Self-management of Stage 2 Parkinson’s disease

Vandenberg, Brooke, E., et al. Mindfulness-based lifestyle programs for the self-management of Parkinson’s disease in Australia, Health Promotion International

Abstract. Despite emerging evidence suggesting positive outcomes of mindfulness training for the self-management of other neuro-degenerative diseases, limited research has explored its effect on the self-management of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

We aimed to characterize the experiences of individuals participating in a facilitated, group mindfulness-based lifestyle program for community living adults with Stage 2 PD and explore how the program influenced beliefs about self-management of their disease.

Our longitudinal qualitative study was embedded within a randomized controlled trial exploring the impact of a 6-week mindfulness-based lifestyle program on patient-reported function. The study was set in Melbourne, Australia in 2012–2013. We conducted semi-structured interviews with participants before, immediately after, and 6 months following participation in the program. Sixteen participants were interviewed prior to commencing the program. Of these, 12 were interviewed shortly after its conclusion, and 9 interviewed at 6 months.

Prior to the program, participants felt a lack of control over their illness. A desire for control and a need for alternative tools for managing the progression of PD motivated many to engage with the program. Following the program, where participants experienced an increase in mindfulness, many became more accepting of disease progression and reported improved social relationships and self-confidence in managing their disease.

Mindfulness-based lifestyle programs have the potential for increasing both participants’ sense of control over their reactions to disease symptoms as well as social connectedness. Community-based mindfulness training may provide participants with tools for self-managing a number of the consequences of Stage 2 PD.

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 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.

Increases grey matter density in Parkinson’s patients

Pickut, B. A., et al. (2013). Mindfulness Based Intervention in Parkinson’s disease leads to structural brain changes on MRI. A randomized controlled longitudinal trial. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. Epub ahead of print.

From the Abstract: Fourteen patients participated in a structured eight-week program of Mindfulness-based Intervention (MBI). Thirteen patients received usual care alone. MRI data sets of the brain were obtained at baseline and after eight weeks follow-up.

To the best of our knowledge this is the first quantitative analysis of neurobiological effects of MBI in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Increased grey matter density was found in the MBI group in the neural networks that have been postulated to play an important role in PD. These areas have also been implicated in the functional networks mediating the benefits of meditation.