; group mindfulness-based intervention, self-direct mindfulness-based intervention, discussion group, and blank control group.

 

The group mindfulness-based intervention was similar to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and included homework, meditation, body scan, yoga, and cognitive therapy. It was delivered over 8 weeks in 8, 2-hour, sessions including a 40-minute mindfulness practice and group online discussion. The self-direct mindfulness-based intervention condition was the same as the group mindfulness-based intervention except that there were no group discussions. The discussion group met online and discussed emotions including “positive and negative events, stress, and interpersonal communications, as well as how the participants perceived their psychological distress such as stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms, and how they dealt with their emotional problems.” The blank control group was a wait-list group that received no treatment. All participants were measured before and after the 8 weeks of training for mindfulness, emotion regulation, anxiety, and depression.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline the group mindfulness-based intervention and self-direct mindfulness-based intervention groups had large significant increases in mindfulness and emotion regulation and decreases in anxiety and depression. The group mindfulness-based intervention group generally produced larger effects than the self-direct mindfulness-based intervention group. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of emotion regulation and the lower the levels of anxiety and depression and that the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of anxiety and depression.

 

Previous research using face-to-face mindfulness training has demonstrated that mindfulness improves emotion regulation, anxiety and depression. The contribution of the present study is demonstrating that similar benefits can be produced by online mindfulness training, especially when group discussion is included. The group discussions are generally included in the face-to-face mindfulness trainings including Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). So, it would appear that being able to share and discuss experiences with other participants is important in producing maximum benefits of the trainings but it doesn’t matter if they occur face-to-face or online.

 

So, reduce psychological distress and improve emotion regulation with online mindfulness training.

 

both face-to-face and internet-based mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) reduced psychological distress compared with usual care.” – Matthew Stenger

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ma Y, She Z, Siu AF-Y, Zeng X and Liu X (2018) Effectiveness of Online Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Psychological Distress and the Mediating Role of Emotion Regulation. Front. Psychol. 9:2090. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02090

 

Online mindfulness-based intervention as a feasible and acceptable approach has received mounting attention in recent years, yet more evidence is needed to demonstrate its effectiveness. The primary objective of this study was to examine the effects of online mindfulness-based programs on psychological distress (depression and anxiety). The randomized controlled intervention design consisted of four conditions: group mindfulness-based intervention (GMBI), self-direct mindfulness-based intervention (SDMBI), discussion group (DG) and blank control group (BCG). The program lasted 8 weeks and a total of 76 participants completed the pre- and post-test. Results showed that participants in GMBI and SDMBI had significant pre- and post-test differences on mindfulness, emotion regulation difficulties, and psychological distress, with medium to large effect sizes. In addition, ANCOVA results indicated significant effects of group membership on post-test scores of mindfulness, depression and anxiety when controlling the pretest scores, with medium to large effect sizes. The GMBI appeared to exert the greatest effects on outcome variables in comparison with other groups. In addition, changes in emotion regulation difficulties across groups could mediate the relationship between changes in mindfulness dimensions (Observing and Describing) and changes in psychological distress across groups. These results provided encouraging evidence for the effectiveness of online mindfulness-based interventions in reducing psychological distress, and the possible mediating role of emotion regulation, while also underlining the importance of group discussion in online mindfulness-based interventions.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02090/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_820262_69_Psycho_20181108_arts_A

 

 

Improve Anxiety Disorders with Mindfulness

Improve Anxiety Disorders with Mindfulness

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“it’s clear that mindfulness allows us to interrupt automatic, reflexive fight, flight, or freeze reactions—reactions that can lead to anxiety, fear, foreboding, and worry.” – Bob Stahl

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the suffer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. This may indicate that treating the cognitive processes that underlie the anxiety may be an effective treatment. Indeed, Mindfulness practices have been shown to be quite effective in relieving anxiety.

 

Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But, there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disordersMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was developed to treat depression but has been found to also be effective for other mood disorders. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate mood disorders. MBCT has been found to help relieve anxiety.

 

Although the ability of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to relieve anxiety is well established in western populations, there is less research employing oriental populations. In today’s Research News article “Feasibility study of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for anxiety disorders in a Japanese setting.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6127937/ ), Sado and colleagues recruited Japanese participants who were diagnosed with either panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder. They were provided with an 8-week program of MBCT. The participants met in groups for 2 hours, once a week, and were asked to practice at home. They were measured before, during, and after training and 4 and 8 weeks later for mindfulness, anxiety, depression, psychological distress, health status, quality of life, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder.

 

They found that after treatment there were significant increases in mindfulness and decreases in anxiety and agoraphobia that were maintained 8 weeks after the end of treatment. There was also a significant improvement in psychological distress after treatment, but this was not maintained at follow-up. These results are similar to those observed in western populations. So, it appears that MBCT is similarly effective in eastern (Japanese) anxiety disorder sufferers. This suggests that MBCT is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety disorders in a wide range of patients, races, and cultures.

 

So, improve anxiety disorders with mindfulness.

 

“A review of 47 studies showed a 5 percent to 10 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms and a 10 percent to 20 percent improvement in depression in individuals who meditated.” – Nicole Ostrow

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sado, M., Park, S., Ninomiya, A., Sato, Y., Fujisawa, D., Shirahase, J., & Mimura, M. (2018). Feasibility study of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for anxiety disorders in a Japanese setting. BMC Research Notes, 11, 653. http://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-018-3744-4

 

Abstract

Objective

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could be a treatment option for anxiety disorders. Although its effectiveness under conditions of low pharmacotherapy rates has been demonstrated, its effectiveness under condition of high pharmacotherapy rate is still unknown. The aim of the study was to evaluate effectiveness of MBCT under the context of high pharmacotherapy rates.

Results

A single arm with pre-post comparison design was adopted. Those who had any diagnosis of anxiety disorders, between the ages of 20 and 74, were included. Participants attended 8 weekly 2-hour-long sessions followed by 2 monthly boosters. Evaluation was conducted at baseline, in the middle, at end of the intervention, and at follow-up. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)-state was set as the primary outcome. Pre-post analyses with mixed-effect models repeated measures were conducted. Fourteen patients were involved. The mean age was 45.0, and 71.4% were female. The mean change in the STAI-state at every point showed statistically significant improvement. The STAI-trait also showed improvement at a high significance level from the very early stages. The participants showed significant improvement at least one point in some other secondary outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6127937/

 

Improve Anxiety and Depression with Online Mindfulness Training

 

Improve Anxiety and Depression with Online Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

So many people who want and would benefit from mindfulness meditation training do not ever receive it because of schedules, location, and / or an aversion to being in live groups. Offering mindfulness training in an Internet format allows these people to actually receive the training benefits. We are lucky to live in a world where such alternative formats are available.” – Helané Wahbeh

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. They have been shown to be very helpful in treating anxiety and depression. The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a certified trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient.

 

As an alternative, mindfulness training programs have been developed to be implemented over the internet. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But, the question arises as to the effectiveness of these programs in inducing mindfulness and improving the treatment of anxiety and depression. In today’s Research News article “). Online mindfulness-enhanced cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety and depression: Outcomes of a pilot trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6112099/ ), Kladnitski and colleagues addressed this issue.

 

They recruited participants through social media who were diagnosed with either generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and/or major depressive disorder. They completed a 7-week online program of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness training. CBT that is designed to address and change maladaptive thought patterns that lead to psychological problems and includes behavioral activation, cognitive restructuring, and graded exposure. They added online mindfulness training also to the program. The entire program was similar to the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program. The participants were measured online before, during, and after the 7-week program and 3 months later for psychiatric symptoms, psychiatric distress, depression, anxiety, mental well-being, disability, worry, rumination, experiential avoidance, emotion regulation, and mindfulness.

 

They found that engagement in the program was low with only 59% of the original participants completing the 7-week program. All of the measures showed significant improvements with moderate to large effect sizes after training compared to baseline and these improvements persisted 3 months later. So, the 7-week online program or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness training reduced the psychological pain and improved the psychological well-being of adults with anxiety or depressive disorders.

 

These results need to be interpreted with caution because of the high drop out rates. The individuals who were not being helped or even harmed by the program may have dropped out leaving only those participants who were improving. Future work needs to improve retention rates for the treatment to be seen as useful. Also, the lack of an active control condition opens the study up to a large array of potential confounds.

 

But, it has been well established in a number of well controlled studies that mindfulness improves the symptoms and mental well being of patients with anxiety and depression. The present study simply demonstrates that presentation of the treatment online is similarly effective. By being able to provide the treatment online it greatly reduces costs, makes the treatment more widely available even to remote locations, and makes it convenient for the patients. That is why it is so important to establish its effectiveness of the online program in relieving the suffering of anxiety and depression patients.

 

So, improve anxiety and depression with online mindfulness training.

 

“participants who completed the online mindfulness course reported significantly lower levels of perceived stress, depression and anxiety.” – Be Mindful

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kladnitski, N., Smith, J., Allen, A., Andrews, G., & Newby, J. M. (2018). Online mindfulness-enhanced cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety and depression: Outcomes of a pilot trial. Internet Interventions, 13, 41–50. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2018.06.003

 

Abstract

Transdiagnostic internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapies (iCBT) are effective for treating anxiety and depression, but there is room for improvement. In this study we developed a new Mindfulness-Enhanced iCBT intervention by incorporating formal and informal mindfulness exercises within an existing transdiagnostic iCBT program for mixed depression and anxiety. We examined the acceptability, feasibility, and outcomes of this new program in a sample of 22 adults with anxiety disorders and/or major depression. Participants took part in the 7-lesson clinician-guided online intervention over 14 weeks, and completed measures of distress (K-10), anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9), mindfulness (FFMQ) and well-being (WEMBWS) at pre-, mid-, post-treatment, and three months post-treatment. Treatment engagement, satisfaction, and side-effects were assessed. We found large, significant reductions in distress (Hedges g = 1.55), anxiety (g = 1.39), and depression (g = 1.96), and improvements in trait mindfulness (g = 0.98) and well-being (g = 1.26) between baseline and post-treatment, all of which were maintained at follow-up. Treatment satisfaction was high for treatment-completers, with minimal side-effects reported, although adherence was lower than expected (59.1% completed). These findings show that it is feasible to integrate online mindfulness training with iCBT for the treatment of anxiety and depression, but further research is needed to improve adherence. A randomised controlled trial is needed to explore the efficacy of this program.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6112099/

 

Improve Mindfulness Treatment Outcomes with Home Practice

Improve Mindfulness Treatment Outcomes with Home Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

 “An average course student practices 30 minutes daily at home, but the good news is that nevertheless, this practice is related to positive benefit. This can be measured as reduced stress, pain, better well-being and so on.” – Science Daily

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

With impacts so great it is important to know how to optimize the development of mindfulness. Most forms of training require or strongly suggest that the participants practice at home. It is not established, however, how important this home practice is to the beneficial outcomes of mindfulness practice. In today’s Research News article “The Utility of Home-Practice in Mindfulness-Based Group Interventions: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968057/ ),  Lloyd and colleagues reviewed and summarized the published research literature on the benefits of home practice in association with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

 

They found 14 controlled studies, 8 of which employed MBSR and 6 employed MBCT treating a total of 725 participants. All of these studies used self-report measures of home practice that varied considerably in technique and variables measured. MBSR and MBCT trainings require home practice of 45 minutes per day for 6 days a week (270 minutes). They report that the studies found that actual home practice varied considerably from study to study ranging from 15% to 88% of the recommended amount. The results reported on the impact of home practice on clinical and non-clinical outcome measures were mixed partially due the wide differences in reporting techniques, analyses reported and procedures. Of the 14 reviewed studies only 7 examined the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes, of these 4 found that home-practice predicted small but significant improvements on clinical outcome measures.

 

Hence, there are indications suggesting that home practice may be useful for improving the clinical outcomes of mindfulness training. But, the research is so widely different that it is impossible to reach firm conclusions. There is a great need for more attention to the topic employing more standardized assessment techniques. It is important to establish what are the necessary components of practice to produce benefits. The reviewed studies suggest that home practice may be beneficial. This should help in the future in better delineating and refining the most beneficial training techniques.

 

So, improve mindfulness treatment outcomes with home practice.

 

“mindfulness home practice may have a small but positive effect on treatment outcomes, however the strength of this association was not found to depend on the length of time people spent practicing.” – Elena Marcus

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Lloyd, A., White, R., Eames, C., & Crane, R. (2018). The Utility of Home-Practice in Mindfulness-Based Group Interventions: A Systematic Review. Mindfulness, 9(3), 673–692. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0813-z

 

Abstract

A growing body of research supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). MBIs consider home-practice as essential to increasing the therapeutic effects of the treatment. To date however, the synthesis of the research conducted on the role of home-practice in controlled MBI studies has been a neglected area. This review aimed to conduct a narrative synthesis of published controlled studies, evaluating mindfulness-based group interventions, which have specifically measured home-practice. Empirical research literature published until June 2016 was searched using five databases. The search strategy focused on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and home-practice. Included studies met the following criteria: controlled trials, participants 18 years and above, evaluations of MBSR or MBCT, utilised standardised quantitative outcome measures and monitored home-practice using a self-reported measure. Fourteen studies met the criteria and were included in the review. Across all studies, there was heterogeneity in the guidance and resources provided to participants and the approaches used for monitoring home-practice. In addition, the guidance on the length of home-practice was variable across studies, which indicates that research studies and teachers are not adhering to the published protocols. Finally, only seven studies examined the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes, of which four found that home-practice predicted improvements on clinical outcome measures. Future research should adopt a standardised approach for monitoring home-practice across MBIs. Additionally, studies should assess whether the amount of home-practice recommended to participants is in line with MBSR/MBCT manualised protocols. Finally, research should utilise experimental methodologies to explicitly explore the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968057/

 

Decrease Depression in Women with Reproductive Problems with Mindfulness

Decrease Depression in Women with Reproductive Problems with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness is a potentially feasible and efficacious intervention for reducing depressive symptoms and preventing major depression among people with subthreshold depression in primary care.” – Samuel Wong

 

Infertility is primarily a medical condition due to physiological problems. It is quite common. It is estimated that in the U.S. 6.7 million women, about 10% of the population of women are infertile. Infertility can be more than just a medical issue. It can be an emotional crisis for many couples, especially for the women. Couples attending a fertility clinic reported that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives. Women with infertility reported feeling as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack.

 

Mindfulness training been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail. This is especially true for Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which was specifically developed to treat depression. So, it would be expected that MBCT would be effective in treating the depression that occurs in women with infertility and sexual dysfunction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparative Effectiveness of Antidepressant Medication versus Psychological Intervention on Depression Symptoms in Women with Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5767934/ ), Pasha and colleagues recruited women with infertility who were also showing symptoms of depression. They were randomly assigned to receive either Psychosexual Therapy, Antidepressant drugs, or treatment as usual. Psychosexual Therapy consisted of MBCT, relaxation training, and behavior sex therapy. MBCT consisted of 2-hour sessions once a week for 8 weeks and included home practice. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. Depression and sexual dysfunction levels were measured before and after training.

 

They found that both the Psychosexual Therapy and antidepressant drug groups had significant decreases in depression, but the Psychosexual Therapy group had significantly greater improvements (58% decrease) than the antidepressant drug group (28% decrease). They also found that the lower the levels of depression the higher the levels of sexual function. These results suggest that Psychosexual Therapy that includes Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is not only an effective treatment for depression in women with infertility but is also superior in effectiveness to antidepressant drugs. This is a remarkable result, with Psychosexual Therapy being far superior to drug treatment in treating depression in these women.

 

So, decrease depression in women with reproductive problems with mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness regimens, at least as they are often structured, may be better attuned to addressing the ways that women typically process emotions than the ways that men often do.” – David Orenstein

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Pasha, H., Basirat, Z., Faramarzi, M., & Kheirkhah, F. (2018). Comparative Effectiveness of Antidepressant Medication versus Psychological Intervention on Depression Symptoms in Women with Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction. International Journal of Fertility & Sterility, 12(1), 6–12. http://doi.org/10.22074/ijfs.2018.5229

 

Abstract

Background

Fertility loss is considered as a challenging experience. This study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of antidepressant medication and psychological intervention on depression symptoms in women with infertility and sexual dysfunctions (SD).

Materials and Methods

This randomized, controlled clinical trial study was completed from December 2014 to June 2015 in Babol, Iran. Of the 485 participants, 93 were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to psychosexual therapy (PST), bupropion extended-release (BUP ER) at a dose of 150 mg/d, and control (no intervention) groups. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was completed at the beginning and end of the study. Duration of study was eight weeks. Statistical analyses were performed by using paired-test and analysis of covariance.

Results

The mean depression score on the BDI was 22.35 ± 8.70 in all participants. Mean BDI score decreased significantly in both treatment groups (PST: P<0.0001, BUP: P<0.002) from baseline to end of the study, whereas intra-individual changes in BDI score were not significant in the control group. The decrease in mean BDI score was greater with PST compared to BUP treatment (P<0.005) and the control group (P<0.0001). The PST group showed greater improvement in depression levels (severe to moderate, moderate to mild) in comparison with the two other groups (P<0.001). Drug treatment was well tolerated by the participants in the BUP group.

Conclusion

PST can be a reliable alternative to BUP ER for relieving depression symptoms in an Iranian population of women with infertility and SD

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5767934/

 

Relieve Depression in Patients with Chronic Pain with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Relieve Depression in Patients with Chronic Pain with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“By developing a routine meditation practice, clients can use the technique whenever they start to feel overwhelmed by negative emotions. When sadness occurs and starts to bring up the usual negative associations that trigger relapse of depression, the client is equipped with tools that will help them replace negative thought patterns with positive.” – Psychology Today

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully it’s mild and short lived. For a wide swath of humanity, however, pain is a constant in their lives. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. Prescription opioid overdoses kill more than 14,000 people annually. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain.

 

Pain involves both physical and psychological issues. The stress, fear, and anxiety produced by pain tends to elicit responses that actually amplify the pain. So, reducing the emotional reactions to pain may be helpful in pain management. There is an accumulating volume of research findings to demonstrate that mind-body therapies have highly beneficial effects on the health and well-being of humans. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve emotion regulation producing more adaptive and less maladaptive responses to emotions. Indeed, mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain in adults.

 

Chronic pain is often accompanied with depression. The most commonly used mindfulness technique for the treatment of depression is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. It is not known, however if MBCT is also effective for the depression accompanying chronic pain.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Unipolar Depression in Patients with Chronic Pain.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6020018/ ), De Jong and colleagues recruited adult patients with chronic pain and who were also clinically depressed. They were randomly assigned to either receive an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) or to a treatment as usual wait list control. The MBCT group met once a week for 2 hours in groups of 7 and also engaged in daily home practice. They were measured before and after training for depression, pain, quality of life, anxiety, and perceptions of improvement.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait list control group that the participants who received MBCT had a significant decrease in depression but not pain. Hence, MBCT was an effective treatment for depression for patients with chronic pain. It did so by not affecting the levels of pain experienced. So, the effectiveness of MBCT was due to influencing depression directly independent of pain. It should be noted that there was not an active control condition and the sample sizes were small. So, these results need to be replicated in a larger randomized controlled clinical trial with an active control. Regardless, the results are encouraging and extend the types of depressed patients helped by MBCT.

 

So, relieve depression in patients with chronic pain with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

 

“Most importantly, I seemed to be developing a whole new relationship with my thoughts. It wasn’t that they’d really changed; they were still the same old wolf- and fire- and death-fearing thoughts, but I could see that they were simply that: thoughts. I did not have to judge them, act on them or indeed do anything very much about them.– Julie Myerson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available at the Contemplative Studies Blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/

They are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

De Jong, M., Peeters, F., Gard, T., Ashih, H., Doorley, J., Walker, R., … Mischoulon, D. (2018). A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Unipolar Depression in Patients with Chronic Pain. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 79(1), 15m10160. http://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.15m10160

 

Abstract

Objective

Chronic Pain (CP) is a disabling illness, often comorbid with depression. We performed a randomized controlled pilot study on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) targeting depression in a CP population.

Methods

Participants with CP lasting ≥ 3 months, DSM-IV Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Dysthymic Disorder, or Depressive disorder NOS, and a Quick Inventory of Depression scale (QIDS-C16) score ≥ 6 were randomized to MBCT (n = 26) or waitlist (n = 14). We adapted the original MBCT intervention for depression relapse prevention by modifying the psychoeducation and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) elements to an actively depressed chronic pain population. We analyzed an intent-to treat (ITT) and a per protocol sample; the per protocol sample included participants in the MBCT group who completed at least 4 out of 8 sessions. The change in the QIDS-C16 and Hamilton Rating Sale for Depression (HRSD17) were the primary outcome measures. Pain, quality of life and anxiety were secondary outcome measures. Data collection took place between January 2012 and July 2013.

Results

Nineteen (73%) participants completed the MBCT program. No significant adverse events were reported in either treatment group. ITT analysis (n=40) revealed no significant differences. Repeated measures ANOVAs for the per protocol sample (n=33) revealed a significant treatment × time interaction (F (1, 31) = 4.67, p = 0.039, η2p = 0.13) for the QIDS-C16, driven by a significant decrease in the MBCT group (t (18) = 5.15, p < 0.001, d = 1.6), but not in the control group (t (13) = 2.01, p = 0.066). The HRSD17 scores did not differ significantly between groups. The study ended before the projected sample size was obtained, which might have prevented effect detection in some outcome measures.

Conclusions

MBCT shows potential as a treatment for depression in individuals with CP, but larger controlled trials are needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6020018/

 

Relieve Depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Relieve Depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“People at risk for depression are dealing with a lot of negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs about themselves and this can easily slide into a depressive relapse. MBCT helps them to recognize that’s happening, engage with it in a different way and respond to it with equanimity and compassion.” – Willem Kuyken

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But, drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering. Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.

 

The most commonly used mindfulness technique for the treatment of depression is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. MBCT has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant drugs in relieving the symptoms of depression and preventing depression reoccurrence and relapse. In addition, it appears to be effective as either a supplement to or a replacement for these drugs.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in patients with depression: current perspectives.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018485/ ), MacKenzie and colleagues review the published research literature on the application of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to the treatment of depression. They find that the published research makes a very strong case that MBCT is a safe and effective treatment for depression, reducing depression when present and preventing relapse when in remission. The literature also finds that MBCT appears to act on depression by heightening mindfulness, increasing self-compassion and positive emotions and by reducing repetitive negative thoughts (rumination) and cognitive and emotional reactivity.

 

MBCT, however, classically requires a certified trained therapist. This produces costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules. As a result, on-line mindfulness training programs and workbook programs have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs and making training schedules much more flexible. MacKenzie and colleagues report that the research demonstrates that MBCT, delivered either over the web or via study-at-home workbooks is also a safe and effective treatment for depression.

 

The review suggests that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has a wide variety of positive psychological effects on the participant that work to counter and prevent depression and that MBCT is effective delivered either by a trained therapist or over the web or via study-at-home workbooks.

 

So, relieve depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

 

MBCT therapists teach clients how to break away from negative thought patterns that can cause a downward spiral into a depressed state so they will be able to fight off depression before it takes hold.” – Psychology Today

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

MacKenzie, M. B., Abbott, K. A., & Kocovski, N. L. (2018). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in patients with depression: current perspectives. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 14, 1599–1605. http://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S160761

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed to prevent relapse in individuals with depressive disorders. This widely used intervention has garnered considerable attention and a comprehensive review of current trends is warranted. As such, this review provides an overview of efficacy, mechanisms of action, and concludes with a discussion of dissemination. Results provided strong support for the efficacy of MBCT despite some methodological shortcomings in the reviewed literature. With respect to mechanisms of action, specific elements, such as mindfulness, repetitive negative thinking, self-compassion and affect, and cognitive reactivity have emerged as important mechanisms of change. Finally, despite a lack of widespread MBCT availability outside urban areas, research has shown that self-help variations are promising. Combined with findings that teacher competence may not be a significant predictor of treatment outcome, there are important implications for dissemination. Taken together, this review shows that while MBCT is an effective treatment for depression, continued research in the areas of efficacy, mechanisms of action, and dissemination are recommended.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018485/

 

Measure Mindfulness Better in Depressed Patients with Changes in the EEG

Measure Mindfulness Better in Depressed Patients with Changes in the EEG

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“as the popularity of mindfulness grows, brain imaging techniques are revealing that this ancient practice can profoundly change the way different regions of the brain communicate with each other – and therefore how we think – permanently.” – Tom Ireland

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. As a result, mindfulness training has been called the third wave of therapies. One problem with understanding mindfulness effects is that there are, a wide variety of methods of measuring mindfulness. These methods primarily involve self-reports on paper and pencil scales. Unfortunately, these different measures differ conceptually and frequently produce divergent results.

 

Mindfulness training produces changes in the brain’s electrical activity. This can be measured by recording the electroencephalogram (EEG). The brain produces rhythmic electrical activity that can be recorded from the scalp. It is usually separated into frequency bands. One method to indirectly observe information processing in the brain is to measure the changes in the electrical activity that occur in response to specific stimuli. These are called event-related potentials or ERPs. The signal following a stimulus changes over time. The fluctuations of the signal after specific periods of time are thought to measure different aspects of the nervous system’s processing of the stimulus. Perhaps change in the ERPs resulting from mindfulness training may be a good measure of the increased mindfulness produced by the training and a strong predictor of symptom improvements.

 

In today’s Research News article “Measuring Mindfulness: A Psychophysiological Approach.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6031749/ ), Bostanov and colleagues recruited adult patients with recurrent depression in remission and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weekly, 2 hour group sessions of either Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) or group Cognitive Therapy (CT). They were also assigned 45 minutes of daily homework. MBCT begins with breath meditation and bodily sensation and progresses into learning to perceive thoughts and emotions as objects of mindful attention and as mental events and not as absolute truth, self or reality. CT contained all of the cognitive therapy components as MBCT but excluded mindfulness training.

 

The participants were measured before and after training for mindfulness, depression, positive and negative emotions, decentering, and curiosity. They also underwent recording from the scalp of electrical brain activity in response to a stimulus (event-related brain potentials, ERPs). With the participants instructed to perform breath meditation, they were periodically presented with a brief noise. The changes in the EEG in response to the noise were recorded and used to calculate the grand average event-related brain potentials.

 

They found that both the MBCT and CT groups had significant reductions in depression, rumination, and distraction and increases in mindfulness following the 8-week intervention period and one year later. Importantly, they found that the greater the change in the grand average event-related brain potentials resulting from treatment, the greater the reduction in depression symptoms and the greater the increase in mindfulness. These relationships were statistically strong. At the same time changes in the paper and pencil mindfulness measures were not significantly related to the improvements in depression.

 

These results suggest that changes in the brain are produced by mindfulness training and that these are reflected by changes in the electrical activity of the brain in response to sounds. The results further suggest that these brain activity changes are a better measure of the effectiveness of the mindfulness training than the traditional self-report measures. It was suggested that in the future these event related potential changes be used as the primary assessment instrument for mindfulness and the impact of mindfulness training on the individual.

 

So, measure mindfulness better in depressed patients with Changes in the EEG.

 

“Although meditation research is still in its infancy, a number of studies have investigated changes in brain activation at rest and during specific tasks that are associated with the practice of, or that follow, training in mindfulness meditation. There is emerging evidence that mindfulness meditation might cause neuroplastic changes in the structure and function of brain regions involved in regulation of attention, emotion and self-awareness.” – Sarah McKay

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Bostanov, V., Ohlrogge, L., Britz, R., Hautzinger, M., & Kotchoubey, B. (2018). Measuring Mindfulness: A Psychophysiological Approach. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 249. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00249

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions have proved effective in reducing various clinical symptoms and in improving general mental health and well-being. The investigation of the mechanisms of therapeutic change needs methods for assessment of mindfulness. Existing self-report measures have, however, been strongly criticized on various grounds, including distortion of the original concept, response bias, and other. We propose a psychophysiological method for the assessment of the mindfulness learned through time-limited mindfulness-based therapy by people who undergo meditation training for the first time. We use the individual pre-post-therapy changes (dERPi) in the event-related brain potentials (ERPs) recorded in a passive meditation task as a measure of increased mindfulness. dERPi is computed through multivariate assessment of individual participant’s ERPs. We tested the proposed method in a group of about 70 recurrently depressed participants, randomly assigned in 1.7:1 ratio to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) or cognitive therapy (CT). The therapy outcome was measured by the long-term change (dDS) relative to baseline in the depression symptoms (DS) assessed weekly, for 60 weeks, by an online self-report questionnaire. We found a strong, highly significant, negative correlation (r = −0.55) between dERPi (mean = 0.4) and dDS (mean = −0.7) in the MBCT group. Compared to this result, the relationship between dDS and the other (self-report) measures of mindfulness we used was substantially weaker and not significant. So was also the relationship between dERPi and dDS in the CT group. The interpretation of dERPi as a measure of increased mindfulness was further supported by positive correlations between dERPi and the other measures of mindfulness. In this study, we also replicated a previous result, namely, the increase (dLCNV) of the late contingent negative variation (LCNV) of the ERP in the MBCT group, but not in the control group (in this case, CT). We interpreted dLCNV as a measure of increased meditative concentration. The relationship between dLCNV and dDS was, however, very week, which suggests that concentration might be relatively unimportant for the therapeutic effect of mindfulness. The proposed psychophysiological method could become an important component of a “mindfulness test battery” together with self-report questionnaires and other newly developed instruments.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6031749/