Yoga is the Preferred Exercise for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

Yoga is the Preferred Exercise for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

By increasing muscle mass through strengthening poses, yoga can improve your metabolism, helping you maintain a healthy body weight. Studies suggest that regular practice helps normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels. By inducing a feeling of calm, yoga can lower the release of cortisol, a stress hor­mone that causes your body to release more glucose. Less unnecessary cortisol means fewer unnecessary elevations in blood sugar.” – Annie Kay

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type II Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Unlike Type I Diabetes, Type II does not require insulin injections. Instead, the treatment and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes focuses on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. A mindfulness practice that combines mindfulness with exercise is yoga and it has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of Type II Diabetes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Yoga and Exercise on Glycemic Control and Psychosocial Parameters in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336951/ ) Singh and Khandelwal recruited adult patients with Type 2 Diabetes and randomly assigned them to either an exercise or yoga practice group. Exercise was practiced for 30 minutes 5 days per week for 3 months and consisted of walking and moderate aerobic exercise combined with diet. The yoga group were trained in postures and breathing exercises for 2 weeks and then practiced at home for 3 months. They were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, diabetes quality of life and self-efficacy. They also had blood drawn for assessment of glycemic control (HbA1c).

 

They found that following training both groups had significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and HbA1c and significant increases in diabetes quality of life and self-efficacy. But the yoga group had significantly better outcomes on all measures compared to the diet and exercise group.

 

These results suggest that practicing yoga is better for the psychological and physical health of patients with Type 2 Diabetes than non-yoga exercises. Yoga practice not only improved psychological health but also glycemic control suggesting better control of the disease. The fact that yoga was superior in effectiveness to non-yoga exercise is important as yoga is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. So, the results suggest that adding mindfulness to exercise potentiates the programs effectiveness in treating patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

Hence, yoga is the preferred exercise for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.

 

I recommend yoga primarily for stress management. Stress elevates blood sugar, which can lead to more diabetes complications. Yoga helps us center ourselves, and centering calms us and can help keep blood sugar levels balanced.” – Janet Zappe

 

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

Vijay Pratap Singh, Bidita Khandelwal. Effect of Yoga and Exercise on Glycemic Control and Psychosocial Parameters in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Study. Int J Yoga. 2020 May-Aug; 13(2): 144–151. Published online 2020 May 1. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_45_19

 

Abstract

Context (Background):

Type 2 diabetes has been strongly associated with psychosocial factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, and quality of life (QOL). There is not much evidence whether yoga can improve these factors and motivate individuals to engage in active lifestyle.

Aims:

This study aims to evaluate the effect of yoga and exercise over glycemic control, anxiety, depression, exercise self-efficacy (ESE), and QOL after 3-month program.

Methods:

Two hundred and twenty-seven individuals were randomly allocated to yoga group (YG) and exercise group. YG practiced yoga for 2 weeks under supervision and then carried out practice at home for 3 months. The exercise group practiced 30 min of brisk walking for 5 days a week.

Results:

On comparison among the groups, in YG, there was a mean change of 0.47 in glycated hemoglobin which was greater than mean reduction of 0.28 in the exercise group with P < 0.05. State anxiety reduced by 7.8 and trait anxiety reduced by 4.4 in YG (P < 0.05) in 3 months as compared to nonsignificant reductions of 3 and 1 in mean of state and trait anxiety scores in the exercise group (P > 0.05). There was a statistically significant reduction in depression score in both the groups, 8.6 in yoga and 4.0 in exercise, which was greater in YG. ESE improved by 19.2 in YG (P < 0.05), whereas it improved only 2.2 in the exercise group (P > 0.05). QOL improved by 23.7 in YG and 3.0 in the exercise group which was nonsignificant in the exercise group as compared to YG.

Conclusions:

Yoga is superior to exercise alone as a lifestyle modification program in improving glycemic control, anxiety, depression, and QOL as well as ESE.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336951/

 

Spirituality is Associated with Better Psychological Health of Adolescents with Cancer

Spirituality is Associated with Better Psychological Health of Adolescents with Cancer

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Spirituality plays a significant role for adolescents with cancer as it contributes to increased comfort and calmness, and better coping mechanisms when confronted with the illness, which indirectly improves the adolescent’s quality of life.” – Sembiring Lina Mahayati

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis. Adolescents with cancer are particularly vulnerable with high levels of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and pain interference.

 

Religion and spirituality become much more important to people when they’re diagnosed with cancer or when living with cancer. It is thought that people take comfort in the spiritual when facing mortality. Hence, spirituality and mindfulness may be useful tools for the survivors of cancer to cope with their illness. Thus, there is a need to study the relationships of spirituality on the ability of adolescent cancer survivors to positively adjust to their situation.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7298609/ ) Grossoehme and colleagues recruited adolescents, aged 14 to 21 years, who were diagnosed with cancer. They had them complete measures of spirituality, feeling God’s presence; praying privately; attending religious services; identifying as religious; identifying as spiritual, emotional distress–anxiety; emotional distress–depressive symptoms; fatigue; and pain interference, health-related quality of life

 

They found that the higher the levels of feeling God’s presence and identifying as a very religious person the lower the levels of anxiety, depressive symptoms, and fatigue. Structural equation modelling revealed that the levels of feeling God’s presence and identifying as a very religious person also were indirectly associated with anxiety, depressive symptoms, and fatigue via a positive association with a sense of meaning and peace. That is, the greater the feelings God’s presence and religiosity the greater the feelings of peace and meaningfulness in life and these feelings were in turn negatively associated with negative emotional states.

 

These results are correlational and as such no conclusions about causation can be definitively made. But the results clearly show that there are relationships between being spiritual and religious and better emotional states in adolescent cancer victims. They also suggest that this relationship is mediated by feelings of meaningfulness and peace. It could be speculated that these relationships occur due to causal connections and interpreted that being spiritual produces a state of peacefulness and meaning in life that counteracts the negative emotions associated with cancer. It remains for future research to determine if increasing spirituality would lead to better emotional adjustments to a cancer diagnosis.

 

Hence, spirituality is associated with better psychological health of adolescents with cancer.

 

As is true with older cancer survivors, spirituality is related to many aspects of well-being for AYA survivors, but relations are more consistent for meaning/peace and struggle.” – Crystal Park

 

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

 

Grossoehme, D. H., Friebert, S., Baker, J. N., Tweddle, M., Needle, J., Chrastek, J., Thompkins, J., Wang, J., Cheng, Y. I., & Lyon, M. E. (2020). Association of Religious and Spiritual Factors With Patient-Reported Outcomes of Anxiety, Depressive Symptoms, Fatigue, and Pain Interference Among Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer. JAMA network open, 3(6), e206696. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.6696

 

Key Points

Question

Among adolescents and young adults with cancer, is there an association between spirituality and patient-reported outcomes, and are these outcomes associated with a sense of meaning, peace, and comfort provided by faith?

Findings

In this cross-sectional study of 126 adolescents and young adults with cancer, structural equation modeling revealed that meaning and peace were associated with aspects of spirituality and religiousness as well as anxiety, depressive, and fatigue symptoms.

Meaning

In this study, participants’ sense of meaning and peace was associated with religiousness and with anxiety and depression, possibly representing an underappreciated intervention target.

Question

Among adolescents and young adults with cancer, is there an association between spirituality and patient-reported outcomes, and are these outcomes associated with a sense of meaning, peace, and comfort provided by faith?

Findings

In this cross-sectional study of 126 adolescents and young adults with cancer, structural equation modeling revealed that meaning and peace were associated with aspects of spirituality and religiousness as well as anxiety, depressive, and fatigue symptoms.

Meaning

In this study, participants’ sense of meaning and peace was associated with religiousness and with anxiety and depression, possibly representing an underappreciated intervention target.

Go to:

Abstract

Importance

The associations of spiritual and religious factors with patient-reported outcomes among adolescents with cancer are unknown.

Objective

To model the association of spiritual and religious constructs with patient-reported outcomes of anxiety, depressive symptoms, fatigue, and pain interference.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This cross-sectional study used baseline data, collected from 2016 to 2019, from an ongoing 5-year randomized clinical trial being conducted at 4 tertiary-referral pediatric medical centers in the US. A total of 366 adolescents were eligible for the clinical trial, and 126 were randomized; participants had to be aged 14 to 21 years at enrollment and be diagnosed with any form of cancer. Exclusion criteria included developmental delay, scoring greater than 26 on the Beck Depression Inventory II, non-English speaking, or unaware of cancer diagnosis.

Exposures

Spiritual experiences, values, and beliefs; religious practices; and overall self-ranking of spirituality’s importance.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Variables were taken from the Brief Multidimensional Measurement of Religiousness/Spirituality (ie, feeling God’s presence, daily prayer, religious service attendance, being very religious, and being very spiritual) and the spiritual well-being subscales of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (meaning/peace and faith). Predefined outcome variables were anxiety, depressive symptoms, fatigue, and pain interference from Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System pediatric measures.

Results

A total of 126 individuals participated (72 [57.1%] female participants; 100 [79.4%] white participants; mean [SD] age, 16.9 [1.9] years). Structural equation modeling showed that meaning and peace were inversely associated with anxiety (β = –7.94; 95% CI, –12.88 to –4.12), depressive symptoms (β = –10.49; 95% CI, –15.92 to –6.50), and fatigue (β = –8.90; 95% CI, –15.34 to –3.61). Feeling God’s presence daily was indirectly associated with anxiety (β = –3.37; 95% CI, –6.82 to –0.95), depressive symptoms (β = –4.50; 95% CI, –8.51 to –1.40), and fatigue (β = –3.73; 95% CI, –8.03 to –0.90) through meaning and peace. Considering oneself very religious was indirectly associated with anxiety (β = –2.81; 95% CI, –6.06 to –0.45), depressive symptoms (β = −3.787; 95% CI, –7.68 to –0.61), and fatigue (β = –3.11, 95% CI, –7.31 to –0.40) through meaning and peace. Considering oneself very spiritual was indirectly associated with anxiety (β = 2.11; 95% CI, 0.05 to 4.95) and depression (β = 2.8, 95% CI, 0.07 to 6.29) through meaning and peace. No associations were found between spiritual scales and pain interference.

Conclusions and Relevance

In this study, multiple facets of spirituality and religiousness were associated with anxiety, depression, and fatigue, all of which were indirectly associated with the participant’s sense of meaning and peace, which is a modifiable process. Although these results do not establish a causal direction, they do suggest palliative interventions addressing meaning-making, possibly including a spiritual or religious dimension, as a novel focus for intervention development.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7298609/Importance

 

Improve Inflammation and Depression with Mild Cognitive Impairment with Mindfulness

Improve Inflammation and Depression with Mild Cognitive Impairment with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“adults with mild cognitive impairment who practice mindfulness meditation could experience a boost in cognitive reserve.” – Monica Beyer

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently have problems with attention, thinking, and memory, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue.

 

Intervening early in patients with mild cognitive impairment may be able to delay or even prevent full blown dementia. So, it is important to study the effectiveness of mindfulness training on older adults with mild cognitive impairment to improve their psychological and physical well-being and cognitive performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Depression, Cognition, and Immunity in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Feasibility Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429186/ ) Marciniak and colleagues recruited older adults, over 55 years of age, who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weekly 2.5-hour sessions of either Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or to cognitive training. Weekly training was accompanied by daily home practice. MBSR consisted in training of body scan, sitting meditation, mindful movement, working with difficulties, meditation with imagination, and discussion. Cognitive training focused on specific cognitive domains including memory, attention, and logical thinking. They were measured before and after training and 6 months later for cognitive functions, anxiety, depression and spiritual well-being. Blood was drawn before and after training and assayed for immune system cells.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the cognitive training group, the participants who received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training had significantly lower depression levels both after training and 6 months later. The MBSR group also had improvements in psychomotor speed and significant decreases in resting monocyte activation immediately after training.

 

These are somewhat disappointing results as neither Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or cognitive training produced significant improvements in cognitive function. The study was rather small, however, with only 12 and 9 participants in the groups respectively. statistical power was lacking to detect differences. These results suggest that large changes in cognitive abilities are not produced in these patients by either MBSR or cognitive training.

 

Nevertheless, MBSR training did significantly improve depression in these elderly with mild cognitive impairment. MBSR has been shown to improve depression in a variety of different types of healthy and sick individuals. So, this result is not surprising but important as depression is a serious problem in the elderly, especially those with diminished cognitive capacity and that depression can produce further physical and psychological deterioration in the patients.

 

Importantly, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) appears to reduce immune monocyte activation. This suggests that MBSR may reduce inflammation. It has been previously shown to reduce inflammation in other groups. This is potentially important in that levels of inflammation are generally high in patients with mild cognitive impairment and chronic inflammation is a threat to the health and well-being of these patients. Reducing it with MBSR training may have long-term consequences for improved health in elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment.

 

So, improve inflammation and depression with mild cognitive impairment with mindfulness.

 

A mindfulness intervention reduces inflammatory biomarkers that are associated with cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.” – Eric Dolan

 

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

 

Marciniak, R., Šumec, R., Vyhnálek, M., Bendíčková, K., Lázničková, P., Forte, G., Jeleník, A., Římalová, V., Frič, J., Hort, J., & Sheardová, K. (2020). The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Depression, Cognition, and Immunity in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Feasibility Study. Clinical interventions in aging, 15, 1365–1381. https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S249196

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based programs have shown a promising effect on several health factors associated with increased risk of dementia and the conversion from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia such as depression, stress, cognitive decline, immune system and brain structural and functional changes. Studies on mindfulness in MCI subjects are sparse and frequently lack control intervention groups.

Objective

To determine the feasibility and the effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) practice on depression, cognition and immunity in MCI compared to cognitive training.

Methods

Twenty-eight MCI subjects were randomly assigned to two groups. MBSR group underwent 8-week MBSR program. Control group underwent 8-week cognitive training. Their cognitive and immunological profiles and level of depressive symptoms were examined at baseline, after each 8-week intervention (visit 2, V2) and six months after each intervention (visit 3, V3). MBSR participants completed feasibility questionnaire at V2.

Results

Twenty MCI patients completed the study (MBSR group n=12, control group n=8). MBSR group showed significant reduction in depressive symptoms at both V2 (p=0.03) and V3 (p=0.0461) compared to the baseline. There was a minimal effect on cognition – a group comparison analysis showed better psychomotor speed in the MBSR group compared to the control group at V2 (p=0.0493) but not at V3. There was a detectable change in immunological profiles in both groups, more pronounced in the MBSR group. Participants checked only positive/neutral answers concerning the attractivity/length of MBSR intervention. More severe cognitive decline (PVLT≤36) was associated with the lower adherence to home practice.

Conclusion

MBSR is well-accepted potentially promising intervention with positive effect on cognition, depressive symptoms and immunological profile.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429186/

 

Improve Psychological Health with a Mindfulness App

Improve Psychological Health with a Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The Mindfulness App opens up a world of professional guided meditations. It helps you towards a more peaceful and healthier state of mind. Newbie or guru? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. The Mindfulness App offers guided meditations for everyone.” – Google Play

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with reducing the physical and psychological reactions to stress and increasing resilience in the face of stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a 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 over the internet 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. In addition, research has indicated that mindfulness training online can be effective for improving the health and well-being of the participants.

 

In today’s Research News article “Feasibility and Acceptability of a Mobile Mindfulness Meditation Intervention Among Women: Intervention Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7298633/) Rung and colleagues recruited adult women and had them train for at least 30 days with 10-minute sessions of an online mindfulness app (Headspace) based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. They were measured before participation and 45 days later for feasibility and acceptability of the mindfulness app, mindfulness, depression, perceived stress, sleep quality, physical activity, body size, and healthy eating.

 

Of the women enrolled only 14% completed the Headspace program while 60% of the women completed all measures but did not engage in the Headspace program. Of the women who used the Headspace App three quarters liked or loved the program while 85% stated that they would recommend the app to others. They found that in comparison to baseline and to the participants who did not participate with Headspace, there were significant reductions in depression, sleep latency, and perceived stress, and increases in sleep quality and duration, and physical activity. Interestingly, there was no significant increase in mindfulness.

 

The fact that improvements in psychological health and sleep occurred without an increase in mindfulness is puzzling. Online apps have been found previously to increase mindfulness and mindfulness has been shown to decrease depression and perceived stress, and improve sleep quality. This suggests that the app can be beneficial independent of changes in mindfulness. This needs to be further explored in future research.

 

The willingness to use the mindfulness app was disappointingly low indicating that many of the women did not have the time or desire to use it. But if they used it, they tended to like it, recommend it to others, and have improvements in their psychological health and sleep. Obviously, more research is needed to identify why so few women were willing to utilize the app as this markedly limits its usefulness.

 

So, improve psychological health with a mindfulness app.

 

Meditation apps aren’t just a boon for consumers hoping to learn how to be more present at an affordable price. If effective, they also have implications for workplaces, schools, and even nations, who want to cultivate happier and healthier communities.” – Kira Newman

 

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

 

Rung, A. L., Oral, E., Berghammer, L., & Peters, E. S. (2020). Feasibility and Acceptability of a Mobile Mindfulness Meditation Intervention Among Women: Intervention Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 8(6), e15943. https://doi.org/10.2196/15943

 

Abstract

Background

Traditional mindfulness-based stress reduction programs are resource intensive for providers and time- and cost-intensive for participants, but the use of mobile technologies may be particularly convenient and cost-effective for populations that are busy, less affluent, or geographically distant from skilled providers. Women in southern Louisiana live in a vulnerable, disaster-prone region and are highly stressed, making a mobile program particularly suited to this population.

Objective

This study aimed to (1) assess the feasibility and acceptability of a mobile mindfulness app in real-world conditions in a pilot study of a community sample of women residing in southern Louisiana, (2) describe predictors of app usage, and (3) assess the effect of the app on secondary health outcomes.

Methods

Women were recruited from an oil spill study on health. A total of 236 women completed a baseline survey, were offered the mobile mindfulness program, and completed a follow-up survey. Subjects were asked to download and use the app for at least 30 days for 10 min. All study procedures were completed on the web. Primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability of the app and characteristics of app utilization. Secondary outcomes included mindfulness, depression, perceived stress, sleep quality, physical activity, BMI, and healthy eating.

Results

Overall, 74.2% (236/318) of subjects completed the follow-up survey, and 13.5% (43/318) used the app. The main barrier to app usage was lack of time, cited by 37% (16/43) of users and 48.7% (94/193) of nonusers of the app. Women who chose to use the app were more highly educated (16/43, 63% had a college education vs 65/193, 33.7% of nonparticipants; P<.001), had higher incomes (23/43, 58% had incomes >US $50,000 per year vs 77/193, 43.0% of nonparticipants), and were employed (34/43, 79% vs 122/193, 63.2% of nonparticipants; P=.047). Those who engaged with the app did so at high levels, with 72% (31/43) of participants self-reporting the completion of some or all sessions and 74% (32/43) reporting high levels of satisfaction with the app. Participation with the app had a beneficial impact on depression (odds ratio [OR] 0.3, 95% CI 0.11-0.81), sleep quality (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.02-0.96), sleep duration (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.07-0.86), sleep latency (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.11-0.81), and physical activity (2.8 95% CI 1.0-7.8), but mindfulness scores did not change from baseline to follow-up.

Conclusions

The Headspace mobile mindfulness app was easy and cost-effective to implement and acceptable to those who participated, but few women elected to try it. The unique characteristics of this southern Louisiana population suggest that more intense promotion of the benefits of mindfulness training is needed, perhaps in conjunction with some therapist or researcher support. Several short-term benefits of the app were identified, particularly for depression and sleep.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7298633/

 

Improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Compassion Meditation

Improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Compassion Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“self-compassion provides a promising vision for trauma treatment . . . Self-compassion is strongly linked to emotional well-being, is an important mechanism of change in psychotherapy, and touches the core of trauma related symptomatology.” – Christopher Germer

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. But only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Obviously, these are troubling symptoms that need to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective. Increasing self-compassion is important for improvement in PTSD symptoms. Mindfulness has been shown to increase self-compassion. So, it makes sense to explore the relationships between mindfulness, self-compassion, and PTSD symptoms.

 

In today’s Research News article “Compassion Meditation for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a Nonrandomized Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223870/) Lang and colleagues recruited veterans who were diagnosed with PTSD. They were provided with 8-10 sessions of 1.5-2 hours of group Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) with daily meditation homework. CBCT was developed with a standardized manual and includes a set of meditation practices designed to increase attention to the present moment and compassion for self and others. The participants were measured before and after the training for PTSD symptoms, emotional experiences, social connectedness, and self-compassion including self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, self-judgment, isolation, and over-identification subscales. They were measured after the intervention for satisfaction with the intervention and semi-structured interviews about the understandability, applicability, and efficacy of the intervention.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after treatment there was a large significant reduction in PTSD symptoms and depression. Surprisingly, there were no significant changes in positive and negative emotions or self-compassion. 61% of the veterans completed 6 or more sessions and they indicated overall satisfaction with the Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) intervention.

 

This was a pilot feasibility study without a control group. So, conclusions have to be reached cautiously. But the intent of the study was to establish feasibility and acceptability of the new intervention and was successful at that. It also provided preliminary evidence that the Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) intervention was safe and effective for veterans diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These results provide the empirical basis justifying a large randomized controlled trial in the future.

 

So, improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with compassion meditation.

 

“increases in self-compassion, notably self-kindness and mindfulness, were associated with decreases in PTSD symptoms.” – NICABM

 

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

 

Lang, A. J., Casmar, P., Hurst, S., Harrison, T., Golshan, S., Good, R., Essex, M., & Negi, L. (2020). Compassion Meditation for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a Nonrandomized Study. Mindfulness, 11(1), 63–74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0866-z

 

Abstract

Compassion meditation (CM) is a contemplative practice that is intended to cultivate the ability to extend and sustain compassion toward self and others. Although research documents the benefits of CM in healthy populations, its use in the context of psychopathology is largely unexamined. The purpose of this study was to refine and initially evaluate a CM protocol, Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT®), for use with Veterans with PTSD. To this end, our research team developed and refined a manualized protocol, CBCT-Vet, over 4 sets of groups involving 36 Veterans. This protocol was delivered in 8–10 sessions, each lasting 90–120 min and led by a CBCT®-trained clinical psychologist. Quantitative and qualitative data were used to identify areas to be improved and to assess change that occurred during the treatment period. Based on pooled data from this series of groups, CM appears to be acceptable to Veterans with PTSD. Group participation was associated with reduced symptoms of PTSD (partial eta squared = .27) and depression (partial eta squared = .19), but causality should not be inferred given the nonrandomized design. No change was observed in additional outcomes, including positive emotion and social connectedness. The results of this open trial support additional exploration of CM as part of the recovery process for Veterans with PTSD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223870/

 

Meditation and Yogic Breathing Techniques Improve Respiration and Psychological Well-Being

Meditation and Yogic Breathing Techniques Improve Respiration and Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques all depend on focusing on the breath. There are many benefits of meditation and proper breathing is an important part of learning how to calm the mind and body.” – Home Care Assistance

 

Breathing is essential for life and generally occurs automatically. It’s easy to take for granted as it’s been there our entire lives. Nevertheless, we become more aware of it when it varies with circumstances, such as when we exercise and also in emotional states, especially fear and anxiety. But we rarely notice it during everyday ongoing life. Yet, its characteristics are associated with our state of well-being. Slow deep breathing is characteristic of a healthy relaxed state. Breathing exercises are common in yoga and meditation practices and have been found to have a number of beneficial effects.

 

Modern medicine has also developed respiratory therapies for the treatment of patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Many of these techniques are similar to those practiced in meditation and yoga. In today’s Research News article “Analogy between classical Yoga/Zen breathing and modern clinical respiratory therapy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429199/) Tobe and Saito examine the similarities of meditation and yoga breathing exercises and respiratory therapies and their relative effects.

 

Respiratory therapy has been shown to be essential in the treatment of respiratory diseases. But, breathing techniques are not new. They’ve been practiced for over 3000 years. Yoga incorporates a number of different techniques. Even the Buddha emphasized breathing techniques during meditation and these were greatly elaborated on in Zen meditation. There are considerable similarities with respiratory therapy and meditation and yogic breathing techniques. They all emphasize deep inhalation, slow exhalation with some resistance, low respiratory frequency, and even counting of breaths.

 

Tobe and Saito note that research has shown that meditation and yogic breathing techniques, like respiratory therapy, have considerable positive effects on respiration including improved “vital capacity, timed vital capacity, maximum voluntary ventilation, breath-hold time, maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures and oxygen saturation.” They also increase the psychological well-being of practitioners including reducing panic attacks, depression, and headaches, relieving pain, and improving sleep.

 

Tobe and Saito conclude that meditation and yogic breathing techniques are effective in modern clinical practice improving respiratory function and psychological well-being, and relieving chronic pain. Indeed, research on meditation and yogic breathing techniques suggest that they improve physiological and respiratory function and are effective for the treatment of a number of diseases and psychological problems.

 

So, meditation and yogic breathing techniques improve respiration and psychological well-being.

 

By inducing stress resilience, breath work enables us to rapidly and compassionately relieve many forms of suffering.” – Richard Brown

 

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

 

Tobe, M., & Saito, S. (2020). Analogy between classical Yoga/Zen breathing and modern clinical respiratory therapy. Journal of anesthesia, 1–6. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00540-020-02840-5

 

Abstract

Anesthesiologists and intensivists are modern-day professionals who provide appropriate respiratory care, vital for patient survival. Recently, anesthesiologists have increasingly focused their attention on the type of spontaneous breathing made by non-intubated patients with pulmonary disease cared for in an intensive care unit, and also patients with chronic pain receiving cognitive behavioral therapy. Prior to our modern understanding of respiratory physiology, Zen meditators recognized that breathing has a significant impact on a person’s mental state and general physical well-being. Examples of this knowledge regarding respiration include the beneficial effects of deep inhalation and slow exhalation on anxiety and general wellness. The classical literature has noted many suggestions for breathing and its psycho-physical effects. In the present review, we examine the effect of classical breathing methods and find an analogy between typical Yoga/Zen breathing and modern clinical respiratory therapy. Evidence is increasing about historical breathing and related meditation techniques that may be effective in modern clinical practice, especially in the field of anesthesiology, such as in improving respiratory function and reducing chronic pain. Clarification of the detailed mechanisms involved is anticipated.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429199/

 

Improve Anxiety and Depression in Iranian Chronic Pain Patients with Mindfulness

Improve Anxiety and Depression in Iranian Chronic Pain Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.” – Julie Corliss

 

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.

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings to demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain. Chronic pain patients tend to also suffer from anxiety and depression and mindfulness has been shown to improve anxiety and depression. A lot of research has been done on various psychological treatments for chronic pain and its associated anxiety and depression. So, it makes sense to step back and take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psychological interventions for depression and anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis of Iranian chronic pain trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7420174/) Jandaghi and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis on treatments for chronic pain and its associated anxiety and depression in Iranian patients. They identified 30 randomized controlled trials with a total of 1021 participants.

 

They report that the published randomized controlled trials found that psychological interventions in general improve anxiety and depression in patients with chronic pain and these effects persist for at least several months. On average mindfulness-based therapies produced superior results to Cognitive Behavioral and other therapeutic approaches; producing greater relief of anxiety and depression.

 

Thus, the accumulated findings suggest that psychological treatments and especially mindfulness-based therapies are safe and effective treatment for anxiety and depression in chronic pain patients. This is important not only for the psychological well-being of the patients but also for their pain as anxiety and depression can amplify the levels of experienced pain in the patients.

 

So, improve anxiety and depression in Iranian chronic pain patients with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness exercises help people to focus their mind and body in the moment without judgment. . . Being able to focus on relaxing the body, noticing the breath and body sensations as being there just as they are, can help manage pain, as well as reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.” – Mayo Clinic

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Jandaghi, G., Firoozi, M., & Zia-Tohidi, A. (2020). Psychological interventions for depression and anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis of Iranian chronic pain trials. Health promotion perspectives, 10(3), 180–191. https://doi.org/10.34172/hpp.2020.31

 

Abstract

Background: Chronic pain is commonly associated with anxiety and depression, making it more challenging to be managed. Psychological interventions are suggested for such complicated issues which are well evident in the United States and Europe. However, generalizing the evidence to Iranian population – as a Middle Eastern society – might be questionable. We aimed to synthesize our evidence on the effectiveness of these interventions among Iranian populations.

Methods: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis. Persian and English literature were searched through Iran-doc, Elm-net, and PubMed until March 2019 using the following terms (or its Persian synonyms): chronic pain; persistent pain; chronic fatigue; fibromyalgia; neuropath*; LBP; irritable bowel; CFS; psycho*; cogniti*; acceptance; meaning; mindfulness; relaxation; biopsychosocial; rehabilitation; educat*. Eligible trials were randomized trials that evaluated the effectiveness of psychological interventions on Iranian adults with chronic pain. No setting restriction was considered. Risk of bias for each trial was assessed, and the random-effect model was used to pool summary effect across trials.

Results: In all 30 eligible RCTs, the risk of bias for randomization was low except for one study. The pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) for depression and anxiety were 1.33 (95%CI: -1.42 to -0.68) and 1.25 (95% CI: -1.55 to -0.96), respectively.

Conclusion: This study suggests that psychological interventions are highly effective in reducing depression and anxiety in Iranian patients with chronic pain, compared to what observed in the U.S. and European studies. However, there are still some methodological issues to be addressed. Future research should focus on high-quality trials with considerations on the methodological issues reported in the present study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7420174/

 

Mindfulness Trained Over the Internet Improves Stress Management in Healthy Adults

Mindfulness Trained Over the Internet Improves Stress Management in Healthy Adults

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness gently builds an inner strength, so that future stressors have less impact on our happiness and physical well-being.” – Shamash Alidina

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. One reason for these benefits is that mindfulness training improves the individual’s physical and psychological reactions to stress. Stress is an integral part of life, that is actually essential to the health of the body. In moderation, it is healthful, strengthening, and provides interest and fun to life. If stress, is high or is prolonged, however, it can be problematic. It can significantly damage our physical and mental health and even reduce our longevity, leading to premature deaths.

 

It is important that we develop methods to either reduce or control high or prolonged stress or reduce our responses to it. Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. and this appears to be important for health. The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with busy employee schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, training over the internet  has been developed. This has 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 this approach in inducing mindfulness and reducing stress and improving psychological well-being in healthy individuals in real-world work settings.

 

The evidence has been accumulating. So, it is reasonable to step back and summarize what has been learned about the effects of mindfulness provided over the internet on the individual’s ability to manage stress. In today’s Research News article “A meta-analysis: Internet mindfulness-based interventions for stress management in the general population.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7360300/) Zhang and colleagues reviewed, summarized, and performed a meta-analysis of the published research controlled trials investigating the effects of mindfulness training provided over the internet on the management of stress in healthy participants. They identified 16 controlled trials.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training of healthy participants provided over the internet produced significant increases in mindfulness and significant decreases in perceived stress with moderate effect sizes and significant decreases in anxiety and depression with small effect sizes. These results occurred regardless of the method of delivery of mindfulness training and whether students, staff, or both were the subjects. In addition, they found that when therapist guidance was present the effect sizes were larger.

 

It has been well established the mindfulness training decreases perceived stress, anxiety, and depression in a variety of healthy and ill populations and with a variety of delivery methods. The present meta-analysis demonstrates that mindfulness training over the internet is effective in improving stress management and mental health in healthy individuals. The results also suggest that having some guidance from a therapist provided along with the internet-based training improves the effectiveness of the treatments.

 

These results suggest that mindfulness training is widely effective and can be delivered cheaply and conveniently to large numbers of geographically diffuse populations. Since, stress is so ubiquitous in modern society, mindfulness training may be a way to counter the effects of that stress on physical and mental health.

 

So, mindfulness trained over the internet improves stress management in healthy adults.

 

Learning how to accept your present-moment experience is really important for reducing stress. It seems to be a key element of mindfulness training.” – Emily Lindsay

 

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

 

Zhang, Y., Xue, J., & Huang, Y. (2020). A meta-analysis: Internet mindfulness-based interventions for stress management in the general population. Medicine, 99(28), e20493. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000020493

 

Abstract

Background:

Psychological stress was an important mental health problem among the general population and warrant research to inform strategies for effective prevention. iMBIs provide a possibility to offer easily accessible, efficacious, convenient, and low-cost interventions on a wide scale. However, the efficacy of iMBIs in the general population remains unclear. The aim of this meta-analysis is to evaluate the effects of iMBIs for stress reduction in the general population.

Methods:

A systematic search in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Medline, Cochrane Library, CNKI, and Wanfang Data databases was performed up to April 10, 2019. The overall effect sizes of the iMBIs on stress, depression, anxiety, and mindfulness were recorded by the metric of Hedges’ g with 95% confidence interval (CI), Z-value, and P value.

Results:

Sixteen eligible studies were included in the meta-analysis. The overall results indicated that iMBIs had small to moderate effects on stress (Hedges’ g = −0.393) and mindfulness (Hedges’ g = −0.316) compared with the control group. Results from subgroup analyses revealed that the type of sample and delivery mode had a greater impact on heterogeneity across the studies. Meta-regression found that the overall effect might be moderated by guidance for iMBIs.

Conclusion:

The present meta-analysis suggested that iMBIs had small to moderate effects in reducing stress and improving mindfulness of the general population in comparison with the control group. Future research is needed to explore how iMBIs are remolded to improve adherence and suit specific individuals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7360300/

 

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in College Student with an Online Mindfulness Virtual Community

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in College Student with an Online Mindfulness Virtual Community

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Student life can be stressful, but that doesn’t mean students have to let stress take over their lives. By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into daily routines, students can not only relieve the pressure, but also improve their memory, focus and ultimately their grades.” – Kenya McCullum

 

There is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance. Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. Indeed, these practices have been found to improve psychological health in college students.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a 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 over the internet 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. In addition, research has indicated that mindfulness training online can be effective for improving the health and well-being of the participants.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of an 8-Week Web-Based Mindfulness Virtual Community Intervention for University Students on Symptoms of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7395254/) El Morr and colleagues recruited undergraduate students and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive an 8 week online mindfulness virtual community program. The program incorporated brief online modules on mindfulness and student issues, online group discussions, and moderated 20-minute online videoconferences on mindfulness. The participants were measured before and after training for depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and mindfulness.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the waitlist control condition, participants in the online mindfulness virtual community had significantly higher mindfulness and significantly lower levels of depression and anxiety, with medium to large effect sizes. These findings suggest that online group training in mindfulness improves the mental health of college students.

 

College can be a difficult and stressful time for the students. There is pressure to perform academically while in a novel environment outside of the family with social pressures. This study suggests that the students can be helped in their adjustment with online mindfulness training, improving their psychological health. More research is needed, however, to determine if the mindfulness training produces not just short-term but lasting benefits for the students.

 

So, reduce anxiety and depression in college student with an online mindfulness virtual community.

 

“Learning how to meditate and be more mindful was one of the best things I’ve done as a student here. I’ve struggled with anxiety for many years, and became really overwhelmed by everything by my sophomore year. My grades started to fall as I slept less and tried to take on more and more. I’m so thankful for the skills I learned in this class. It’s not only made me a better student, but it’s also made me a happier person!”

 

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

 

El Morr, C., Ritvo, P., Ahmad, F., Moineddin, R., & MVC Team (2020). Effectiveness of an 8-Week Web-Based Mindfulness Virtual Community Intervention for University Students on Symptoms of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mental health, 7(7), e18595. https://doi.org/10.2196/18595

 

Abstract

Background

A student mental health crisis is increasingly acknowledged and will only intensify with the COVID-19 crisis. Given accessibility of methods with demonstrated efficacy in reducing depression and anxiety (eg, mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]) and limitations imposed by geographic obstructions and localized expertise, web-based alternatives have become vehicles for scaled-up delivery of benefits at modest cost. Mindfulness Virtual Community (MVC), a web-based program informed by CBT constructs and featuring online videos, discussion forums, and videoconferencing, was developed to target depression, anxiety, and experiences of excess stress among university students.

Objective

The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of an 8-week web-based mindfulness and CBT program in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress (primary outcomes) and increasing mindfulness (secondary outcome) within a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with undergraduate students at a large Canadian university.

Methods

An RCT was designed to assess undergraduate students (n=160) who were randomly allocated to a web-based guided mindfulness–CBT condition (n=80) or to a waitlist control (WLC) condition (n=80). The 8-week intervention consisted of a web-based platform comprising (1) 12 video-based modules with psychoeducation on students’ preidentified life challenges and applied mindfulness practice; (2) anonymous peer-to-peer discussion forums; and (3) anonymous, group-based, professionally guided 20-minute live videoconferences. The outcomes (depression, anxiety, stress, and mindfulness) were measured via an online survey at baseline and at 8 weeks postintervention using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ9), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire Short Form (FFMQ-SF). Analyses employed generalized estimation equation methods with AR(1) covariance structures and were adjusted for possible covariates (gender, age, country of birth, ethnicity, English as first language, paid work, unpaid work, relationship status, physical exercise, self-rated health, and access to private mental health counseling).

Results

Of the 159 students who provided T1 data, 32 were males and 125 were females with a mean age of 22.55 years. Participants in the MVC (n=79) and WLC (n=80) groups were similar in sociodemographic characteristics at T1 with the exception of gender and weekly hours of unpaid volunteer work. At postintervention follow-up, according to the adjusted comparisons, there were statistically significant between-group reductions in depression scores (β=–2.21, P=.01) and anxiety scores (β=–4.82, P=.006), and a significant increase in mindfulness scores (β=4.84, P=.02) compared with the WLC group. There were no statistically significant differences in perceived stress for MVC (β=.64, P=.48) compared with WLC.

Conclusions

With the MVC intervention, there were significantly reduced depression and anxiety symptoms but no significant effect on perceived stress. Online mindfulness interventions can be effective in addressing common mental health conditions among postsecondary populations on a large scale, simultaneously reducing the current burden on traditional counseling services.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7395254/

 

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Practicing mindfulness can assist with uncertainty about the future, depression, fear of recurrence and anxiety as well as mitigate physical symptoms such as fatigue, pain, and sleep disturbance.” – Erin Murphy-Wilczek

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to relieve chronic pain. It can also help treat the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbancefear, and anxiety and depression. There has been considerable research conducted on the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in treating the psychological issues associated with cancer. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned about the effectiveness of mindfulness in treating anxiety in cancer patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Association of Mindfulness-Based Interventions With Anxiety Severity in Adults With Cancer: A 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/PMC7414391/) Oberoi and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research on the effectiveness of mindfulness in reducing anxiety in adult cancer patients. They found 28 published trials. The most common forms of mindfulness treatment were Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (13 studies) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (6 studies).

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training reduced anxiety and depression and increased quality of life over the short and medium term (up to 6 months post-treatment) with moderate effect sizes. The reduction in anxiety and depression may be responsible for the improvement in the patients’ quality of life. But 2 trials had longer term follow up measures (over 6 months) and did not find significant reductions. The fact that the effects do not appear to last beyond 6 months suggests that continued mindfulness practice or periodic booster sessions may be needed.

 

Fighting cancer is very stressful and amplifies negative emotions like anxiety and depression. The stress produced by these emotions can in turn interfere with the body’s ability to fight the cancer. So, treating these negative emotional states may be very important not only for the individual’s mental health but also to their physical well-being. So, mindfulness training may be important to the overall health of the cancer patient by reducing anxiety and depression.

 

So, reduce anxiety and depression in cancer patients with mindfulness.

 

“In summary, results show promise for mindfulness-based interventions to treat common psychological problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression in cancer survivors and to improve overall quality of life.” – Linda Carlson

 

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

 

Oberoi, S., Yang, J., Woodgate, R. L., Niraula, S., Banerji, S., Israels, S. J., Altman, G., Beattie, S., Rabbani, R., Askin, N., Gupta, A., Sung, L., Abou-Setta, A. M., & Zarychanski, R. (2020). Association of Mindfulness-Based Interventions With Anxiety Severity in Adults With Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA network open, 3(8), e2012598. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.12598

 

Abstract

Importance

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), grounded in mindfulness, focus on purposely paying attention to experiences occurring at the present moment without judgment. MBIs are increasingly used by patients with cancer for the reduction of anxiety, but it remains unclear if MBIs reduce anxiety in patients with cancer.

Objective

To evaluate the association of MBIs with reductions in the severity of anxiety in patients with cancer.

Data Sources

Systematic searches of MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and SCOPUS were conducted from database inception to May 2019 to identify relevant citations.

Study Selection

Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that compared MBI with usual care, waitlist controls, or no intervention for the management of anxiety in cancer patients were included. Two reviewers conducted a blinded screening. Of 101 initially identified studies, 28 met the inclusion criteria.

Data Extraction and Synthesis

Two reviewers independently extracted the data. The Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias tool was used to assess the quality of RCTs, and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses reporting guideline was followed. Summary effect measures were reported as standardized mean differences (SMDs) and calculated using a random-effects model.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Our primary outcome was the measure of severity of short-term anxiety (up to 1-month postintervention); secondary outcomes were the severity of medium-term (1 to ≤6 months postintervention) and long-term (>6 to 12 months postintervention) anxiety, depression, and health-related quality of life of patients and caregivers.

Results

This meta-analysis included 28 RCTs enrolling 3053 adults with cancer. None of the trials were conducted in children. Mindfulness was associated with significant reductions in the severity of short-term anxiety (23 trials; 2339 participants; SMD, −0.51; 95% CI, −0.70 to −0.33; I2 = 76%). The association of mindfulness with short-term anxiety did not vary by evaluated patient, intervention, or study characteristics. Mindfulness was also associated with the reduction of medium-term anxiety (9 trials; 965 participants; SMD, −0.43; 95% CI, −0.68 to −0.18; I2 = 66%). No reduction in long-term anxiety was observed (2 trials; 403 participants; SMD, −0.02; 95% CI, −0.38 to 0.34; I2 = 68%). MBIs were associated with a reduction in the severity of depression in the short term (19 trials; 1874 participants; SMD, −0.73; 95% CI; −1.00 to −0.46; I2 = 86%) and the medium term (8 trials; 891 participants; SMD, −0.85; 95% CI, −1.35 to −0.35; I2 = 91%) and improved health-related quality of life in patients in the short term (9 trials; 1108 participants; SMD, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.82; I2 = 82%) and the medium term (5 trials; 771 participants; SMD, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.06 to 0.52; I2 = 57%).

Conclusions and Relevance

In this study, MBIs were associated with reductions in anxiety and depression up to 6 months postintervention in adults with cancer. Future trials should explore the long-term association of mindfulness with anxiety and depression in adults with cancer and determine its efficacy in more diverse cancer populations using active controls.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7414391/