Improve the Symptoms of Bone Cancer with Mindfulness

Improve the Symptoms of Bone Cancer with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

in the area of cancer care, the body of research is more robust than in many others, with a number of large well-designed studies and meta-analyses providing consistent and promising results.” – Linda Carlson

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. 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. 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. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” National Cancer Survivors Day.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. This has been demonstrated with a large variety of cancers. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)  program consists of 8 weekly 2-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. In today’s Research News article “Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction combined with music therapy on pain, anxiety, and sleep quality in patients with osteosarcoma.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6899366/), Liu and colleagues study the effectiveness of MBSR for the treatment of the symptoms of osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

 

They recruited patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma. All patients continued receiving their usual care but half were randomly assigned them to receive an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). At the end of each session they listened to music for 30 minutes. They were measured before and after treatment for pain levels, anxiety, and sleep quality.

 

After treatment the patients who received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) plus music therapy reported significantly less pain and anxiety and greater sleep quality. The study did not have an active control group. So, confounding variables such as placebo and Hawthorn effects may have bee responsible for the effects. But prior research has demonstrated that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and pain and improves sleep in a wide variety of patients. So, it is likely that MBSR training was responsible for the benefits seen in the present study.

 

The study did not investigate the relationship between the relief to the symptoms. But it is reasonable to think that the pain relief may have contributed to the improvement in sleep and the relief of anxiety. Hence, mindfulness training markedly improved some of the residual symptoms remaining after treatment for bone cancer relieving their suffering.

 

Improve the symptoms of bone cancer with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness-based interventions may decrease pain severity, anxiety, and depression and can improve QoL. . . treatment for cancer pain.” – Srisuda Ngamkham

 

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

 

Liu, H., Gao, X., & Hou, Y. (2019). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction combined with music therapy on pain, anxiety, and sleep quality in patients with osteosarcoma. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999), 41(6), 540–545. doi:10.1590/1516-4446-2018-0346

 

Abstract

Objectives:

To evaluate the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) combined with music therapy (MT) on clinical symptoms in patients with osteosarcoma.

Methods:

Patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma were assessed for eligibility. A total of 101 patients were ultimately randomized into the intervention and control groups. Both groups received routine care. Eight sessions of MBSR and MT psychotherapy were conducted in the intervention group, while the control group received no psychological intervention. Patients were assessed regarding pain, anxiety, and sleep quality at two distinct stages: before and after the intervention.

Results:

There were no significant differences in sociodemographic and clinical parameters between the intervention and control groups at baseline. The intervention program significantly alleviated psychological and physiological complications in patients with osteosarcoma. Specifically, the study revealed that 8 weeks of the combined MBSR/MT intervention effectively reduced pain and anxiety scores and improved the quality of sleep in patients.

Conclusion:

MBSR combined with MT significantly alleviated clinical symptoms, and could be considered a new, effective psychotherapeutic intervention for patients with osteosarcoma.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6899366/

 

 

Improve Health and Cognitive Ability in the Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Health and Cognitive Ability in the Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi is a gentle exercise that helps seniors improve balance and prevent falls. Studies have found that tai chi also improves leg strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, immune system, sleep, happiness, sense of self-worth, and the ability to concentrate and multitask during cognitive tests.” – DailyCaring

 

Human life is one of constant change. We revel in our increases in physical and mental capacities during development, but regret their decreases during aging. The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. This includes our mental abilities which decline with age including impairments in memory, attention, and problem-solving ability, and in emotion regulation. There is some hope for age related decline, however, as there is evidence that it can be slowed. There are some indications that physical and mental exercise can reduce the rate of decline. For example, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline with aging

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Tai Chi on Markers of Atherosclerosis, Lower-limb Physical Function, and Cognitive Ability in Adults Aged Over 60: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6427726/), Zhou and colleagues recruited healthy elderly (aged 60-79 years) who were not practicing Tai Chi or other mindful movement practices and randomly assigned them to engage in one of three different Tai Chi practices for 12 weeks. The practices contained either 24, 42, or 56 different movements. They attended 3 times weekly Tai Chi classes. For the first 6 weeks the classes were 60 minutes while for the second 6 weeks the classes were 90 minutes. They were measured at baseline and at 6 and 12-weeks of practice for resting heart rate and as markers of atherosclerosis resting ankle brachial index and ankle pulse wave velocity. They were also measured for cognitive ability and movement tests of chair rise, walking, balance, and up-and-go test.

 

They found that for both males and females all three Tai Chi practices produced significant improvements in health-related outcomes at 6 and 12 weeks including improvements in walking, balance, up-and-go test, and ankle brachial index. Compared to the 24-movement practice, the 42- and 56-movement practices produced significantly better results for walking and balance and the resting ankle brachial index indicator of atherosclerosis. There were no adverse events recorded.

 

These results have to be interpreted with caution as there wasn’t a control condition such as a different exercise and there was no long-term follow-up. Nevertheless, the results suggest that Tai Chi practices is safe and effective treatment to produce significant improvements in the elderly’s movements, balance, and atherosclerosis. The 24-movement practice appears to be inferior to Tai Chi practices containing a greater number of distinct movements. Supporting these findings is the fact that these improvements including improved balance, movement, cardiovascular performance have also been documented in prior research.

 

Tai Chi practice is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. All of these characteristics make Tai Chi practice an excellent practice to improvement the health of the elderly.

 

So, improve health and cognitive ability in the elderly with Tai Chi

 

Practicing Tai Chi regularly is known to enhance health and fitness. It can also help seniors with a better sense of balance and strength.” – MedicalAlert

 

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

                 

Zhou, S., Zhang, Y., Kong, Z., Loprinzi, P. D., Hu, Y., Ye, J., … Zou, L. (2019). The Effects of Tai Chi on Markers of Atherosclerosis, Lower-limb Physical Function, and Cognitive Ability in Adults Aged Over 60: A Randomized Controlled Trial. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(5), 753. doi:10.3390/ijerph16050753

 

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Tai Chi (TC) on arterial stiffness, physical function of lower-limb, and cognitive ability in adults aged over 60. Methods: This study was a prospective and randomized 12-week intervention trial with three repeated measurements (baseline, 6, and 12 weeks). Sixty healthy adults who met the inclusion criteria were randomly allocated into three training conditions (TC-24, TC-42, and TC-56) matched by gender, with 20 participants (10 males, 10 females) in each of the three groups. We measured the following health outcomes, including markers of atherosclerosis, physical function (leg power, and static and dynamic balance) of lower-limb, and cognitive ability. Results: When all three TC groups (p < 0.05) have showed significant improvements on these outcomes but overall cognitive ability at 6 or 12 weeks training period, TC-56 appears to have superior effects on arterial stiffness and static/dynamic balance in the present study. Conclusions: Study results of the present study add to growing body of evidence regarding therapeutic TC for health promotion and disease prevention in aging population. Future studies should further determine whether TC-42 and TC-56 are beneficial for other non-Chinese populations, with rigorous research design and follow-up assessment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6427726/

 

Improve Blood Fat Levels in Type 2 Diabetes with Yoga

Improve Blood Fat Levels in Type 2 Diabetes with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga can do more than just relax your body in mind — especially if you’re living with diabetes. Certain poses may help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels while also improving circulation, leading many experts to recommend yoga for diabetes management.” – Healthline

 

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 “Efficacy of a Validated Yoga Protocol on Dyslipidemia in Diabetes Patients: NMB-2017 India Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963794/), Nagarathna and colleagues recruited a stratified sample of adult patients with Type 2 Diabetes and assigned them to receive yoga training that was specifically designed for the treatment of diabetes and consisted of 9 days of 2-hour training sessions followed by daily 1-hour practice at home guided by DVD. They were measured before training and 3 months later for body size and blood was drawn and assayed for fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, VLDL, and HDL.

 

They found that in both male and female patients with Dyslipidemia (high blood fat levels) there was a significant decrease in the total blood fat levels produced by participation in the yoga program. This included significant decreases in triglycerides, LDL, and VLDL. These improvements were significantly greater in patients from rural areas than those from urban areas. Around two thirds of the patients with Dyslipidemia had their blood fat levels returned to normal levels after yoga practice.

 

These results are interesting but the lack of a comparison (control) conditions limits their significance. But prior controlled studies have shown the yoga practice produces significant improvements in the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. So, the present results likely also reflect the effects of yoga practice and not a confounding variable.

 

The results suggest that yoga practice can reduce Dyslipidemia in Type 2 Diabetes patients. It would be useful to follow up these patients to see if the treatment improves the patients’ overall health and reduces heart disease. The reduction in Dyslipidemia would predict such benefits.

 

So, improve blood fat levels in Type 2 Diabetes with yoga.

 

findings suggest that yogic practices may promote significant improvements in several indices of importance in [Type 2 Diabetes] management, including glycemic control, lipid levels, and body composition.” – Kim Innes

 

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

 

Nagarathna, R., Tyagi, R., Kaur, G., Vendan, V., Acharya, I. N., Anand, A., … Nagendra, H. R. (2019). Efficacy of a Validated Yoga Protocol on Dyslipidemia in Diabetes Patients: NMB-2017 India Trial. Medicines (Basel, Switzerland), 6(4), 100. doi:10.3390/medicines6040100

 

Abstract

Background: Dyslipidemia is considered a risk factor in Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) resulting in cardio-vascular complications. Yoga practices have shown promising results in alleviating Type 2 Diabetes pathology. Method: In this stratified trial on a Yoga based lifestyle program in cases with Type 2 diabetes, in the rural and urban population from all zones of India, a total of 17,012 adults (>20 years) of both genders were screened for lipid profile and sugar levels. Those who satisfied the selection criteria were taught the Diabetes Yoga Protocol (DYP) for three months and the data were analyzed. Results: Among those with Diabetes, 29.1% had elevated total cholesterol (TC > 200 mg/dL) levels that were higher in urban (69%) than rural (31%) Diabetes patients. There was a positive correlation (p = 0.048) between HbA1c and total cholesterol levels. DYP intervention helped in reducing TC from 232.34 ± 31.48 mg/dL to 189.38 ± 40.23 mg/dL with significant pre post difference (p < 0.001). Conversion rate from high TC (>200 mg/dL) to normal TC (<200 mg/dL) was observed in 60.3% of cases with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM); from high LDL (>130 mg/dL) to normal LDL (<130 mg/dL) in 73.7%; from high triglyceride (>200 mg/dL) to normal triglyceride level (<200 mg/dL) in 63%; from low HDL (<45 mg/dL) to normal HDL (>45 mg/dL) in 43.7% of T2DM patients after three months of DYP. Conclusions: A Yoga lifestyle program designed specifically to manage Diabetes helps in reducing the co-morbidity of dyslipidemia in cases of patients with T2DM.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963794/

 

Increase Telomere Length and Decrease Cellular Aging with Meditation

Increase Telomere Length and Decrease Cellular Aging with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

some forms of meditation may have salutary effects on telomere length by reducing cognitive stress and stress arousal and increasing positive states of mind and hormonal factors that may promote telomere maintenance.” – Elissa Epel

 

One of the most exciting findings in molecular biology in recent years was the discovery of the telomere. This is a component of the DNA molecule that is attached to the ends of the strands. Recent genetic research has suggested that the telomere and its regulation is the biological mechanism that produces aging. It has been found that the genes, coded on the DNA molecule, govern cellular processes in our bodies. One of the most fundamental of these processes is cell replication. Cells are constantly turning over. Dying cells or damaged are replaced by new cells. The cells turn over at different rates but most cells in the body are lost and replaced between every few days to every few months. Needless to say, we’re constantly renewing ourselves.

 

As we age the tail of the DNA molecule called the telomere shortens. When it gets very short cells have a more and more difficult time reproducing and become more likely to produce defective cells. On a cellular basis, this is what produces aging. As we get older the new cells produced are more and more likely to be defective. The shortening of the telomere occurs each time the cell is replaced. So, slowly as we age it gets shorter and shorter. This has been called a “mitotic clock.” This is normal. But telomere shortening can also be produced by oxidative stress, which can be produced by psychological and physiological stress. This is mediated by stress hormones and the inflammatory response. So, chronic stress can accelerate the aging process. In other words, when we’re chronically stressed, we get older faster.

 

Fortunately, there is a mechanism to protect the telomere. There is an enzyme in the body called telomerase that helps to prevent shortening of the telomere. It also promotes cell survival and enhances stress-resistance.  Research suggests that processes that increase telomerase activity tend to slow the aging process by protecting the telomere.  One activity that seems to increase telomerase activity and protect telomere length is mindfulness practice. Hence, engaging in mindfulness practices may protect the telomere and thereby slow the aging process. There is accumulating evidence, so it makes sense to stop and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Meditation and telomere length: a meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2019.1707827 ), Schutte and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis on the effects of meditation practice on cellular aging as reflected in telomere lengths. They identified 12 controlled published research studies.

 

They found that the published research demonstrated that meditation practices produce longer telomere lengths. The effect sizes were moderate and indicated that the meditation practitioners had telomeres about a half of a standard deviation longer then controls. They also report that the greater the number of hours of meditation practice the longer the telomeres, but this relationship was not significant in studies where there was a random assignment of participants to groups.

 

These are exciting findings that suggest that meditation practice can lead to greater telomere length. This in turn suggests that meditation would improve health and longevity. It is suspected that meditation has these benefits as the result of the ability of meditation practice to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress, where stress is known to have a shortening effect on the telomeres. Regardless of the mechanism, the accumulating research suggests that meditation can reduce cellular aging and thereby improve health and longevity.

 

Increase telomere length and decrease cellular aging with meditation.

 

meditation and the like, which people can use to reduce stress and increase wellbeing, would be having their salutary and well-documented useful effects in part through telomeres.” – Elizabeth Blackburn

 

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

 

Nicola S. Schutte, John M. Malouff & Shian-Ling Keng (2020): Meditation and telomere length: a meta-analysis, Psychology & Health, DOI: 10.1080/08870446.2019.1707827

 

ABSTRACT Objective: Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes. Short telomeres are a biomarker for worsening health and early death. Design: The present study consolidated research on meditation and telomere length through a meta-analysis of results of studies examining the effect of meditation on telomere length by comparing the telomere length of meditating participants with participants in control conditions. Results: A search of the literature identified 11 studies reporting 12 comparisons of meditating individuals with individuals in control conditions. An overall significant weighted effect size of g ¼.40 indicated that the individuals in meditation conditions had longer telomeres. When an outlier effect size was trimmed from the analysis, the effect size was smaller, g ¼.16. Across studies, a greater number of hours of meditation among participants in meditation conditions was associated with larger effect sizes. Conclusion: These findings provide tentative support for the hypothesis that participants in meditation conditions have longer telomeres than participants in comparison conditions, and that a greater number of hours of meditation is associated with a greater impact on telomere biology. The results of the meta-analysis have potential clinical significance in that they suggest that meditation-based interventions may prevent telomere attrition or increase telomere length.

https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2019.1707827

 

Less Negative Emotions Occur in Mindful Children and Adolescents

Less Negative Emotions Occur in Mindful Children and Adolescents

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

We ultimately want to give children (and teens, and adults!) the ability to notice however they feel in the moment, and the tools to manage and respond appropriately to their inner and outer experience.” – Oren Jay Sofer

 

Childhood and adolescence are times of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. But they can be difficult times, fraught with challenges. During these times the individual transitions from childhood to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during these times that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. This can heighten negative emotions and anxiety. Indeed, up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms.

 

Mindfulness training in adults has been shown to reduce anxietydepression, and perceived stress levels and improve emotional regulation. In addition, in adolescents it has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health. On the other hand, getting lost in thought (mind wandering) has been shown to be associated with negative emotions. Hence, there is a need to explore the relationship between mindfulness, getting lost in thought, and emotions in children and adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Cognitive Fusion Mediates the Relationship between Dispositional Mindfulness and Negative Affects: A Study in a Sample of Spanish Children and Adolescent School Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6926870/), García-Gómez and colleagues recruited children and adolescents between the ages of 8 to 16 years. They were measured for cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, mindfulness, positive and negative emotions, and anxiety.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, negative emotions, and anxiety. A mediation analysis revealed that mindfulness had both direct and indirect associations such that mindfulness was negatively associated directly with both negative emotions and anxiety and also indirectly by way of its negative association with cognitive fusion which was in turn negatively associated with negative emotions and anxiety. Higher levels of mindfulness were associated with lower levels of cognitive fusion which, in turn, were associated with lower levels of negative emotions and anxiety.

 

These results are correlational and thus causation cannot be determined. Also, this study employed only children and adolescents, So, it is not established if similar findings would occur in adults. But there are a large number of studies that demonstrate a causal effect of mindfulness on negative emotions and anxiety with adults. Indeed, in the present study, age did not moderate the results. Hence the present results probably are due to the effects of mindfulness on cognitive fusion and on these negative emotions and occur regardless of age.

 

“Cognitive fusion is a process by which the individual becomes entangled with memories, thoughts, judgments, and evaluations and adjust behavior to the internal experiences.” Hence cognitive fusion is the antithesis of mindfulness. One cannot be mindful and at the same time be lost in thoughts. This suggests that being lost in thought (cognitive fusion) tends to produce negative emotions, while being mindful tends to reduce these negative emotions. This suggests that mindfulness by focusing the individual on the present moment improves the individual’s emotional state and also tends to prevent getting lost in thought which also improves the individual’s emotional state.

 

So, reduce getting lost in thought and negative emotions with mindfulness.

 

When I look at childhood anxiety I see an enormous problem and a precursor to other problems in adolescents and adults,” – Randye Semple

 

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

 

García-Gómez, M., Guerra, J., López-Ramos, V. M., & Mestre, J. M. (2019). Cognitive Fusion Mediates the Relationship between Dispositional Mindfulness and Negative Affects: A Study in a Sample of Spanish Children and Adolescent School Students. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(23), 4687. doi:10.3390/ijerph16234687

 

Abstract

Nowadays, mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) have experienced a remarkable development of studies among childhood and adolescent interventions. For this reason, dispositional mindfulness (DM) measures for children and adolescents have been developed to determine the effectiveness of MBI at this age stage. However, little is known about how key elements of DM (for example, cognitive de/fusion or experiential avoidance that both confirm psychological inflexibility) are involved in the mechanisms of the children and adolescents’ mental health outcomes. This research examined the mediating effect of cognitive fusion between DM and anxiety and other negative emotional states in a sample of 318 Spanish primary-school students (aged between 8 and 16 years, M = 11.24, SD = 2.19, 50.8% males). Participants completed the AFQ-Y (Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for youth), which is a measure of psychological inflexibility that encompasses cognitive defusion and experiential avoidance; CAMM (DM for children and adolescents), PANAS-N (positive and negative affect measure for children, Spanish version of PANASC), and STAIC (an anxiety measure for children). The study accomplished ethical standards. As MBI relevant literature has suggested, cognitive defusion was a significant mediator between DM and symptoms of both negative emotions and anxiety in children and adolescents. However, experiential avoidance did not show any significant mediating relationship. Probably, an improvement of the assessment of experiential avoidance is needed. MBI programs for children and adolescents may include more activities for reducing effects of the cognitive defusion on their emotional distress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6926870/

 

Reduce Aggression with Mindfulness

Reduce Aggression with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

young adults who participated in an app-based meditation training were less aggressive after receiving critical feedback, but not less angry. It suggests that being mindful doesn’t interfere with experiencing emotions, but changes how one responds to them.” – AMRA

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. It results in individual violence and aggression such as physical abuse, fights, road rage, and even murders, and in societal violence such as warfare. It may even be the basis for the horrors of terrorism and mass murder. Obviously, there is a need in modern society to control these violent and aggressive urges.

 

Aggression may, at least in part, be amplified by anger rumination; an uncontrollable, repetitive thinking about anger and its sources. This can produce a downward spiral where people repeatedly think about their anger which, in turn, reinforces the anger making it worse and worse. It is like a record that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics. It’s replaying a dispute in the individual’s mind. It’s going over their anger, again and again. Fortunately, rumination may be interrupted by mindfulness and mindfulness may improve the individual’s ability to regulate their emotions. This may, in part, be a mechanism by which mindfulness training reduces aggression and hostility. Hence, mindfulness may be an antidote to violent and aggressive urges by interrupting anger rumination and improving emotion regulation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Emotion regulation mediates relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916265/), Garofalo and colleagues recruited adult prisoners and a community sample of adult nonoffenders. They then had them complete measures of mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggressiveness.

 

Correlational analysis revealed that in both the offender and nonoffender samples, the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of emotion regulation and the lower the levels of aggressiveness. In addition, the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of aggressiveness. Further, structural equation modelling revealed that in both the offender and nonoffender samples that emotion regulation mediated the relationship between mindfulness and aggressiveness. That is, the mindfulness was not associated with aggressiveness directly but rather mindfulness was associated with higher levels of emotion regulation which, in turn, was associated with lower levels of aggressiveness.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But, prior research has shown a causal connection between mindfulness and higher levels of emotion regulation and that emotion regulation has a causal connection to lower aggressiveness and that mindfulness has a causal connection to lower aggressiveness. So, it is likely that the present findings are the results of causal links between mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggressiveness.

 

Hence, the present results suggest that being mindful goes along with having better ability to regulate emotions and that goes along with less aggressiveness. Emotion regulation is not suppression of emotions rather it is the ability to feel the emotions but not let them dictate behavior; feeling emotions but remaining in control. Thus, the results suggest that aggressiveness may result from uncontrolled reactions to emotions and that mindfulness by improving emotion regulation reduces these responses.

 

It is interesting that the results were exactly the same for both prisoners and nonoffender adults. This suggests that there is nothing special about the mechanisms controlling aggressiveness in prisoners. Rather it would appear that prisoners have a lower level of emotion regulation. This implies that improving mindfulness and emotion regulation in prisoners would lead to greater control and less violence and aggression.

 

So, reduce aggression in with mindfulness.

 

When any emotion rises up, we tend to first get caught up in it and then act it out, through speech or action. This couldn’t be truer for the heightened emotion of anger. Meditation, though, can teach us how to change a rash, reactive mindset into a more considered, responsive, and productive one.” – Headspace

 

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

 

Garofalo, C., Gillespie, S. M., & Velotti, P. (2020). Emotion regulation mediates relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions. Aggressive behavior, 46(1), 60–71. doi:10.1002/ab.21868

 

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed an increase of research on socio‐affective factors that can explain individual differences in aggressive tendencies across community and offender populations. Specifically, mindfulness and emotion regulation have emerged as important factors, which could also constitute important prevention and treatment targets. Yet, recent studies have advanced the possibility that mindfulness may also have a “dark” side, being associated with increased levels of aggression‐related variables, especially when accounting for the variance associated with emotion regulation. The present study sought to elucidate relationships among mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggression dimensions (i.e., verbal and physical aggression, anger, and hostility) across violent offender (N = 397) and community (N = 324) samples. Results revealed expected associations between both mindfulness and emotion regulation and aggression dimensions, such that greater impairments in mindfulness and emotion regulation were related to increased levels of aggression across samples. Further, analyses of indirect effects revealed that a latent emotion dysregulation factor accounted for (i.e., mediated) relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions in both samples. Previously reported positive associations between the residual variance in mindfulness scales (i.e., controlling for emotion regulation) and aggression‐related variables were not replicated in the current samples. Taken together, findings suggest that mindfulness and emotion regulation have unequivocal relations with lower levels of aggression, and should therefore be considered as relevant targets for prevention and treatment programs aimed at reducing aggressive tendencies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916265/

 

Improve the Psychological and Physical Health of Pregnant Low-Income Women with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological and Physical Health of Pregnant Low-Income Women with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

in pregnant women at high risk for excessive weight gain, it is both feasible and effective to use mindfulness strategies taught in a group format. Further, increases in certain mindfulness skills may help with better management of stress and overeating during pregnancy.” – Thomas Vieten

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. Pregnancy produces vast changes in the woman’s life, her body, her emotions, and her family. These changes may well be desired and welcomed, but they produce stress. Indeed, stress is a common experience in pregnancy. But it must be controlled. Too much stress can produce sleeping problems, headaches, loss of appetite or its opposite, overeating. If the levels of stress are high and prolonged it can produce health problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease in the mother. It can also make it more likely that the baby will be born prematurely or with a low birthweight, both of which are indicators of health problems for the infant and in the later child’s life. These stresses are magnified in low-income women.

 

So, it is important to either control stress during pregnancy or find ways to better cope with it. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce the individual’s psychological and physiological responses to stress. Hence, mindfulness training may be a safe and effective method to assist the pregnant woman in coping with the stresses of pregnancy. Low-income women are particularly vulnerable to these stresses and have a high rate of rapid weight gain and metabolic syndrome during pregnancy. Indeed, mindfulness training appears to be effective in improving the mental and physical health of low-income individuals. Hence, it is important to study if mindfulness training can improve the health of low-income women.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Distress, Weight Gain, and Glucose Control for Pregnant Low-Income Women: A Quasi-Experimental Trial Using the ORBIT Model.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785577/), Epel and colleagues recruited low-income overweight and obese, pregnant women who were in their12th to 19th week of gestation. They were provided with a 2 hour once a week for 8 weeks program of a Mindful Moms training program. This included mindful movements and mindfulness practices and discussions of stress reduction, mindful eating, and nutrition. They were compared to a comparable group who simply continued with their usual treatments. They were measured for gestational weight gain, postpartum weight retention, and before and after the intervention for physical activity perceived stress, depression, pregnancy related anxiety, acceptance of negative experiences, eating behaviors, eating addiction, and mindfulness. They also received a glucose tolerance test.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline the group that received mindfulness training had significant reductions in perceived stress, depression, food addiction, emotional eating, external eating and significant increases in acceptance of negative experiences, glucose tolerance, and physical activity. Both groups gained excessive weight during pregnancy and retained it postpartum with no significant differences.

 

Conclusions must be tempered with the knowledge that the women were not randomly assigned to intervention and control conditions, rather they were assigned based upon whether their schedules allowed participation in the mindfulness training classes. Hence, there may have been systematic differences between the groups at the outset.

 

Nevertheless, the results are both disappointing and encouraging. They were disappointing in that the intervention did not alter the high weight gains during pregnancy or their retention postpartum even though there were improvements in their eating behaviors, physical activity, and glucose tolerance. These women were overweight and obese at the beginning, so the excess weight gains are unwanted and may further damage their health and that of their offspring.

 

The results, however, are encouraging in that they suggest that mindfulness training may improve the psychological and physical health of these women. Having low-income provides additional difficulty and stress on these pregnant women. So, the ability of mindfulness training to reduce the stress and improve their psychological health is welcome. The improvements in physical activity and glucose tolerance may signal improvements in the overall metabolic health of these women. Follow ups of these women need to be pursued to determine if there were significant impacts of the training on the infants and their development.

 

So, improve the psychological and physical health of pregnant low-income women with mindfulness.

 

women in the mindfulness group had lower stress levels, higher mindfulness measures, and lower weight gains during pregnancy.” Elissa Epel

 

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

 

Epel, E., Laraia, B., Coleman-Phox, K., Leung, C., Vieten, C., Mellin, L., … Adler, N. (2019). Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Distress, Weight Gain, and Glucose Control for Pregnant Low-Income Women: A Quasi-Experimental Trial Using the ORBIT Model. International journal of behavioral medicine, 26(5), 461–473. doi:10.1007/s12529-019-09779-2

 

Abstract

Background

Stress can lead to excessive weight gain. Mindfulness-based stress reduction that incorporates mindful eating shows promise for reducing stress, overeating, and improving glucose control. No interventions have tested mindfulness training with a focus on healthy eating and weight gain during pregnancy, a period of common excessive weight gain. Here, we test the effectiveness of such an intervention, the Mindful Moms Training (MMT), on perceived stress, eating behaviors, and gestational weight gain in a high-risk sample of low income women with overweight/obesity.

Method

We conducted a quasi-experimental study assigning 115 pregnant women to MMT for 8 weeks and comparing them to 105 sociodemographically and weight equivalent pregnant women receiving treatment as usual. Our main outcomes included weight gain (primary outcome), perceived stress, and depression.

Results

Women in MMT showed significant reductions in perceived stress (β = − 0.16) and depressive symptoms (β = − 0.21) compared to the treatment as usual (TAU) control group. Consistent with national norms, the majority of women (68%) gained excessive weight according to Institute of Medicine weight-gain categories, regardless of group. Slightly more women in the MMT group gained below the recommendation. Among secondary outcomes, women in MMT reported increased physical activity (β = 0.26) and had lower glucose post-oral glucose tolerance test (β = − 0.23), being 66% less likely to have impaired glucose tolerance, compared to the TAU group.

Conclusion

A short-term intervention led to significant improvements in stress, and showed promise for preventing glucose intolerance. However, the majority of women gained excessive weight. A longer more intensive intervention may be needed for this high-risk population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785577/

 

Improve Emotional Response Inhibition in Patients with Chronic Pain and Opioid Use with Mindfulness

Improve Emotional Response Inhibition in Patients with Chronic Pain and Opioid Use with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness meditation could represent a viable alternative to opioid-based therapy for chronic pain, and may be useful in helping patients taper their use of high doses of opioid-acting agents.” – Hymie Anisman

 

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. In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement Versus Social Support on Negative Affective Interference During Inhibitory Control Among Opioid-Treated Chronic Pain Patients: A Pilot Mechanistic Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6735955/), Garland and colleagues examine the mechanisms by which mindfulness reduces perceived pain.

 

They recruited adult patients with non-cancer related chronic pain who were taking daily opioids. They were randomly assigned to receive 8-weeks of a Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) program or to an 8-week support groups meeting. Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) involves mindful breathing and body scan meditations, cognitive reappraisal to decrease negative emotions and craving, and savoring to augment natural reward processing and positive emotion. The patients were measured before and after treatment and 3 months later for pain severity and the mindfulness facet of nonreactivity. The patients also performed a go – no-go task. They viewed either neutral or pain related images in which was embedded either the letter “M” or “W”. They were asked to press a key a quickly as possible when the letter “M” was present.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the support group, after the mindfulness treatment there was a significant reduction in pain severity and increase in nonreactivity and improvement in go – no-go task accuracy. These changes were maintained 3 months after the completion of th treatment. In addition, they found that the higher the levels of nonreactivity and the greater the amount of meditation practice, the fewer errors occurred in the go – no-go task with pain-related images. In other words, the greater the improvement in response inhibition to emotional stimuli. Finally, they found that the greater the reductions in go – no-go task errors with pain related images, the greater the reduction in pain severity.

 

The results are complicated and so are the conclusions. Nevertheless, the results suggest that mindfulness training reduces pain severity and increases the mindfulness facet of nonreactivity. This suggests that the mindfulness training improves the patient’s ability to not react to pain stimuli and thereby reduce the perceived severity of the pain. This increase in nonreactivity would also explain why the patients didn’t react to pain related distractors in the go – no-go task and thereby improve their accuracy.

 

These results suggest that Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) enhances the chronic pain patient’s ability to inhibit emotional responses in the presence of pain related stimuli. This ability in turn reduces perceived pain. It remains to be seen if these improvements make it easier for the patients to wean off of opiates.

 

So, improve emotional response inhibition in patients with chronic pain and opioid use with mindfulness.

 

Meditation teaches patients how to react to the pain. People are less inclined to have the ‘Ouch’ reaction, then they are able to control the emotional reaction to pain.” – Fadel Zeidan

 

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

 

Garland, E. L., Bryan, M. A., Priddy, S. E., Riquino, M. R., Froeliger, B., & Howard, M. O. (2019). Effects of Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement Versus Social Support on Negative Affective Interference During Inhibitory Control Among Opioid-Treated Chronic Pain Patients: A Pilot Mechanistic Study. Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 53(10), 865–876. doi:10.1093/abm/kay096

 

Abstract

Background

Among opioid-treated chronic pain patients, deficient response inhibition in the context of emotional distress may contribute to maladaptive pain coping and prescription opioid misuse. Interventions that aim to bolster cognitive control and reduce emotional reactivity (e.g., mindfulness) may remediate response inhibition deficits, with consequent clinical benefits.

Purpose

To test the hypothesis that a mindfulness-based intervention, Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE), can reduce the impact of clinically relevant, negative affective interference on response inhibition function in an opioid-treated chronic pain sample.

Methods

We examined data from a controlled trial comparing adults with chronic pain and long-term prescription opioid use randomized to either MORE (n = 27) treatment or to an active support group comparison condition (n = 30). Participants completed an Emotional Go/NoGo Task at pre- and post-treatment, which measured response inhibition in neutral and clinically relevant, negative affective contexts (i.e., exposure to pain-related visual stimuli).

Results

Repeated-measures analysis of variance indicated that compared with the support group, participants in MORE evidenced significantly greater reductions from pre- to post-treatment in errors of commission on trials with pain-related distractors relative to trials with neutral distractors, group × time × condition F(1,55) = 4.14, p = .047, η2partial = .07. Mindfulness practice minutes and increased nonreactivity significantly predicted greater emotional response inhibition. A significant inverse association was observed between improvements in emotional response inhibition and treatment-related reductions in pain severity by 3-month follow-up.

Conclusions

Study results provide preliminary evidence that MORE enhances inhibitory control function in the context of negative emotional interference.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6735955/

 

Spirituality is Associated with Better Mental and Physical Health and Cognitive Ability in African Americans

Spirituality is Associated with Better Mental and Physical Health and Cognitive Ability in African Americans

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

all black religious expression has most of the following attributes: It is animistic, or spirit-filled; anthropocentric, or human-centered; dynamic; expressionistic; shamanistic (believing in communicating with spirits); and thaumaturgic (belief in miracle working).” – Diana Hayes

 

The immune system is designed to protect the body from threats like stress, infection, injury, and toxic chemicals. One of its tools is the Inflammatory response. This response works quite well for short-term infections and injuries. But when inflammation is protracted and becomes chronic, it can itself become a threat to health. It can produce autoimmune diseases such as colitis, Chron’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, increased cancer risk, lung disease, sleep disruption, gum disease, decreased bone health, psoriasis, and depression. Needless to say, chronic inflammation can create major health problems. Indeed, the presence of chronic inflammation is associated with reduced longevity. So, it is important for health to control the inflammatory response, allowing it to do its job in fighting off infection but reducing its activity when no external threat is apparent.

 

Depression is linked with increase inflammatory responses. Mind-body techniques such as yoga, Tai Chi and meditation have been shown to adaptively reduce the inflammatory response.  In addition, spirituality has been shown to be associated with reduced depression. African Americans have significantly greater incidences of disease. So, it is reasonable to investigate the relationships of spirituality, depression, inflammation and health in African Americans.

 

In today’s Research News article “Influence of Spirituality on Depression-Induced Inflammation and Executive Functioning in a Community Sample of African Americans.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6478044/), Herren and colleagues recruited healthy adult African Americans and measured them for depression, daily spiritual experiences, cognitive ability, and response inhibition. Blood was drawn and measured for inflammatory cytokines; IL-1a, TNF-a and IL-6.

 

They found that the higher the levels of depression the lower the levels of cognitive ability (executive function). This relationship was in part mediated by the levels of the inflammatory cytokine, IL-6, such that depression was associated with higher levels of IL-6 which in turn were associated with lower cognitive ability. Interestingly, they also found that the higher the frequency of daily spiritual experiences the lower the levels of depression and the higher the levels of cognitive ability and response inhibition. In addition, spirituality moderated the relationships of IL-6 with cognitive ability, such that the greater the frequency of spiritual experiences the smaller the negative relationship of IL-6 with cognitive ability.

 

These findings are interesting but they are correlational and causation cannot be determined. But they suggest that spirituality is associated with better physical and psychological health in African Americans. It is associated with lower depression levels and better cognitive performance. Additionally, it was associated with a lessened negative relationship between the inflammatory response and cognitive ability.

 

African Americans are generally more religious and spiritual than other groups. The present findings may help to explain why. Their spirituality is associated with better mental and physical health and cognitive ability. It remains for future research to determine if these relationships are causal and spirituality produces these benefits. It also remains to be seen if these relationships are present in other ethnic and racial groups.

 

Spirituality is associated with better mental and physical health and cognitive ability in African Americans.

 

Changing our thoughts, feelings and behaviour to positivity, optimism, hope, acceptance and love boosts immunity at the physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual levels.” – Sunnyside

 

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

 

Herren, O. M., Burris, S. E., Levy, S. A., Kirk, K., Banks, K. S., Jones, V. L., … Campbell, A. L. (2019). Influence of Spirituality on Depression-Induced Inflammation and Executive Functioning in a Community Sample of African Americans. Ethnicity & disease, 29(2), 267–276. doi:10.18865/ed.29.2.267

 

Abstract

African Americans (AAs) are disproportionately affected by cerebrovascular pathology and more likely to suffer from premature cognitive decline. Depression is a risk factor for poorer cognitive functioning, and research is needed to identify factors that serve to mitigate its negative effects. Studies have demonstrated positive influences of spirituality within the AA community. Determining whether spirituality attenuates the effects of depressive symptoms on cognitive functioning and the pathophysiological mechanisms that explain these relationships in AAs is paramount. This study examines the influence of daily spiritual experiences on the relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning, and how inflammatory markers may partially explain these associations. A sample of 212 (mean age= 45.6) participants completed the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES), Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), Trail Making Test A and B (TMT) and Stroop Color and Word Test (Stroop). Blood samples were collected to measure inflammatory mediators (IL-6, IL-1a, TNF-a). Linear regression analyses were used to evaluate associations. Higher BDI-II scores were associated with poorer psychomotor speed and visual scanning, measured by TMT A (B=1.49, P=.01). IL-6 explained a significant amount of variance in this relationship (B=.24, CI 95% [.00, .64]). IL-6 also significantly mediated the relationship between depressive symptoms and psychomotor speed and mental flexibility, measured by TMT B performance (B=.03, CI 95% [.003, .095]). Frequent spiritual experiences among AAs may ameliorate the negative influence of depressive symptoms on cognitive functioning.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6478044/

 

Improve Cardiac Function in Heart Failure Patients with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiac Function in Heart Failure Patients with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi may be a useful form of exercise for cardiac rehab programs, as it’s safe for high-risk patients. Findings also suggest that tai chi alone may be beneficial for patients who are unwilling to participate in a rehab program.” – CardioSmart

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. There are myriads of treatments that have been developed to treat Heart Failure including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. Importantly, lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.

 

Cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from a heart failure, emphasize these lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of heart failure patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack.  Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise, it may be an acceptable and effective treatment for heart failure patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi exercise and functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles for rehabilitation in older adults with chronic systolic heart failure: a non-randomized clinical trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6886363/), Hao and colleagues recruited elderly (>70 years) heart failure patients and assigned them to receive either 1-hour, twice a week, for 12 weeks Tai Chi practice or 30-minutes, five times per week of functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles (FEW), or both Tai Chi and FES, or to a no-treatment control condition. They were measured before and after the interventions for quality of life, depression, arterial flow mediated dilatation, mobility, and peak oxygen consumption.

 

They found that in comparison to the control group, all interventions groups had improved quality of life and cardiorespiratory functions. They had significantly improved arterial flow mediated dilatation; a measure associated with lower mortality in heart failure patients. The Tai Chi group also had decreased resting heart rate which, in turn, reduced peak oxygen consumption.

 

The results suggest that both Tai Chi practice and functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles improves the quality of life and cardiorespiratory functions in elderly heart failure patients. Additionally, Tai Chi practice lowered heart rates suggesting improved physical fitness. Hence, these interventions are recommended for the treatment of elderly heart failure patients.

Tai Chi, however, may be preferred due to its high levels of adherence and enjoyability.

 

So, improve cardiac function in heart failure patients with Tai Chi.

 

it’s a reasonable and safe step to offer tai chi within cardiac rehab. If someone says they are afraid of exercising, we could ask if they are interested in doing tai chi.” – Elena Salmoriago-Blotcher

 

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

 

Hao, Y., Zhang, L., Zhang, Z., Chen, L., He, N., & Zhu, S. (2019). Tai Chi exercise and functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles for rehabilitation in older adults with chronic systolic heart failure: a non-randomized clinical trial. Brazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas medicas e biologicas, 52(12), e8786. doi:10.1590/1414-431X20198786

 

Abstract

Exercise-based training decreases hospitalizations in heart failure patients but such patients have exercise intolerance. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the effect of 12 weeks of Tai Chi exercise and lower limb muscles’ functional electrical stimulation in older chronic heart failure adults. A total of 1,084 older adults with chronic systolic heart failure were included in a non-randomized clinical trial (n=271 per group). The control group did not receive any kind of intervention, one group received functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles (FES group), another group practiced Tai Chi exercise (TCE group), and another received functional electrical stimulation of lower limb muscles and practiced Tai Chi exercise (FES & TCE group). Quality of life and cardiorespiratory functions of all patients were evaluated. Compared to the control group, only FES group had increased Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) score (P<0.0001, q=9.06), only the TCE group had decreased heart rate (P<0.0001, q=5.72), and decreased peak oxygen consumption was reported in the TCE group (P<0.0001, q=9.15) and FES & TCE group (P<0.0001, q=10.69). FES of lower limb muscles and Tai Chi exercise can recover the quality of life and cardiorespiratory functions of older chronic heart failure adult

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6886363/