Mindfulness and binge eating disorder

Randomized controlled trial of a 12-month computerized mindfulness-based intervention for obese patients with binge eating disorder: The MindOb study protocol. Full text. 


Mindfulness-based interventions for healthy behaviors such as exercise and dietary modifications have aroused growing interest. This study aims to test the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for the reduction of impulsive eating and the improvement of motivation to exercise among obese individuals.


One-hundred and twenty obese outpatients, aged 18 to 65 years, diagnosed with a binge eating disorder, will be randomly assigned to one of the three following groups: mindfulness practice, sham meditation, or treatment as usual control. The tested intervention consists of a 1-year computerized mindfulness-based program. Mindfulness sessions are audio recordings that the patients are asked to listen to, 10 min every day. Self-reported questionnaires measuring impulsive eating, motivation to exercise, physical activity level, mood, and mindfulness skills are filled in at baseline, 1, 6, and 12 months. Physical activity, calories consumption, and biomarkers are measured with more objective measurement tools at baseline, 6 months and 12 months.


Mindfulness, as both a de-automation element and as a moderator of motivation to exercise, can lead to the reduction of impulsive eating and also to an increase in levels of physical activity. These effects could cause weight loss in obese patients suffering from binge eating disorder.

Reduction of depressive symptoms

Fissler, M., et al. (2016). An Investigation of the Effects of Brief Mindfulness Training on Self-Reported Interoceptive* Awareness, the Ability to Decenter, and Their Role in the Reduction of Depressive Symptoms. Mindfulness, 1-12.

Abstract. Mindfulness-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of depression are predicated on the idea that interoceptive awareness represents a crucial foundation for the cultivation of adaptive ways of responding to negative thoughts and mood states such as the ability to decenter.

The current study used a multi-dimensional self-report assessment of interoceptive awareness, including regulatory and belief-related aspects of the construct, in order to characterize deficits in interoceptive awareness in depression, investigate whether brief mindfulness training could reduce these deficits, and to test whether the training unfolds its beneficial effects through the above-described pathway.

Currently depressed patients (n = 67) were compared to healthy controls (n = 25) and then randomly allocated to receive either a brief training in mindfulness (per-protocol sample of n = 32) or an active control training (per-protocol sample of n = 28). Patients showed significant deficits across a range of regulatory and belief-related aspects of interoceptive awareness, mindfulness training significantly increased regulatory and belief-related aspects of interoceptive awareness, and reductions in depressive symptoms were mediated through a serial pathway in which training-related increases in aspects of interoceptive awareness were positively associated with the ability to decenter, which in turn was associated with reduced symptoms of depression. These results support the role of interoceptive awareness in facilitating adaptive responses to negative mood.

* interoceptive: relating to stimuli produced within an organism, especially in the gut and other internal organs. 

Neurobehavioral effects in patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Pickut, B., et al. (2015). Mindfulness Training among Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease: Neurobehavioral Effects. Parkinson’s Disease, in press. To find full text, go to hindawi.com and search for Article ID 816404.

From the Abstract. Objective. To investigate possible neurobehavioral changes secondary to a mindfulness based intervention (MBI) training for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Background. In the context of complementary medicine, MBIs are increasingly being used for stress reduction and in patient populations coping with chronic illness. The use of alternative and complementary medicine may be higher in patients with chronic conditions such as PD. However, behavioral effects of mindfulness training in PD have not yet been reported in the literature and this points to an unmet need and warrants further examination.

Methods. A total of 27 out of 30 PD patients completed a randomized controlled longitudinal trial. Results. Significant changes after the MBI were found …. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first quantitative analysis of neurobehavioral effects of MBI in PD.

Less self-critical and more self-compassionate with loving-kindness meditation

Shahar, B., et al. (2014). A Wait‐List Randomized Controlled Trial of Loving‐Kindness Meditation Programme for Self‐Criticism. Clinical psychology & psychotherapy. Published online before inclusion in an issue. Full text.

Abstract. Self-criticism is a vulnerability risk factor for a number of psychological disorders, and it predicts poor response to psychological and pharmacological treatments. In the current study, we evaluated the efficacy of a loving-kindness meditation programme designed to increase self-compassion in a sample of self-critical individuals.

Summary. Self-criticism plays a major role in many psychological disorders and predicts poor response to brief psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression. The current study shows that loving-kindness meditation, designed to foster self-compassion, is efficacious in helping self-critical individuals become less self-critical and more self-compassionate. The study also suggests that practising loving-kindness may reduce depressive symptoms and increase positive emotions.

Loving-kindness meditation and schizophrenia

Johnson, D. P., et al. (2011). A pilot study of loving-kindness meditation for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia research, 129(2), 137-140. To access full text, search for article in GoogleScholar, then click on researchgate.net.

Abstract. This pilot study examined loving-kindness meditation with 18 participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and significant negative symptoms. Findings indicate that the intervention was feasible and associated with decreased negative symptoms and increased positive emotions and psychological recovery.

Mindfulness, sleep quality, and vitality positively associated

Visser, P. L., Hirsch, J. K., Brown, K. W., Ryan, R., & Moynihan, J. A. (2014). Components of Sleep Quality as Mediators of the Relation Between Mindfulness and Subjective Vitality Among Older Adults. Mindfulness, 1-9. Abstract.

We examined the potential contribution of sleep quality to the relation between mindfulness and subjective vitality, a marker of physical and psychological energy. Seven components of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index were investigated as potential mediators of the association between dispositional mindfulness and subjective vitality in our sample of 219 older adults.

Mindfulness, sleep quality, and subjective vitality were significantly and positively associated with each other. Sleep quality partially mediated the relation between mindfulness and subjective vitality, with two components responsible for this effect: habitual sleep efficiency and sleep-related problems experienced during the daytime.

Implications of the association between mindfulness and subjective vitality in older adults via sleep quality are addressed, including the potential for interventions to improve sleep quality and well-being among older adults by inclusion of mindfulness training.

Kirtan Kriya meditation leads to positive changes in patients with memory loss

Moss, A. S., et al. (2012). Effects of an 8-week meditation program on mood and anxiety in patients with memory loss. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18(1), 48-53. Full text.

This study assesses changes in mood and anxiety in a cohort of subjects with memory loss who participated in an 8-week Kirtan Kriya meditation program. … The purpose of this analysis was to assess outcome measures of mood and affect, and also spirituality, and to determine whether or not results correlated with changes in cognitive function and cerebral blood flow (CBF).

Fifteen subjects with memory problems were enrolled in an 8-week meditation program. Before and after the 8-week meditation, subjects were given a battery of neuropsychologic tests (SPECT) as well as measures of mood, anxiety, and spirituality. In addition, they underwent single photon emission computed tomography scans before and after the program. …

Conclusions: An 8-week, 12 minute a day meditation program in patients with memory loss was associated with positive changes in mood, anxiety, and other neuropsychologic parameters, and these changes correlated with changes in CBF. A larger-scale study is needed to confirm these findings and better elucidate mechanisms of change.