In a well-controlled study that followed patients for several months after the class, while both headache education and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction improved the number and severity of migraines, only MBSR decreased disability and improved quality of life, depression scores, self-efficacy and pain catastrophizing, all measures of emotional well-being.
Neuropathic pain occurs in 20-50% of women who have been treated for breast cancer. Because narcotics are often ineffective for this pain and can cause significant side effects, effective non-pharmacologic options are being sought. Canadian researchers showed significant improvement in pain severity and interference in the lives of women who participated in MBSR. While needing follow-up with larger studies, this study is the first to show changes in the brain associated with symptom improvement in this population.
Anxiety with a diagnosis of cancer can further decrease quality of life and impede adherence to therapy. Medication, while sometimes needed, can have its own side effects. A review of 28 randomized trials (including one involving Dr. Beck-Coon) with 3053 patients in JAMA points to reduction in depression and anxiety in this population.
Study reveals evidence that improved settled state of mind and body, no matter whether a "positive" or "negative" experience, is more likely to be present with previous MBSR participants.
A USC pilot with 18-26 yo PTSD sufferers with current substance use has encouraging results showing that just eight weeks of mindfulness training led to drops in stress and cravings improving chances of staying clean even six months later. A further 2-year, randomized controlled trial is planned.
Researchers looking at data from 7 studies of people with chronic pain (total 545) randomly chosen either to receive MBSR training or to join a control group receiving standard care, which often includes prescription painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, and 13 similarly randomized studies with a total of 1,095 pain patients, utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), found that these two approaches decreased pain to approximately the same extent. There is also one well constructed, randomized, head-to-head study of MBSR and CBT which has similar findings. While more studies are needed, the fact there there is likelihood that MBSR, a group intervention at much less cost than CBT, has a similar effect to CBT for the chronic pain the effects one in five US adults is encouraging.
Symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep disturbances are relatively common conditions that effect well-being in those with Multiple Sclerosis. These quality of life symptoms may be helped with mindfulness.
Research at Mayo clinic points to increased mindfulness as especially helpful for menopausal women struggling with irritability, anxiety and depression.
While this and another study with mindfulness training and police officers require affirmation in larger studies, the possibilities for reducing stress in this profession of high stress is significant.
We have a lot to learn about the benefits (or lack of benefits) associated with mindfulness meditation. This article in Prevention magazine points to what we know so far.
There are documented benefits of mindfulness for people of all ages but this article points out areas that may be specifically interesting effects of mindfulness meditation practice for older adults in: memory, cognitive decline, chronic pain, loneliness, digestion, and stress. With all the baby-boomers coming of age, meditation is no longer at the edge; it is part of cutting-edge, integrative care.
In this 2018 randomized controlled study of 394 business school students, research from the UBC Sauder School of Business suggests that the inevitable challenges, differences in opinion, and conflict that arise when working in a team can be reduced, or even avoided, through team mindfulness.
After 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation training, 231 adults from 16 clinics had less that half the rate of major depression not only at the end of the intervention but at 1 year over those receiving usual care.
Mindfulness Meditation Now Endorsed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology for Care in Breast Cancer
The largest group of oncologists and oncology researchers in the US have now endorsed several integrative therapies in the treatment of those living with a diagnosis of breast cancer. The modality with the strongest research backing and recommendation in this group of therapies? Meditation!
This clear and well-written article about studies from the Max Planck Institute (linked in article) confirms what many studies have found: changes in three different brain regions are linked to meditation and correspond to improved well-being and reduction in depression and anxiety. Results have relevance for schools, businesses, and of course, all of us.
Increasing usage of narcotics for chronic pain is clearly becoming problematic (and has not been shown to be that effective for chronic pain as opposed to acute pain). In this NYT article on on a rigorously controlled study of 342 people with chronic back pain, MBSR mindfulness training was shown to be as efficaciously as classic CBT. Both groups sustained similar persistence of results at one year. Mindfulness training was less expensive than CBT.
It is not unusual to have an underlying low grade distress with a chronic tendency to worry. In this article from Psychology Today, new research points to the fact that people with this quality can be happier about themselves and their lives when a trait of mindfulness is cultivated.
In this Time Magazine Health Issue, new research has strengthened previous studies showing that women who are obese with increased blood sugars see reduced levels when practicing mindfulness as taught in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This benefit of lower blood sugars persist even after the MBSR class.
A study of MBSR in 100 patients living with ALS may help improve anxiety and depression according to results of a study published recently in the European Journal of Neurology.
An 8-week mindfulness intervention based in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) reports that this was equivalent in effect to usual "talk therapy" care such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
If you are interested in brain changes that show up in mindfulness practice, you may be interested in these photos and explanations in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry showing changes that correlate with improved emotional processing, executive control, increase in gray matter and emotional processing.
New studies are confirming cognitive and emotional self-regulation benefits for children and their parents.
Dr. Saki Santorelli, executive director of The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the UMass Medical School. discusses the pros and cons of secular mindfulness meditation practice in public schools. Might it be of benefit? `
While more studies are certainly needed, this groundbreaking work from University of Michigan researchers supports what has been seen before: that mindfulness training enhances the ability to function with less distress from intrusive thoughts associated with PTSD. It is the first study to show how the veterans' brains changed in ways that may explain why mindfulness is supportive of healing in PTSD.
In a study published in the March 22/29, 2016, issue of JAMA, 342 people ages 50 to 70 who’d had back pain for an average of more than seven years were randomly assigned to practice mindfulness-based stress reduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, or receive conventional treatment. At the end of 26 weeks, significantly higher percentages of those who had mindfulness training or cognitive behavioral therapy reported improvements in function and pain relief compared with those who had conventional therapy; however, only the mindfulness group had sustained the improvements when surveyed 26 weeks after the program ended.
Check it out!
Occasional articles on the possible benefits of mindfulness practice