Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Mindfulness

Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” — Rita Schiano

 

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious disorder whose causes are unknown. It is very common affecting over 5 million people in the U.S., about 2% of the population with about 7 times more women affected than men. It is characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, and fatigue that lead to psychological distress. Fibromyalgia may also have morning stiffness, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, headaches, including migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disturbances, thinking and memory problems, and painful menstrual periods. The symptoms are so severe and debilitating that about half the patients are unable to perform routine daily functions and about a third have to stop work. Although it is not itself fatal, suicide rates are higher in fibromyalgia sufferers. Clearly, fibromyalgia greatly reduces the quality of life of its’ sufferers.

 

There are no completely effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Symptoms are generally treated with pain relievers, antidepressant drugs and exercise. But these only reduce the severity of the symptoms and do not treat the disease directly. Mindfulness practices have also been shown to be effective in reducing pain from fibromyalgia. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned about the effects of mindfulness on the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Research in Mindfulness Interventions for Patients With Fibromyalgia: A Critical Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9368585/ ) Leca and colleagues review and summarize, the published controlled research trials on the effects of mindfulness on the symptoms of fibromyalgia. They identified 7 published controlled trials.

 

They report that mindfulness interventions produced significant reductions in fibromyalgia symptoms and pain, functional impairment, anxiety, depression, distress, and stress, and significant improvements in mental health, quality of life, resilience, emotions, sleep quality, and cognition. Hence, the research found that mindfulness training improves the psychological, and physical symptoms of fibromyalgia.

 

I’ve seen better days, but I’ve also seen worse. I don’t have everything that I want, but I do have all I need. I woke up with some aches and pains, but I woke up. My life may not be perfect, but I am blessed.” — Unknown

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Leça S, Tavares I. Research in Mindfulness Interventions for Patients With Fibromyalgia: A Critical Review. Front Integr Neurosci. 2022 Jul 28;16:920271. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2022.920271. PMID: 35965601; PMCID: PMC9368585.

 

Abstract

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common causes of widespread chronic pain. It has a huge impact on the quality of life, namely because it appears earlier in life than most of the chronic pain conditions. Furthermore, emotional-cognitive distress factors, such as depression and anxiety, are a common feature in patients with fibromyalgia. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying fibromyalgia remain mostly unknown. Among non-pharmacological treatments, cognitive-behavioral therapy has been used during the last decade, namely with the enrolment of patients in programs of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and in mindfulness-based interventions (MBI). We critically analyzed the literature to search for scientific evidence for the use of MBI in fibromyalgia. The studies were evaluated as to several outcomes of fibromyalgia improvement along with aspects of the study design which are currently considered relevant for research in mindfulness. We conclude that despite the sparsity of well-structured longitudinal studies, there are some promising results showing that the MBI are effective in reducing the negative aspects of the disease. Future design of studies using MBI in fibromyalgia management should be critically discussed. The importance of active controls, evaluation of sustained effects along with investigation of the subserving neurobiological mechanisms and detailed reports of possible adverse effects should be considered.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9368585/

Reduce Fatigue in Women with Cancer with Mindfulness

Reduce Fatigue in Women with Cancer with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” – Caroline Myss

 

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 alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including fatiguestress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The research is accumulating. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned about mindfulness and fatigue in cancer recovery.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of mindfulness-based interventions on fatigue and psychological wellbeing in women with cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9828570/ )  McCloy and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials on the effects of mindfulness training in treating the fatigue after cancer recovery in women. They identified 21 published research studies including a total of 2326 patients. The majority of the studies employed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training and the primary diagnosis was breast cancer.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training significantly reduced fatigue, anxiety, and depression with large effect sizes. But there were no significant improvements in sleep or quality of life. Hence, there is strong research evidence that mindfulness training is effective in improving the psychological well-being of women cancer survivors.

 

Mindfulness allows us to watch our thoughts, see how one thought leads to the next, decide if we’re heading down an unhealthy path, and, if so, let go and change directions.” – Sharon Salzberg

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

McCloy K, Hughes C, Dunwoody L, Marley J, Gracey J. Effects of mindfulness-based interventions on fatigue and psychological wellbeing in women with cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials. Psychooncology. 2022 Nov;31(11):1821-1834. doi: 10.1002/pon.6046. Epub 2022 Oct 13. PMID: 36221152; PMCID: PMC9828570.

 

Abstract

Background

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause fatigue, stress and anxiety which can have a detrimental effect on patients, families and the wider community. Mindfulness‐based interventions appear to have positive effects on managing these cancer‐related symptoms.

Objective

To investigate the efficacy of mindfulness on cancer related fatigue (CRF) and psychological well‐being in female cancer patients.

Methods

Five databases (CINHAL, Ovid Medline, Ovid Psych Info, Scopus, and Cochrane), and two trial registers (WHO and Clinicaltrials.gov) were searched for randomised control trials from inception to April 2021 and updated in August 2022. Meta‐analysis was performed using Review Manager 5.4. The standardised mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to determine the intervention effect. Subgroup analysis was performed for adaptation to types of mindfulness, length of intervention and types of comparator used.

Results

Twenty‐one studies with a total of 2326 participants were identified. Mindfulness significantly improved CRF (SMD −0.81, 95% CI −1.17 to −0.44), depression (SMD−0.74, 95% CI −1.08 to −0.39) and anxiety (SMD −0.92, 95% CI −1.50 to −0.33). No effect was observed for quality of life (SMD 0.32, 95% CI −0.13–0.87) and sleep (SMD −0.65, 95% CI −1.34–0.04). Subgroup analysis revealed that there was little difference in SMD for adapted type of mindfulness (p = 0.42), wait list control compared to active comparator (p = 0.05) or length of intervention (p = 0.29).

Conclusion

Mindfulness appears to be effective in reducing CRF and other cancer related symptoms in women. Adaptations to mindfulness delivery did not have negative impact on results which may aid delivery in the clinical settings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9828570/

 

Improve Major Depressive Disorder for Over a Year with Psilocybin

Improve Major Depressive Disorder for Over a Year with Psilocybin

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

When we look within ourselves with psilocybin, we discover that we do not have to look outward toward the futile promise of life that circles distant stars in order to still our cosmic loneliness. We should look within; the paths of the heart lead to nearby universes full of life and affection for humanity.”
― Terence McKenna

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny. One important question is what is the duration of psilocybin treatment effects on major depressive disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy and safety of psilocybin-assisted treatment for major depressive disorder: Prospective 12-month follow-up.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8864328/ ) Gukasyan and colleagues recruited patients with Major Depressive Disorder and randomly assigned them to either a waitlist or to receive 2 doses of psilocybin spaced 2 weeks apart under close supervision. They were measured before, after, 1 week later, and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months later for depression, ratings of psilocybin effects, well-being, suicide ideation, persisting hallucinations and any adverse events.

 

They found that after psilocybin treatment there was a large significant decrease in depression that persisted for a year with 58% of the participants in remission. No adverse events were recorded. The higher participants ratings of personal meaning, spiritual experience, and mystical experience after sessions the greater the levels of well- being 12 months later.

 

Hence, psilocybin treatment was safe and produced large and lasting decreases in depression in patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. These are remarkable treatment effects far in excess of the improvements produced by other treatments.

 

“Psychedelics prove to you that there’s more than one way of seeing the world” – Jesse Lawler

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Gukasyan N, Davis AK, Barrett FS, Cosimano MP, Sepeda ND, Johnson MW, Griffiths RR. Efficacy and safety of psilocybin-assisted treatment for major depressive disorder: Prospective 12-month follow-up. J Psychopharmacol. 2022 Feb;36(2):151-158. doi: 10.1177/02698811211073759. PMID: 35166158; PMCID: PMC8864328.

 

Abstract

Background:

Preliminary data suggest that psilocybin-assisted treatment produces substantial and rapid antidepressant effects in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), but little is known about long-term outcomes.

Aims:

This study sought to examine the efficacy and safety of psilocybin through 12 months in participants with moderate to severe MDD who received psilocybin.

Methods:

This randomized, waiting-list controlled study enrolled 27 patients aged 21–75 with moderate to severe unipolar depression (GRID-Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (GRID-HAMD) ⩾ 17). Participants were randomized to an immediate or delayed (8 weeks) treatment condition in which they received two doses of psilocybin with supportive psychotherapy. Twenty-four participants completed both psilocybin sessions and were followed through 12 months following their second dose.

Results:

All 24 participants attended all follow-up visits through the 12-month timepoint. Large decreases from baseline in GRID-HAMD scores were observed at 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up (Cohen d = 2.3, 2.0, 2.6, and 2.4, respectively). Treatment response (⩾50% reduction in GRID-HAMD score from baseline) and remission were 75% and 58%, respectively, at 12 months. There were no serious adverse events judged to be related to psilocybin in the long-term follow-up period, and no participants reported psilocybin use outside of the context of the study. Participant ratings of personal meaning, spiritual experience, and mystical experience after sessions predicted increased well-being at 12 months, but did not predict improvement in depression.

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate that the substantial antidepressant effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy may be durable at least through 12 months following acute intervention in some patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8864328/

 

Reduce Rumination in Bipolar Disorder with Mindfulness

Reduce Rumination in Bipolar Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

If you are someone who tends to ruminate, or who suffers from anxiety and depression, it’s important that you don’t judge yourself for this way of being.” ― Kristin Neff

 

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder, is a mood disorder characterized by alternating states of extreme depression, relative normalcy, and extreme euphoria (mania). The symptoms of depression and mania are so severe that the individual is debilitated and unable to conduct their normal daily lives. The depression is so severe that suicide occurs in about 1% of cases of bipolar disorder. There are great individual differences in bipolar disorder. The extreme mood swings can last for a few days to months and can occur only once or reoccur frequently.

 

Bipolar disorder is usually treated with drugs. But these medications are not always effective and can have difficult side effects. Mindfulness practices and treatments have been shown to be effective for major mental disorders, including  depression and anxiety disorders and to improve the regulation of emotions.  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that attempts to teach patients to distinguish between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviors, and to recognize irrational thinking styles and how they affect behavior. This may be very effective particularly in reducing the repetitive negative thought patterns, ruminations. These intrusive thoughts are common in bipolar disorder and tend to support the disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on rumination and a task-based measure of intrusive thoughts in patients with bipolar disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9374865/ ) Lubbers and colleagues recruited patients with bipolar disorder and randomly assigned them to receive Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) or treatment as usual. They were measured before and after treatment for depression, mania, brooding, positive rumination, and intrusive thoughts.

 

They found that the greater the levels of rumination the greater the levels of depression. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) resulted in a significant decrease in brooding and intrusive thoughts. These findings suggest that MBCT reduces the negative rumination characteristic of bipolar disorder and associated with their depression. Hence mindfulness training appears to reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

 

Life is a series of moments and moments are always changing, just like thoughts, negative and positive. And although it may be human nature to dwell, like many natural things it’s senseless, senseless to allow a single thought to inhabit a mind because thoughts are like guests or fair-weather friends.” ― Cecelia Ahern

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lubbers J, Geurts D, Hanssen I, Huijbers M, Spijker J, Speckens A, Cladder-Micus M. The effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on rumination and a task-based measure of intrusive thoughts in patients with bipolar disorder. Int J Bipolar Disord. 2022 Aug 12;10(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s40345-022-00269-1. PMID: 35960403; PMCID: PMC9374865.

 

Abstract

Background

Preliminary evidence suggests that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a promising treatment for bipolar disorder (BD). A proposed working mechanism of MBCT in attenuating depressive symptoms is reducing depressive rumination. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effect of MBCT on self-reported trait depressive rumination and an experimental state measure of negative intrusive thoughts in BD patients. Exploratively, we investigated the effect of MBCT on positive rumination and positive intrusive thoughts.

Methods

The study population consisted of a subsample of bipolar type I or II patients participating in a multicenter randomized controlled trial comparing MBCT + treatment as usual (TAU) (N = 25) to TAU alone (N = 24). Trait depressive rumination (RRS brooding subscale) and intrusive thoughts (breathing focus task (BFT)) were assessed at baseline (full subsample) and post-treatment (MBCT + TAU; n = 15, TAU; n = 15). During the BFT, participants were asked to report negative, positive and neutral intrusive thoughts while focusing on their breathing.

Results

Compared to TAU alone, MBCT + TAU resulted in a significant pre- to post-treatment reduction of trait depressive rumination (R2 = .16, F(1, 27) = 5.15, p = 0.031; medium effect size (f2 = 0.19)) and negative intrusive thoughts on the BFT (R2 = .15, F(1, 28) = 4.88, p = 0.036; medium effect size (f2 = 0.17)). MBCT did not significantly change positive rumination or positive intrusive thoughts.

Conclusions

MBCT might be a helpful additional intervention to reduce depressive rumination in BD which might reduce risk of depressive relapse or recurrence. Considering the preliminary nature of our findings, future research should replicate our findings and explore whether this reduction in rumination following MBCT indeed mediates a reduction in depressive symptoms and relapse or recurrence in BD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9374865/

 

Improve the Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Covid-19 with Yoga

Improve the Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Covid-19 with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

If there are threats to humanity, yoga often gives us a way of holistic health. Yoga also gives us a happier way of life. I am sure, Yoga will continue playing its preventive, as well as promotive role in healthcare of masses,” – Narendra Modi

 

Mindfulness training and yoga practices have been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. They have also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress and yoga practice also produces similar improvements. So, yoga practice may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. The evidence has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “A narrative review on yoga: a potential intervention for augmenting immunomodulation and mental health in COVID-19.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9289356/ ) Basu-Ray and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of yoga practice for the treatment of the psychological and physical symptoms of Covid-19.

 

They note that the published research suggests that yoga practice improves the immune response and decreases inflammation. The research also found that yoga decreases responses physical and psychological responses to stress and decreases anxiety and depression. They found that yoga practice improves the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It has been shown to improve cardiac arrhythmia, congestive cardiac failure, ischemic heart disease, and hypertension, reducing blood pressure.

 

All these benefits of yoga practice should improve the individual’s ability to combat Covid-19.

 

“Meditation can turn fools into sages but unfortunately, fools never meditate.” Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Indranill Basu-Ray, Kashinath Metri, Dibbendhu Khanra, Rishab Revankar, Kavitha M. Chinnaiyan, Nagaratna Raghuram, Mahesh Chandra Mishra, Bhushan Patwardhan, Manjunath Sharma, Ishwar V. Basavaraddi, Akshay Anand, Shrinath Reddy, K. K. Deepak, Marian Levy, Sue Theus, Glenn N. Levine, Holger Cramer, Gregory L. Fricchione, Nagendra R. Hongasandra. A narrative review on yoga: a potential intervention for augmenting immunomodulation and mental health in COVID-19, BMC Complement Med Ther. 2022; 22: 191. Published online 2022 Jul 18. doi: 10.1186/s12906-022-03666-2

 

Abstract

Background

The ongoing novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has a significant mortality rate of 3–5%. The principal causes of multiorgan failure and death are cytokine release syndrome and immune dysfunction. Stress, anxiety, and depression has been aggravated by the pandemic and its resultant restrictions in day-to-day life which may contribute to immune dysregulation. Thus, immunity strengthening and the prevention of cytokine release syndrome are important for preventing and minimizing mortality in COVID-19 patients. However, despite a few specific remedies that now exist for the SARS-CoV-2virus, the principal modes of prevention include vaccination, masking, and holistic healing methods, such as yoga. Currently, extensive research is being conducted to better understand the neuroendocrinoimmunological mechanisms by which yoga alleviates stress and inflammation. This review article explores the anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating potentials of yoga, along with its role in reducing risk for immune dysfunction and impaired mental health.

Methods

We conducted this narrative review from published literature in MEDLINE, EMBASE, COCHRANE databases. Screening was performed for titles and abstracts by two independent review authors; potentially eligible citations were retrieved for full-text review. References of included articles and articles of major non-indexed peer reviewed journals were searched for relevance by two independent review authors. A third review author checked the excluded records. All disagreements were resolved through discussion amongst review authors or through adjudication by a fourth review author. Abstracts, editorials, conference proceedings and clinical trial registrations were excluded.

Observations

Yoga is a nonpharmacological, cost-effective, and safe intervention associated with several health benefits. Originating in ancient India, this vast discipline consists of postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation (dhyana/dharana), and relaxation. Studies have demonstrated yoga’s ability to bolster innate immunity and to inhibit cytokine release syndrome. As an intervention, yoga has been shown to improve mental health, as it alleviates anxiety, depression, and stress and enhances mindfulness, self-control, and self-regulation. Yoga has been correlated with numerous cardioprotective effects, which also may play a role in COVID-19 by preventing lung and cardiac injury.

Conclusion and relevance

This review paves the path for further research on yoga as a potential intervention for enhancing innate immunity and mental health and thus its role in prevention and adjunctive treatment in COVID-19.

Conclusions

The aggregation of pathophysiological aberrations, both psychological and somatic, secondary to COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant restrictions, may increase the severity of the infection. Accumulated evidence leads us to hypothesize that, for many, yoga practice may attenuate the ill effects of COVID-19–induced immune dysfunction at different stages.

From a public health perspective, yoga represents a low-cost, noninvasive strategy for alleviating the physical and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aforementioned yoga practices can be performed at home, in adherence to social distancing guidelines. Outcomes from an 8-week yoga intervention (asanas, pranayama, and meditation) indicated that medical treatment plus yoga is more effective than medical treatment alone in reducing anxiety [90]. Relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation helps in managing chronic or long term stress by regulating the cytokines, thus assisting people to overcome co-morbidities associated with diseases and improving the quality of life; which is important in COVID-19 and post-COVID illness [221]. Notwithstanding, appropriate clinical trials are required to document the efficacy of this strategy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9289356/

Improve Well-Being in Cancer Survivors with Mindfulness

Improve Well-Being in Cancer Survivors with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer. It’s a mindset.” — Dave Pelzer

 

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 alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The research is accumulating. So it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and cancer-related fatigue in oncology patients: 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/PMC9282451/ ) Chayadi and colleagues review summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of  the effectiveness of mindfulness training (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), or Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) on the psychological well-being of cancer patients. They identified 36 published research studies including a total of 1650 cancer patients. Most of the studies employed MBSR.

 

They report that in comparison to baseline and to control conditions, mindfulness training produced significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and fatigue in the cancer patients. These improvements were present immediately after training and 3-months later. Hence, mindfulness training improved the physical and psychological well-being of cancer patients. This suggests that mindfulness training should be incorporated into the routine care of patients with cancer..

 

Cancer is a journey, but you walk the road alone. There are many places to stop along the way and get nourishment — you just have to be willing to take it.” — Emily Hollenberg

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chayadi E, Baes N, Kiropoulos L. The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and cancer-related fatigue in oncology patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2022 Jul 14;17(7):e0269519. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269519. PMID: 35834503; PMCID: PMC9282451.

 

Abstract

Objective

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly being integrated into oncological treatment to mitigate psychological distress and promote emotional and physical well-being. This review aims to provide the most recent evaluation of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) treatments, in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety and CRF in oncology populations.

Methods

A search using the following search terms was conducted: (mindful* OR mindfulness* OR mindfulness-based* OR MBI* OR MBCT OR MBSR OR MBCR) AND (Oncol* OR cancer OR neoplasm OR lymphoma OR carcinoma OR sarcoma) to obtain relevant publications from five databases: PsycINFO, PubMed, Embase, and MEDLINE by EC, and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global from January 2000 to February 2022. 36 independent studies (n = 1677) were evaluated for their overall effect sizes (using random-effects models), subgroup analyses, and quality appraisals. Evaluations were performed separately for non-randomized (K = 20, n = 784) and randomized controlled trials (K = 16, n = 893).

Results

The results showed that MBIs have significant medium effects in reducing symptoms of depression (Hedges’ g = 0.43), anxiety (Hedges’ g = 0.55) and CRF (Hedges’ g = 0.43), which were maintained at least three months post-intervention. MBIs were also superior in reducing symptoms of anxiety (Hedges’ g = 0.56), depression (Hedges’ g = 0.43), and CRF (Hedges’ g = 0.42) in oncology samples relative to control groups. The superiority of MBIs to control groups was also maintained at least three months post-intervention for anxiety and CRF symptoms, but not for depressive symptoms. The risk of bias of the included studies were low to moderate.

Conclusions

This review found that MBIs reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety and CRF in oncology populations.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9282451/

Improve Brain Function in the Elderly with Mindfulness

Improve Brain Function in the Elderly with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Most people think that aging is irreversible and we know that there are mechanisms even in the human machinery that allow for the reversal of aging, through correction of diet, through anti-oxidants, through removal of toxins from the body, through exercise, through yoga and breathing techniques, and through meditation.” – Deepak Chopra

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. This includes our cognitive (mental) abilities which decline with age including impairments in memory, attention, and problem-solving ability. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. Research has found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation and yoga have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners

 

In today’s Research News article “Cerebral Blood Flow and Brain Functional Connectivity Changes in Older Adults Participating in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8869750/ ) Moss and colleagues recruited adults over the age of 65 years and provided them with an 8-week of once a week 2-hour programs of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) along with home practice. MBSR consists of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices along with group discussion. Before and after the program they were measured for anxiety and depression. In addition they underwent cerebral blood flow measurement and connectivity measurement with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline the elderly had significant decreases in depression and significant increases in cerebral blood flow in a variety of cortical areas after mindfulness training. They also found significantly increased connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex and the left insular cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, putamen, and left orbitofrontal cortex.

 

These changes in the brains of the elderly are significant as they suggest that mindfulness training reverses, at least in part, the decline in the nervous system that occurs with aging. This is likely to also signal protection of cognitive capacity.

 

There are great reasons to fear what happens if you don’t create a robust social schedule for the rest of your life or practice mindfulness meditation for the rest of your life.” ― John Medina

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Moss AS, Reibel DK, Wintering N, Vedaei F, Porter H, Khosravi M, Heholt J, Alizadeh M, Mohamed FB, Newberg AB. Cerebral Blood Flow and Brain Functional Connectivity Changes in Older Adults Participating in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program. Behav Sci (Basel). 2022 Feb 14;12(2):48. doi: 10.3390/bs12020048. PMID: 35200299; PMCID: PMC8869750.

 

Abstract

There is a growing interest in the potential beneficial effects of mindfulness meditation training in protecting against age-related physical, emotional, and cognitive decline. The current prospective, single-center, single-arm study investigated if functional magnetic resonance imaging-based changes in cerebral blood flow and brain functional connectivity could be observed in 11 elderly adults (mean age 79) after participation in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The results showed significantly (p < 0.05) altered cerebral blood flow and functional connectivity in the cingulate gyrus, limbic structures, and subregions of the temporal and frontal lobes, similar to findings of other meditation-related studies in younger populations. Furthermore, these changes were also associated with significant improvements in depression symptoms. This study suggests that the MBSR program can potentially modify cerebral blood flow and connectivity in this population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8869750/

 

Improve Mental Health with Mindfulness

Improve Mental Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” 
― Amit Ray

 

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

 

Over the last few decades, a vast amount of research has been published on the benefits of mindfulness practices on the mental and physical health of the practitioners. Most of these studies, however, utilize momentary (one-time) measures of mindfulness. A better method may be to measure mindfulness over a sustained period of time. Many studies have been performed using mindfulness measurement over time. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Associations between mindfulness and mental health outcomes: A systematic review of ecological momentary assessment research.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9187214/ ) Enkema and colleagues

Review and summarize the published research studies on the benefits of mindfulness measured over time on mental health. They identified 22 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness, measured over a sustained period of time, was associated with improved mental health. This included improvements in emotional awareness and positive emotions and decreases in negative emotions, anxiety, depression, rumination, cravings, and self-harm. Some indications were reported that measurement over sustained periods of time have greater reliability and validity.

 

“The way to live in the present is to remember that ‘This too shall pass.’ When you experience joy, remembering that ‘This too shall pass’ helps you savor the here and now. When you experience pain and sorrow, remembering that ‘This too shall pass’ reminds you that grief, like joy, is only temporary.” Joey Green

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Enkema MC, McClain L, Bird ER, Halvorson MA, Larimer ME. Associations between mindfulness and mental health outcomes: A systematic review of ecological momentary assessment research. Mindfulness (N Y). 2020 Nov;11(11):2455-2469. doi: 10.1007/s12671-020-01442-2. Epub 2020 Jul 15. PMID: 35694042; PMCID: PMC9187214.

 

Abstract

Objectives:

Psychological science has taken up investigations of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) and mechanisms through which people benefit from mindfulness. Reliable and valid psychometric tools are essential components of psychological science, and efforts have been made to produce tools for the accurate measurement of mindfulness as a construct. However, trait measurement methods, which are commonly used, may not adequately assess mindfulness and mental health outcomes in a way that allows for mechanisms to be adequately tested. Intensive longitudinal assessment methods sample behavior and experience multiple times over a brief period of several days or weeks, and may be more appropriate methods for testing mechanisms of action. We provide a systematic review of published, peer-reviewed studies that used intensive longitudinal methods to investigate the effects of mindfulness on mental health outcomes.

Methods:

Articles were included in the systematic review if mindfulness measures and/or mindfulness interventions were a part of the study design and if intensive longitudinal methods were used to assess mindfulness or mental health outcomes.

Results:

Findings consistently demonstrated a positive association between mindfulness and mental health. Only two studies collected both trait and state measurements of either mindfulness or mental health outcomes, and results indicated that EMA produced larger effect sizes between mindfulness and mental health outcomes.

Conclusions:

Theorized associations between mindfulness and mental health are supported by the current EMA literature. Intensive longitudinal methods may produce more consistent and reliable results through increased sensitivity and ecological validity in that they examine the momentary relationships between mindfulness and mental health outcomes. Thus, intensive longitudinal assessment may be a more appropriate method for investigating hypothesized mechanisms of action in MBPs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9187214/

 

Improve Athletes’ Psychological Well-Being and Flow with Mindfulness

Improve Athletes’ Psychological Well-Being and Flow with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go. Don’t forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of sports psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

Flow refers to a state of mind that is characterized by a complete absorption with the task at hand, often resulting in enhanced skilled performance. The flow state underlies the athletes’ feelings and thoughts when they recall the best performances of their careers. It is obvious that the notion of flow and mindfulness have great similarity. There is little known, however, about the relationship between mindfulness and flow in athletes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of “Mindfulness Acceptance Insight Commitment” Training on Flow State and Mental Health of College Swimmers: A Randomized Controlled Experimental Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27% ) Ning and colleagues recruited college swimming athletes and randomly assigned them to either no-treatment or to receive 7 weekly 90 minute mindfulness acceptance insight commitment training sessions, They were measured before and after training and 10 weeks late for mindfulness, flow, competitive anxiety, mood, and training and competition satisfaction.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control, the swimmers who received mindfulness training had significant increases in mindfulness and flow and significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression that were maintained 10 weeks later. Increased levels of flow have been associated with better athletic performance. This suggests that the mindfulness training may produce better swimming performance.

 

So, mindfulness improves athletes’ psychological well-being and flow.

 

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them; a desire, a dream, a vision.” Muhammad Ali

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ning J-h, Hao Q-w and Huang D-c (2022) Effects of “Mindfulness Acceptance Insight Commitment” Training on Flow State and Mental Health of College Swimmers: A Randomized Controlled Experimental Study. Front. Psychol. 13:799103. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103

 

This research explores the intervention effect of the mindfulness acceptance insight commitment (MAIC) training program on the mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health of college swimmers. A sample of 47 college swimmers from a regular university was recruited and randomly divided into two groups before the intervention. Independent variables between groups are psychological training mode (MAIC training/no training), and the independent variable within group was time (pre-test, post-test, and continuity test). The dependent variables are mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health (anxiety, depression, training, and competition satisfaction). Results show that after the intervention of MAIC training, the mindfulness level of athletes’ flow state has been significantly improved, whereas anxiety and depression significantly decreased. In addition, the satisfaction with training and competition significantly improved. In the continuous stage after the intervention, the mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health of athletes are still significantly higher than those in the pre-test. The comparison of the post-test and continuity test show no significant differences in the mindfulness level, flow state, depression, and training and competition satisfaction of athletes. Still, the anxiety level shows an upward trend with a significant difference. This study demonstrates that the MAIC mindfulness training program can significantly improve the mindfulness level, flow state, anxiety, depression, and training and competition satisfaction of college swimmers with a good continuity effect. Thus, the athletes’ sports experience can be improved, and good psychological benefits can be attained.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%

 

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Lung Cancer Patients

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Lung Cancer Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer. It’s a mindset.” — Dave Pelzer

 

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 general cancer recovery. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve the residual symptoms in cancer survivors. Yoga is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice that has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms in cancer survivors, the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment and improves sleep. The research findings have been accumulating. So, it makes sense to take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c ) Tian and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the of the published research studies of the effectiveness of a mindfulness practice, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on the psychological well-being of lung cancer survivors. MBSR consists of meditation, yoga, body scan, and group discussion.

 

They identified 17 published research studies that included a total of 1680 participants. They report that the published research found that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced a significant reduction in cancer related fatigue, anxiety, depression, and psychological distress, and significantly increased mindfulness, self-efficacy, and sleep quality.

 

Hence, the research to date supports the use of mindfulness training to improve the psychological well-being of lung cancer survivors.

 

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tian X, Yi L-J, Liang C-S-S, Gu L, Peng C, Chen G-H and Jiménez-Herrera MF (2022) The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychol. 13:901247. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247

 

Objective: The impact of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on psychological outcomes and quality of life (QoL) in lung cancer patients remains unclear. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the MBSR program on psychological states and QoL in lung cancer patients.

Methods: Eligible studies published before November 2021 were systematically searched from PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wanfang databases. The risk of bias in eligible studies was assessed using the Cochrane tool. Psychological variables and QoL were evaluated as outcomes. We used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system to grade the levels of evidence. Statistical analysis was conducted using RevMan 5.4 and STATA 14.0.

Results: A total of 17 studies involving 1,680 patients were included for meta-analysis eventually. MBSR program significantly relieved cancer-related fatigue (standard mean difference [SMD], −1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], −1.69 to −0.82; moderate evidence) and negative psychological states (SMD, −1.35; 95% CI, −1.69 to −1.02; low evidence), enhanced positive psychological states (SMD, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.56–1.27; moderate evidence), and improved quality of sleep (MD, −2.79; 95% CI, −3.03 to −2.56; high evidence). Evidence on MBSR programs’ overall treatment effect for QoL revealed a trend toward statistical significance (p = 0.06, low evidence).

Conclusion: Based on our findings, the MBSR program shows positive effects on psychological states in lung cancer patients. This approach should be recommended as a part of the rehabilitation program for lung cancer patients.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c