Mindfulness is Associated with Better Dementia Patient and Caregiver Outcomes

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Dementia Patient and Caregiver Outcomes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Research has shown preliminary but promising results for mindfulness-based interventions to benefit people with dementia and caregivers.” – Lotte Berk

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. Dementia patients require caregiving particularly in the later stages of the disease. Caregiving for dementia patients is a daunting intense experience that can go on for four to eight years with increasing responsibilities as the loved one deteriorates. This places tremendous psychological and financial stress on the caregiver. Hence, there is a need to both care for the dementia patients and also for the caregivers. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving. In addition, mindfulness training has been found to help protect aging individuals from physical and cognitive declines.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Baseline Patient and Caregiver Mindfulness on Dementia Outcomes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8324319/ ) Innis and colleagues recruited patients with dementia and their caregivers and both were measured for cognitive function, functional activities, health related quality of life, verbal learning, memory, executive function, visual ability, mindfulness, resilience, vulnerability, and Apolipoprotein E. In addition, “caregivers completed ratings of care confidence, care preparedness, burden, mood, and appraisals of caregiving”.  Finally, a subset of participants underwent brain scanning with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that participants without dementia had significantly higher levels of mindfulness than those with even mild dementia. They also found that the higher the level of patient mindfulness the lower the caregiver ratings of patient dementia, the higher the ratings of health-related quality of life, and the lower the rated patient impairment, cognitive complaints, anxiety, and depression. In addition, the higher the patient’s level of mindfulness the higher the levels of cognition, verbal learning, memory, visuospatial ability, and resilience and the lower the levels of vulnerability. Finally, the found that the association of patient mindfulness on cognitive ability was mediated by resilience and vulnerability.

 

These results are based upon correlations and thus causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the associations are clear. The degree of mindfulness of dementia patients is associated with better cognitive ability, emotional health, and resilience and lower levels of vulnerability. These latter relationships appear to be the intermediaries between the patient’s mindfulness and their cognitive ability. It has been shown that mindfulness training in normal individuals produces improvements in resilience. This suggests that mindfulness may help protect against cognitive decline by improving the patient’s resilience and lessening their vulnerability to the effects of aging. This further suggests the possibility that mindfulness training might help to ameliorate the cognitive decline associated with dementia. It remains for future research to explore these possibilities.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with better dementia patient and caregiver outcomes.

 

Alzheimer’s disease patients who practice mindfulness may have better outcomes than those who do not.” – Josh Baxt

 

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

 

Innis, A. D., Tolea, M. I., & Galvin, J. E. (2021). The Effect of Baseline Patient and Caregiver Mindfulness on Dementia Outcomes. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD, 79(3), 1345–1367. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201292

 

Abstract

Background:

Mindfulness is the practice of awareness and living in the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness-based interventions may improve dementia-related outcomes. Before initiating interventions, it would be beneficial to measure baseline mindfulness to understand targets for therapy and its influence on dementia outcomes.

Objective:

This cross-sectional study examined patient and caregiver mindfulness with patient and caregiver rating scales and patient cognitive performance and determined whether dyadic pairing of mindfulness influences patient outcomes.

Methods:

Individuals (N = 291) underwent comprehensive evaluations, with baseline mindfulness assessed using the 15-item Applied Mindfulness Process Scale (AMPS). Correlation, regression, and mediation models tested relationships between patient and caregiver mindfulness and outcomes.

Results:

Patients had a mean AMPS score of 38.0 ± 11.9 and caregivers had a mean AMPS score of 38.9 ± 11.5. Patient mindfulness correlated with activities of daily living, behavior and mood, health-related quality of life, subjective cognitive complaints, and performance on episodic memory and attention tasks. Caregiver mindfulness correlated with preparedness, care confidence, depression, and better patient cognitive performance. Patients in dyads with higher mindfulness had better cognitive performance, less subjective complaints, and higher health-related quality of life (all p-values<0.001). Mindfulness effects on cognition were mediated by physical activity, social engagement, frailty, and vascular risk factors.

Conclusion:

Higher baseline mindfulness was associated with better patient and caregiver outcomes, particularly when both patients and caregivers had high baseline mindfulness. Understanding the baseline influence of mindfulness on the completion of rating scales and neuropsychological test performance can help develop targeted interventions to improve well-being in patients and their caregivers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8324319/

 

Mindfulness-Based Therapies Effectively Treat Cardiovascular Disease

Mindfulness-Based Therapies Effectively Treat Cardiovascular Disease

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

What’s good for the mind also tends to be good for the heart. The mind-calming practice of meditation may play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease.” – Harvard Health

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. A myriad of treatments has been developed including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiovascular disease patients decline engaging in these lifestyle changes, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to be safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease. Practices such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health and to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Physical and Psychological Wellbeing in Cardiovascular Diseases: 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/PMC8227381/ ) Marino and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. They identified 17 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that mindfulness-based therapies produced significant decreases in systolic blood pressure, heart palpitations, heart rate, depression, and perceived stress, and significant increases in the quality of life of patients with cardiovascular disease. Hence, mindfulness-based therapies are effective in improving the physiological and psychological state of patients with cardiovascular disease and should be recommended for the treatment of these patients.

 

So, mindfulness-based therapies effectively treat cardiovascular disease.

 

people who meditated had lower rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease.” – Science Daily

 

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

 

Marino, F., Failla, C., Carrozza, C., Ciminata, M., Chilà, P., Minutoli, R., Genovese, S., Puglisi, A., Arnao, A. A., Tartarisco, G., Corpina, F., Gangemi, S., Ruta, L., Cerasa, A., Vagni, D., & Pioggia, G. (2021). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Physical and Psychological Wellbeing in Cardiovascular Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Brain sciences, 11(6), 727. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060727

 

Abstract

Background: Recently, there has been an increased interest in the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) for people with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), although the exact beneficial effects remain unclear. Methods: This review aims to establish the role of MBI in the management of wellbeing for patients with CVD. Seventeen articles have been included in this systematic synthesis of the literature and eleven in the meta-analysis. Results: Considering physical (i.e., heart rate, blood pressure) and psychological outcomes (i.e., depression, anxiety, stress, styles of coping), the vast majority of studies confirmed that MBI has a positive influence on coping with psychological risk factors, also improving physiological fitness. Random-effects meta-analysis models suggested a moderate-to-large effect size in reducing anxiety, depression, stress, and systolic blood pressure. Conclusions: Although a high heterogeneity was observed in the methodological approaches, scientific literature confirmed that MBI can now be translated into a first-line intervention tool for improving physical and psychological wellbeing in CVD patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8227381/

 

Improve Well-Being of Traumatic Brain Injury Patients with Mindfulness

Improve Well-Being of Traumatic Brain Injury Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

TBI is a complex diagnosis involving many components.”One significant component is the stress response after having this type of injury. Mindfulness meditation appears to have a strong relaxing and stress reduction quality for patients, which is tremendously beneficial for overall recovery from injury.” – Heechin Chae

 

Brain damage is more or less permanent. The neurons and neural structures that are destroyed when the brain is damaged for the most part do not regrow. Brain Injury is caused by a number of different events including a violent blow to the head (Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI). In the United States it is estimated that annually 1.7 million people sustain Traumatic Brain Injury. Although the brain tissues that are destroyed are permanently lost, we know that people can recover to some extent from brain injury.  How is it possible that recovery can occur when there is no replacement of the damaged tissue? There appears to be a number of strategies that are employed by the brain to assist in recovery. Other areas of the brain can take over some of the function, other behavioral strategies can be employed to accomplish the task, and non-injured areas of the brain can adapt and change to compensate for the lost function. Rehabilitation for brain injury patients usually involves strategies to promote these recovery mechanisms. Mindfulness training has been found to be helpful in recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparison of the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation and mindfulness-based stress reduction on mental fatigue, quality of life and aggression in mild traumatic brain injury patients: a randomized clinical trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8207739/ ) and Shirvani colleagues recruited adult patients with traumatic brain injury and randomly assigned them to either no treatment or to receive a once a week for 2 hours for 8 weeks program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or 3 sessions of 20 minutes per week for 10 total sessions of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). They were measured before and after training and 2 months later for mental fatigue, quality of life, physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, and hostility.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group both the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) groups had significantly lower levels of mental fatigue and aggression both after treatment and 2 month later but the MBSR group has a significantly greater improvement than the tDCS group in mental fatigue but not aggression. They report that only the MBSR group has a significantly greater improvement in quality of life.

 

In the present study mental fatigue, quality of life, and aggressive behaviors were improved immediately after treatment and 2 month later by both Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). But MBSR produced greater improvement in mental fatigue and only MBSR produced a significant improvement in quality of life. Mindfulness has been shown in prior research to produce improvements in fatigue, aggression, and quality of life. The present study extends these benefits to patients with traumatic brain injury.

 

Traumatic brain injury patients are particularly difficult to treat. But the present findings suggest that mindfulness training may not only be effective but be the best treatment to improve the behavior and cognitive ability of patients with traumatic brain injury. Importantly, the improvements are relatively long lasting.

 

So, improve well-being of traumatic brain injury patients with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is a technique used to concentrate on your immediate surroundings, focusing on what happens moment by moment. It can be transformative for some and allow them to feel more aware of the situations around them, which can be particularly helpful for brain injury survivors.” – Headway

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Shirvani, S., Davoudi, M., Shirvani, M., Koleini, P., Hojat Panah, S., Shoshtari, F., & Omidi, A. (2021). Comparison of the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation and mindfulness-based stress reduction on mental fatigue, quality of life and aggression in mild traumatic brain injury patients: a randomized clinical trial. Annals of general psychiatry, 20(1), 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12991-021-00355-1

 

Abstract

Background

The rate of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) due to the accidents is high around the world. Patients with mild TBIs may suffer from some psychological disorders, including aggression, and mental fatigue, and thus their quality of life decreased. Among different treatments for TBI, two treatments, namely transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) have shown to be effective. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the effects of these two treatments on mental fatigue, aggression and quality of life in mTBI patients.

Materials and methods

This randomized controlled trial study was conducted on 48 TBI patients referred to emergency and neurosurgery departments of Shahid Beheshti Hospital, Kashan, Iran. They were selected using the convenience sampling method. Data were collected using the mental fatigue scale, the World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF (short version), and the Buss–Perry Aggression Questionnaires. Then, the data were analyzed using a Mixed Repeated Measures ANOVAs, and the Levene and Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests by SPSS-23 software.

Results

The mean age of patients in the three groups of MBSR, tDCS and control were 69.38 + 6.11 (25% male), 25.40 + 12.11 (25% male) and 69.37 + 0.2 (18.8% male), respectively. There was no significant difference between the three groups in terms of mental fatigue, quality of life and aggression (P < 0.05). In addition, the results showed that there was a significant difference between the main effect of time and the interaction between time and group (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Both MBSR and tDCS methods are effective in reducing the mental fatigue and aggression and increasing quality of life of mTBI patients; MBSR treatment, as indicated in the present study, can be more effective than tDCS in patients with mTBI.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8207739/

 

Improve Pain, Sleep, and the Mental Health of Chronic Pain Patients with Internet Mindfulness Training

Improve Pain, Sleep, and the Mental Health of Chronic Pain Patients with Internet Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In the context of chronic pain . . . meditation can help you to stop your mind wandering back to your pain when you are trying to focus on something else, therefore improving your ability to give your entire attention to the task at hand and in turn, improve your level of functioning. It gives you the power to take your mind off your pain and refocus it, therefore aiding you in replacing unhelpful, behaviours with healthy ones which can reduce your pain and allow you to take better care of your health.” – Ann-Marie D’arcy-Sharpe

 

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 that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain. A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) requires a scheduled program of sessions with a trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness training over the internet have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. In addition, research has indicated that mindfulness training online can be effective for improving the health and well-being of the participants.

 

In today’s Research News article “Internet‐delivered acceptance and commitment therapy as microlearning for chronic pain: A randomized controlled trial with 1‐year follow‐up.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1723 ) Rickardsson and colleagues recruited adult chronic pain patients and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive an 8-week program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) delivered over the internet. ACT was delivered in daily microlearning short learning interactions. There was a 74% completion rate of the modules. The participants were measured before and after training and at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups for psychiatric problems, pain interference, pain intensity, anxiety, depression, psychological inflexibility, values, and health-related quality of life.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received internet-delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significant decreases in pain interference, pain intensity, anxiety, depression, psychological inflexibility, value obstruction, and insomnia. These improvements were long-lasting as they were maintained at the 12-month follow-up.

 

These are impressive improvements in the pain and psychological health of these diverse chronic pain patients. These results correspond with the frequent prior observations that mindfulness training produces reductions in pain, anxiety, depression, psychological inflexibility, and insomnia in a wide range of patient types and normal individuals. These results are particularly impressive as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was delivered over the internet. in daily microlearning short learning interactions. This was very convenient for the patients and required only 12.4 minutes per week of therapist time per week and was thus very inexpensive to deliver. Yet ACT was highly effective and lasting in relieving the suffering of these chronic pain patients.

 

So, improve pain, sleep, and the mental health of chronic pain patients with internet mindfulness training.

 

What we want to do as best as we can is to engage with the pain just as it is. It’s not about achieving a certain goal – like minimizing pain – but learning to relate to your pain differently.” – Elisha Goldstein

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Jenny Rickardsson, Charlotte Gentili, Linda Holmström, Vendela Zetterqvist, Erik Andersson, Jan Persson, Mats Lekander, Brjánn Ljótsson, Rikard K. Wicksell. Internet‐delivered acceptance and commitment therapy as microlearning for chronic pain: A randomized controlled trial with 1‐year follow‐up, European Journal of Pain, 2021;00:1–19, https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.1723

 

Abstract

Background

Studies of Internet‐delivered acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for chronic pain have shown small to moderate positive effects for pain interference and pain acceptance. Effects on pain intensity, depression, anxiety and quality of life (QoL) have been less favourable, and improvements for values and sleep are lacking. In this randomized controlled trial iACT – a novel format of Internet‐ACT using daily microlearning exercises – was examined for efficacy compared to a waitlist condition.

Methods

Adult participants (mean age 49.5 years, pain duration 18.1 years) with diverse chronic pain conditions were recruited via self‐referral, and randomized to iACT (n = 57) or waitlist (n = 56). The primary outcome was pain interference. The secondary outcomes were QoL, depression, anxiety, insomnia and pain intensity. The process variables included psychological inflexibility and values. Post‐assessments were completed by 88% (n = 100) of participants. Twelve‐month follow‐up assessments were completed by 65% (iACT only, n = 37). Treatment efficacy was analysed using linear mixed models and an intention‐to‐treat‐approach.

Results

Significant improvements in favour of iACT were seen for pain interference, depression, anxiety, pain intensity and insomnia, as well as process variables psychological inflexibility and values. Between‐group effect sizes were large for pain interference (d = 0.99) and pain intensity (d = 1.2), moderate for anxiety and depressive symptoms and small for QoL and insomnia. For the process variables, the between‐group effect size was large for psychological inflexibility (d = 1.0) and moderate for values. All improvements were maintained at 1‐year follow‐up.

Conclusions

Internet‐ACT as microlearning may improve a broad range of outcomes in chronic pain.

Significance

The study evaluates a novel behavioral treatment with positive results on pain interference, mood as well as pain intensity for longtime chronic pain sufferers. The innovative format of a digital ACT intervention delivered in short and experiential daily learnings may be a promising way forward.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1723

 

Forest Walking and Forest Qigong Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly

Forest Walking and Forest Qigong Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“forest bathing has received increasing attention due to its health-promoting effects, including enhancing immune functions and decreasing blood pressure in hypertension patients, as well as stress relief effects.” – Genxiang Mao,

 

Modern living is stressful, perhaps, in part because it has divorced us from the natural world that our species was immersed in throughout its evolutionary history. Modern environments may be damaging to our health and well-being simply because the species did not evolve to cope with them. This suggests that returning to nature, at least occasionally, may be beneficial. Indeed, researchers are beginning to study nature walks or what the Japanese call “Forest Bathing” and their effects on our mental and physical health.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve mood. People have long reported that walking in nature elevates their mood. It appears intuitively obvious that if mindfulness training occurred in a beautiful natural place, it would greatly improve the effectiveness of mindfulness practice. In fact, being in nature has been shown to improve psychological health.

 

Qigong has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Qigong training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Qigong  practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Qigong has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. So, it makes sense to further study the ability of Qigong training particularly when practiced in nature to improve well-being in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psycho-Electrophysiological Benefits of Forest Therapies Focused on Qigong and Walking with Elderly Individuals.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999348/ ) Yi and colleagues recruited healthy elderly (65 years of age and older) participants and assigned them to one of 3 conditions; no-treatment control, forest walking, or forest Qigong. The forest programs were 2 hours per session twice per week for 6 weeks and included warm-up exercises, stretching, physio-cognitive play, and cool-down along with 50 minutes of either forest walking, or forest Qigong. They were measured before and after training for cognitive impairment, depression, and quality of life. They also had the electroencephalogram (EEG) and electrocardiogram (EKG) recorded. Bioimpedance was used to determine body composition and nutritional metabolism.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control condition, the forest qigong group had a significant decrease in depression while the forest walking group had a significant decrease in cognitive impairment and increase in quality of life. In the EEG, the forest walking group had significant increases in Alpha and Beta rhythm power and a significant decrease in low frequency heart rate variability after training while the control and forest qigong groups did not. In addition, the forest qigong group had a significant increase in the upper body bioimpedance phase angle while the forest walking group had a significant increase in the lower body bioimpedance phase angle.

 

Bioimpedance phase angle is an indicator of the metabolic nutrition of the muscles. So, the practice of qigong in the forest appears to increase the metabolic nutritional status of the upper body while walking in the forest appears to increase the metabolic nutritional status of the lower body. This is not surprising as qigong involves frequent arm movements while walking involves more leg movements. Low frequency heart rate variability is an indicator of sympathetic nervous system activity and its decrease in the forest walking group suggests that walking in the forest is physiologically relaxing, reducing activating sympathetic activity. Finally, EEG power is indicative of brain information processing and its increase with forest walking is indicative of an increase in information (cognitive) processing.

 

These findings are interesting and suggest that walking in the forest and qigong in the forest have different effects on elderly individuals. Where forest qigong appears to be superior for decreasing depression and upper body metabolism, forest walking appears to improve cognitive ability, lower body metabolism, and physiological relaxation. Hence qigong in the forest is superior for emotional health while walking in the forest is superior for cognitive health. This suggests that the combination of qigong and walking in the forest may produce better well-being for elderly individual.

 

So, forest walking and forest qigong improve cognitive function in the elderly.

 

Forest bathing, also known as forest therapy or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, is an evidence-based practice of connecting to nature as a way to heal.” – Credible Mind

 

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

 

Yi, J., Kim, S. G., Khil, T., Shin, M., You, J. H., Jeon, S., Park, G. H., Jeong, A. Y., Lim, Y., Kim, K., Kim, J., Kang, B., Lee, J., Park, J. H., Ku, B., Choi, J., Cha, W., Lee, H. J., Shin, C., Shin, W., … Kim, J. U. (2021). Psycho-Electrophysiological Benefits of Forest Therapies Focused on Qigong and Walking with Elderly Individuals. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6), 3004. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063004

 

Abstract

We developed two distinct forest therapy programs (FTPs) and compared their effects on dementia prevention and related health problems for older adults. One was focused on Qigong practice in the forest (QP) and the other involved active walking in the forest (WP). Both FTPs consisted of twelve 2-h sessions over six weeks and were conducted in an urban forest. We obtained data from 25, 18, and 26 participants aged 65 years or above for the QP, WP, and control groups, respectively. Neuropsychological scores via cognition (MoCA), geriatric depression (GDS) and quality of life (EQ-5D), and electrophysiological variables (electroencephalography, bioimpedance, and heart rate variability) were measured. We analyzed the intervention effects with a generalized linear model. Compared to the control group, the WP group showed benefits in terms of neurocognition (increases in the MoCA score, and alpha and beta band power values in the electroencephalogram), sympathetic nervous activity, and bioimpedance in the lower body. On the other hand, the QP group showed alleviated depression and an increased bioimpedance phase angle in the upper body. In conclusion, both active walking and Qigong in the forest were shown to have distinctive neuropsychological and electrophysiological benefits, and both had beneficial effects in terms of preventing dementia and relieving related health problems for elderly individuals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999348/

 

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Plus Loving-Kindness Mediation is highly Effective in Depressed Patients

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Plus Loving-Kindness Mediation is highly Effective in Depressed Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“MBCT can provide a viable relapse prevention intervention for people with a history of recurrent depression.” – Catherine Crane

 

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

 

Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs failMindfulness-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. MBCT has been found to be effective in treating depression.

 

Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) is designed to develop kindness and compassion to oneself and others. The individual systematically pictures different individuals from self, to close friends, to enemies and wishes them happiness, well-being, safety, peace, and ease of well-being. Although LKM has been practiced for centuries, it has received very little scientific research attention. But it may be effective in counteracting the effects of stress and self-criticism. It is not known how effective the combination of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Loving Kindness Meditation might be in treating depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “A study on the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and loving-kindness mediation on depression, rumination, mindfulness level and quality of life in depressed patients.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8205847/ ) Wang and colleagues recruited adult patients with depression and randomly assigned them to receive either regular care or to receive 1 hour once per day for 1 week Loving Kindness Meditation followed by 8 weeks, once per week of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) also with Loving Kindness Meditation practice. Regular care consisted of “basic knowledge of depression, common drugs, possible adverse drug reactions, and prevention of adverse reactions . . . Face-to-face communication with patients was conducted regularly to understand their thoughts, evaluate the depression degrees of patients, so as to provide psychological support for depressed patients, and care for patients in daily life.” They were measured at baseline and at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks for mindfulness, depression, rumination, quality of life, self-acceptance, and sense of stigma.

 

They found that both groups significantly decreased in depression, sense of stigma, and rumination and increased in mindfulness, self-acceptance and quality of life over the 8 weeks. But the intervention group improved significantly more than the control group on all measures.

 

Previous research has shown that mindfulness training produces significant decreases in depression and rumination and increases in self-acceptance and quality of life. What is new here is that they found that the combination of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Loving Kindness Meditation was significantly more effective than the conventional psychological intervention. This is important but must be followed up to see if the improvements in the patients with depression are sustained over longer periods of time.

 

So, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) plus Loving-Kindness Mediation is highly effective in depressed patients.

 

MBCT leads to a decrease in depressive symptoms, reduction in depression relapse rate and improvement in terms of mindfulness.” – Zulkiflu ArgunguMusa

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Wang, Y., Fu, C., Liu, Y., Li, D., Wang, C., Sun, R., & Song, Y. (2021). A study on the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and loving-kindness mediation on depression, rumination, mindfulness level and quality of life in depressed patients. American journal of translational research, 13(5), 4666–4675.

 

Abstract

Objective: To analyze the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) plus loving-kindness mediation (LKM) in depressed patients. Methods: A total of 125 depressed patients diagnosed in the Department of Psychiatry of our hospital were selected as the research subjects and were randomly divided into a control group (n=62) and an observation group (n=63). The control group was treated with conventional psychological intervention, while the observation group was treated with MBCT plus LKM. The therapeutic outcomes were compared between the two groups. Results: At 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks after intervention, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) scores and the scores for introspection and deliberation, forced thinking, rumination of symptoms, treatment, ability and social relationships in the observation group were lower than those in the control group, while Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) scores and the scores for psychology, environment, physiology, social relations, self-acceptance, and self-evaluation in the observation group were higher than those in the control group (P < 0.05). Conclusion: MBCT plus LKM can effectively improve depression, rumination, mindfulness level, quality of life, the sense of stigma and degree of self-acceptance in depressed patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8205847/

 

Improve the Physical and Psychological Health of Patients with Cardiac Arrhythmias with Yoga

Improve the Physical and Psychological Health of Patients with Cardiac Arrhythmias with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Exercise that revs up your heart rate isn’t the only kind of physical activity that can help prevent or manage heart disease. The calming exercise of yoga is good for the heart, too.” – Johns Hopkins Medicine

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. 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. Yoga is a mindfulness practice that has been shown to improve physical well-being and cardiovascular health.

 

An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm. When a heart beats too fast, the condition is called tachycardia. When a heart beats too slowly, the condition is called bradycardia.” (NIH). Arrythmias if untreated could lead to heart failure, stroke, cardiac arrest and sudden infant death. So, it is very important to identify treatments for arrhythmias. Research on the ability of yoga practice to treat arrhythmias has been accumulating, So, it makes sense to step back and review what has been learned on the ability of yoga to treat heart arrhythmia.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Review on Role of Yoga in the Management of Patients with Cardiac Arrhythmias.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023436/ )  Sharma and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effects of yoga practice on heart arrhythmia and its symptoms. They found 6 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that yoga practice significantly reduced the number of both symptomatic and non-symptomatic atrial fibrillation events and ventricular repolarization dispersion indices. There were also significant decreases in resting heart rate and blood pressure. The patients’ psychological well-being was also improved by yoga practice with significant decreases in depression and anxiety and significant increases in quality of life,

 

The results of this review indicates that yoga practice is a safe and effective treatment for patients with cardiac arrhythmias, improving both the physical and psychological manifestations of arrhythmias (paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachyarrhythmia, and palpitation). Although long-term follow-up was not included, the observed improvements produced by yoga practice would predict that there would be a lessened occurrence of cardiovascular disease and an increase in longevity.

 

So, improve the physical and psychological health of patients with cardiac arrhythmias with yoga.

 

In the patients with cardiac arrhythmias, pranayama yoga therapy has been shown to reduce the ventricular repolarization dispersion thereby lowering the risk of developing malignant ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. In heart failure patients, yoga therapy resulted in reduction in heart rate and blood pressure due to improved HRV, increased vagal tone and decreased sympathetic tone.” – Krishna Akella

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Sharma, G., Mooventhan, A., Naik, G., & Nivethitha, L. (2021). A Review on Role of Yoga in the Management of Patients with Cardiac Arrhythmias. International journal of yoga, 14(1), 26–35. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_7_20

 

Abstract

Evidence suggests that yoga is safe and effective in improving various risk factors, quality of life (QoL), and psychological burden that is related to arrhythmia. However, this is the first-ever systematic review performed to report the role of yoga in arrhythmia. We have performed a literature search using Cochrane Library, Medline/PubMed, Web of Science Core Collection, and IndMED electronic databases up to 3, January 2018. Of 240 articles, 6 potentially eligible articles were identified and included in the review. Results showed that yoga could be considered an efficient adjuvant in reducing arrhythmia (paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachyarrhythmia, and palpitation) related health problems; blood pressure, heart rate, depression and anxiety scores; and in improving health-related QoL of arrhythmia patients. However, there is a lack of randomized controlled trials and a clear mechanism behind the effect of yoga; studies had relatively a small sample size and different yoga protocols.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023436/

 

Improve Lymphedema Symptoms Among Breast Cancer Survivors with Yoga Therapy

Improve Lymphedema Symptoms Among Breast Cancer Survivors with Yoga Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Research in breast cancer patients has shown that yoga may be able to help: improve physical functioning, reduce fatigue, reduce stress, improve sleep, improve quality of life.” – Vicki Flannery

 

Because of great advances in treatment, many patients today are surviving cancer. But cancer survivors frequently suffer from a range of persistent psychological and physical residual symptoms that  impair their quality of life. A common side effect of cancer treatment is breast cancer-related lymphedema. It “comprises of a set of pathological conditions, in which protein-rich fluid accumulates in soft tissues because of lymphatic flow interruption. BCRL is an agglomeration of symptoms such as swelling of arm, decreased physical functioning and body motion, altered sensation in limbs, and fatigue accompanied by psychological stress.” A safe and effective treatments for Lymphedema is needed.

 

Mindfulness training and exercise have 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 on yoga practice as a treatment for patients recovering from breast cancer with Lymphedema has been accumulating. It is thus reasonable to take a step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Managing Lymphedema, Increasing Range of Motion, and Quality of Life through Yoga Therapy among Breast Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023442/ )  Saraswathi and colleagues review and summarize the published research of the effects of yoga practice on the Lymphedema with breast cancer survivors. They identified 7 published studies.

 

They report that the published studies used a variety of yoga styles and found that yoga therapy was safe and produced positive benefits for the symptoms of Lymphedema with breast cancer survivors. In particular, there were significant improvements in the patients’ quality of life, range of motion, musculoskeletal symptoms, and survival. This suggests that yoga therapy is a safe and effective means of reducing the suffering of these cancer survivors. The authors note, though, that the studies were in general small and a large randomized control trial with an active control condition is needed.

 

So, improve lymphedema symptoms among breast cancer survivors with yoga therapy.

 

When you’re in recovery or treatment for breast cancer, the medication and treatments come with many side effects that can take an unwanted toll on your body and spirit. . . One such therapy has already been proven to help breast cancer survivors and patients — yoga.” – Rocky Mountain Cancer Center

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Saraswathi, V., Latha, S., Niraimathi, K., & Vidhubala, E. (2021). Managing Lymphedema, Increasing Range of Motion, and Quality of Life through Yoga Therapy among Breast Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review. International journal of yoga, 14(1), 3–17. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_73_19

 

Abstract

Lymphedema is a common complication of breast cancer treatment. Yoga is a nonconventional and noninvasive intervention that is reported to show beneficial effects in patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL). This study attempted to systematically review the effect of yoga therapy on managing lymphedema, increasing the range of motion (ROM), and quality of life (QOL) among breast cancer survivors. The review search included studies from electronic bibliographic databases, namely Medline (PubMed), Embase, and Google Scholar till June 2019. Studies which assessed the outcome variables such as QOL and management of lymphedema or related physical symptoms as effect of yoga intervention were considered for review. Two authors individually reviewed, selected according to Cochrane guidelines, and extracted the articles using Covidence software. Screening process of this review resulted in a total of seven studies. The different styles of yoga employed in the studies were Iyengar yoga (n = 2), Satyananda yoga (n = 2), Hatha yoga (n = 2), and Ashtanga yoga (n = 1). The length of intervention and post intervention analysis ranged from 8 weeks to 12 months. Four studies included home practice sessions. QOL, ROM, and musculoskeletal symptoms showed improvement in all the studies. Yoga could be a safe and feasible exercise intervention for BCRL patients. Evidence generated from these studies was of moderate strength. Further long-term clinical trials with large sample size are essential for the development and standardization of yoga intervention guidelines for BCRL patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023442/

 

The Well-Being and Quality of Life in Cancer Patients are Related to Spirituality

The Well-Being and Quality of Life in Cancer Patients are Related to Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Many patients with cancer rely on spiritual or religious beliefs and practices to help them cope with their disease. This is called spiritual coping.” – National Cancer Institute

 

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

 

Religion and spirituality become much more important to people when they survive cancer. It is thought that people take comfort in the spiritual when facing mortality. Hence, spirituality may be useful for cancer patients to cope with their illness and the psychological difficulties resulting from the disease. Thus, there is a need to study the relationships of spirituality on the well-being and quality of life of cancer patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Association between spiritual well-being, quality of life, anxiety and depression in patients with gynecological cancer in China.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7793354/) Chen and colleagues recruited women with primary gynecological cancer and had them complete measures of quality of life with cancer, global health, spiritual well-being, anxiety, and depression.

 

They found that the higher the levels of spiritual well-being the higher the levels of global health and quality of life and the lower the levels of depression and anxiety. Multiple regression analysis revealed that religion, depression, anxiety and quality of life were the strongest predictors of spiritual well-being.

 

These findings are correlational and as a result causation cannot be determined. Regardless, the results clearly show that spiritual well-being is significantly related to better health and quality of life and lower psychological problems in women with primary gynecological cancer. These findings are similar to those seen with other forms of cancer that spirituality is associated with the patient’s quality of life and well-being. This raises the possibility that promoting spirituality in cancer patients may improve their physical and psychological well-being. It remains for future research to explore this possibility.

 

So, the well-being and quality of life in cancer patients are related to spirituality.

 

Consistent associations between spirituality, spiritual well-being, and health outcomes found in published studies highlight the importance of providing spiritual care to enhance cancer patients’ spiritual well-being and address their spiritual needs.” – Yi-Hui Lee

 

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

 

Chen, J., You, H., Liu, Y., Kong, Q., Lei, A., & Guo, X. (2021). Association between spiritual well-being, quality of life, anxiety and depression in patients with gynaecological cancer in China. Medicine, 100(1), e24264. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000024264

 

Abstract

The physical and psychological condition of patients with gynaecological cancer has received much attention, but there is little research on spirituality in palliative care. This study aimed to investigate spiritual well-being and its association with quality of life, anxiety and depression in patients with gynaecological cancer. A cross-sectional study was conducted in China in 2019 with 705 patients diagnosed with primary gynaecological cancer. European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality of life instruments (EORTC QLQ-SWB32 and EORTC QLQ-C30) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale were used to measure spiritual well-being, quality of life, anxiety and depression. Univariate and multiple linear regression analyses were performed to examine associations between spiritual well-being, quality of life, anxiety and depression. Functioning scales and global health status were positively correlated with spiritual well-being (P < .05). Anxiety and depression were negatively correlated with spiritual well-being (P < .05). Depression (−0.362, P < .001) was the strongest predictor of Existential score. Anxiety (−0.522, P < .001) was the only predictor of Relationship with self. Depression (−0.350, P < .001) and Global health (0.099, P = .011) were the strongest predictors of Relationship with others. Religion (−0.204, P < .001) and Depression (−0.196, P < .001) were the strongest predictors of Relationship with someone or something greater. Global health (0.337, P < .001) and Depression (−0.144, P < .001) were the strongest predictors of Global-SWB. Well spiritual well-being is associated with lower anxiety and depression, and better quality of life. Health providers should provide more spiritual care for non-religious patients and combine spiritual care with psychological counselling to help patients with gynaecological cancer, especially those who have low quality of life or severe symptoms, or experience anxiety or depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7793354/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Police with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Police with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“self-reported mindfulness to be associated with increased resilience and emotional intelligence and decreased negative health outcomes among police officers.” – John H. Kim

 

Policing is a very stressful occupation. Stress in police can result from role conflicts between serving the public, enforcing the law, and upholding ethical standards and personal responsibilities as spouse, parent, and friend. Stress also results from, threats to health and safety, boredom, responsibility for protecting the lives of others, continual exposure to people in pain or distress, the need to control emotions even when provoked, the presence of a gun, even during off-duty hours, and the fragmented nature of police work, with only rare opportunities to follow cases to conclusion or even to obtain feedback or follow-up information.

 

This stress can have serious consequences for the individual and in turn for society. Police officers have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, possibly the highest. They have a high divorce rate, about second in the nation. They are problem drinkers about twice as often as the general population. This is a major problem as stress and the resultant complications can impact job performance, which sometimes involve life or death situations.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve the physiological and psychological responses to stress and it has been found to reduce burnout in first responders. So, it is likely that mindfulness training with police can help them cope with the stress and thereby improve their quality of life and psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training Improves Quality of Life and Reduces Depression and Anxiety Symptoms Among Police Officers: Results From the POLICE Study-A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952984/ ) Trombka and colleagues recruited active police officers and randomly assigned them to a wait list control condition or to receive 8 weekly sessions of Mindfulness-Based Health Promotion (MBHP) which is based on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. It includes mindful movements, meditation, body scan, and breathing practices along with teachings on mindfulness and self-compassion and discussion. They were measured 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after training and 6 months later for quality of life, anxiety, depression, religiosity, mindfulness, self-compassion, and quality of life domains of spirituality, religiosity, and personal beliefs.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received Mindfulness-Based Health Promotion (MBHP) had significantly greater quality of life, including physical health, psychological, social relationships, and environment, overall quality of life and general health facets. These improvements remained significant 6 months after the conclusion of treatment. In addition, the MBHP group had significant reductions in anxiety and depression and significant increases in self-compassion which were also still present at the 6-month follow-up. A mediation analysis revealed that MBHP improved all facets of quality of life directly and also indirectly by improving self-compassion which in turn improved the various facets of quality of life.

 

These are clear and important results. Mindfulness-Based Health Promotion (MBHP) produced significant improvements in the psychological well-being of the police. Mindfulness training has been previously shown to improve quality of life and self-compassion. The present study replicates these finding but also demonstrates that the improvement in self-compassion is in part responsible for the improvements in quality of life. Self-compassion involves kindness toward oneself in the face of one’s personal failings. This is important for psychological well-being especially for police who are often dealing with difficult and stressful situations. Recognizing their own imperfect humanness with kindness greatly reduce self-criticism and blame allowing them to being OK with doing the best they can,

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of police with mindfulness.

 

The science is validating that mindfulness has the potential to increase fair and impartial policing, because we are open to recognizing our responses to a stimulus, to an event, to a person,” – Sylvia Moir

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Trombka, M., Demarzo, M., Campos, D., Antonio, S. B., Cicuto, K., Walcher, A. L., García-Campayo, J., Schuman-Olivier, Z., & Rocha, N. S. (2021). Mindfulness Training Improves Quality of Life and Reduces Depression and Anxiety Symptoms Among Police Officers: Results From the POLICE Study-A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 624876. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.624876

 

Abstract

Background: Police officers’ high-stress levels and its deleterious consequences are raising awareness to an epidemic of mental health problems and quality of life (QoL) impairment. There is a growing evidence that mindfulness-based interventions are efficacious to promote mental health and well-being among high-stress occupations.

Methods: The POLICE study is a multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) with three assessment points (baseline, post-intervention, and 6-month follow-up) where police officers were randomized to mindfulness-based health promotion (MBHP) (n = 88) or a waiting list (n = 82). This article focuses on QoL, depression and anxiety symptoms, and religiosity outcomes. Mechanisms of change and MBHP feasibility were evaluated.

Results: Significant group × time interaction was found for QoL, depression and anxiety symptoms, and non-organizational religiosity. Between-group analysis showed that MBHP group exhibited greater improvements in QoL, and depression and anxiety symptoms at both post-intervention (QoL d = 0.69 to 1.01; depression d = 0.97; anxiety d = 0.73) and 6-month follow-up (QoL d = 0.41 to 0.74; depression d = 0.60; anxiety d = 0.51), in addition to increasing non-organizational religiosity at post-intervention (d = 0.31). Changes on self-compassion mediated the relationship between group and pre-to-post changes for all QoL domains and facets. Group effect on QoL overall health facet at post-intervention was moderated by mindfulness trait and spirituality changes.

Conclusion: MBHP is feasible and efficacious to improve QoL, and depression and anxiety symptoms among Brazilian officers. Results were maintained after 6 months. MBHP increased non-organizational religiosity, although the effect was not sustained 6 months later. To our knowledge, this is the first mindfulness-based intervention RCT to empirically demonstrate these effects among police officers. Self-compassion, mindfulness trait, and spirituality mechanisms of change are examined.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952984/