Meditation and cardiovascular risk

Jamerson, K., et al. (2017). Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk. Journal of the American Heart Association. Vol. 6, no. 10, 

From the Abstract. Despite numerous advances in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Novel and inexpensive interventions that can contribute to the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease are of interest. Numerous studies have reported on the benefits of meditation. …

Neurophysiological and neuroanatomical studies demonstrate that meditation can have long‐standing effects on the brain, which provide some biological plausibility for beneficial consequences on the physiological basal state and on cardiovascular risk. Studies of the effects of meditation on cardiovascular risk have included those investigating physiological response to stress, smoking cessation, blood pressure reduction, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, endothelial function, inducible myocardial ischemia, and primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. …

Overall, studies of meditation suggest a possible benefit on cardiovascular risk, although the overall quality and, in some cases, quantity of study data are modest. Given the low costs and low risks of this intervention, meditation may be considered as an adjunct to guideline‐directed cardiovascular risk reduction by those interested in this lifestyle modification, with the understanding that the benefits of such intervention remain to be better established.

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Integrity in mindfulness-based research

Crane, R.S. & Hecht, F.M. “Intervention Integrity in Mindfulness-Based Research.” Mindfulness (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0886-3. Full Text.

From the Abstract. Assessing program or intervention fidelity/integrity is an important methodological consideration in clinical and educational research. These critical variables influence the degree to which outcomes can be attributed to the program and the success of the transition from research to practice and back again.

Research in the Mindfulness-Based Program (MBP) field has been expanding rapidly over the last 20 years, but little attention has been given to how to assess intervention integrity within research and practice settings. The proliferation of different program forms, inconsistency in adhering to published curriculum guides, and variability of training levels and competency of trial teachers all pose grave risks to the sustainable development of the science of MBPs going forward.

Mindfulness-based psycho-education for people with schizophrenia

Chien, W., Bressington, D., Yip, A., & Karatzias, T. (2017). An international multi-site, randomized controlled trial of a mindfulness-based psychoeducation group programme for people with schizophrenia. Psychological Medicine, 47(12), 2081-2096. doi:10.1017/S0033291717000526. Full access. 

From the Abstract. Compared with treatment as usual (TAU) and conventional psychoeducation group (CPEG0), mindfulness-based psychoeducation group (MBPEG) improves remission and hospitalization rates of people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders over 24 months.

 

Employees’ mental health and MBSR (review)

Janssen, M., et al. (2018). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review. PloS one13(1), e0191332. Full text.

From the Abstract. The purpose of this exploratory study was to obtain greater insight into the effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on the mental health of employees.

Based on our analysis, the strongest outcomes were reduced levels of emotional exhaustion (a dimension of burnout), stress, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and occupational stress. Improvements were found in terms of mindfulness, personal accomplishment (a dimension of burnout), (occupational) self-compassion, quality of sleep, and relaxation.

Mindfulness and ADHD

Hoxhaj, E., et al., (2018). Mindfulness vs psychoeducation in adult ADHD: a randomized controlled trial. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-018-0868-4. Summary and References

From the Abstract:

BACKGROUND. Mindfulness training is a promising treatment approach in adult ADHD. However, there has not yet been a randomized controlled trial comparing mindfulness to an active control condition. In this study, we assessed the efficacy of a mindfulness training program (MAP) compared to structured psychoeducation (PE).

CONCLUSIONS. In the current study, MAP was not superior to PE regarding symptom reduction in adult ADHD. Both interventions, mindfulness meditation and PE, were efficacious in reducing symptom load in adult ADHD. Furthermore in exploratory post hoc tests the study provides evidence for a potential gender-specific treatment response in adult ADHD.

Online mindfulness-based intervention: feasibility and effectiveness

Cavanagh, K., et al. “A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Brief Online Mindfulness-Based Intervention in a Non-clinical Population: Replication and Extension.” Mindfulness, 2018, online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0856-1. Full text

From the Abstract. Building on previous research, this study compared the effects of two brief, online mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs; with and without formal meditation practice) and a no intervention control group in a non-clinical sample.

One hundred and fifty-five university staff and students were randomly allocated to a 2-week, self-guided, online MBI with or without mindfulness meditation practice, or a wait list control. Measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, perseverative thinking and anxiety/depression symptoms within were administered before and after the intervention period. Intention to treat analysis identified significant differences between groups on change over time for all measured outcomes.

… Change in perseverative thinking was found to mediate the relationship between condition and improvement on perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptom outcomes. Contrary to our hypotheses, no differences between the intervention conditions were found. Limitations of the study included reliance on self-report data, a relatively high attrition rate and absence of a longer-term follow-up.

This study provides evidence in support of the feasibility and effectiveness of brief, self-guided MBIs in a non-clinical population and suggests that reduced perseverative thinking may be a mechanism of change. Our findings provide preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of a mindfulness psychoeducation condition, without an invitation to formal mindfulness meditation practice. Further research is needed to confirm and better understand these results and to test the potential of such interventions.

A self-awareness approach to weight management

Brown, Michelle. (2018). “Mindfulness Meditation: A Self-Awareness Approach to Weight Management.” Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Nursing, Walden University.  Full text.

From the Abstract. Obesity is a crucial health care issue that has a global effect on the health care industry. Not only does obesity decrease the patients’ quality of life, it also places an astronomical burden on health care delivery systems. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to establish a weight management program derived from evidence-based research. 

The research question: can the utilization of mindfulness meditations and practices with traditional weight loss methodologies produce sustainable weight loss?

This project developed a turnkey solution to a community health problem consisting of the following strategies: executing mindfulness meditations and practices as part of their
daily rituals, reading food labels and making healthier food selections, exercising 30 to 40 minutes a day, and documenting their progression or obstacles in a journal.

Since the project consisted of only 20 participants, it is recommended that a larger population and region be utilized for future studies. This project has the potential for societal change by improving the quality of life of and productivity of patients struggling with obesity by decreasing their chances of developing chronic illnesses which can become debilitating.