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15 Aug

Dr. Paul G. Schauble and his colleagues at the University of Florida at Gainesville randomly assigned 42 pregnant teenagers to receive either counseling or four sessions of instruction in self-hypnosis for childbirth.

Teens in the hypnosis group learned deep relaxation and imagery techniques to help them cope with pain. They also received suggestions to help them respond to possible complications and boost their confidence in their ability to manage anxiety.
15 Aug

When Dr. Rogerio Lobo, Chair of Columbia Presbyterian''s Department of OBGYN, and Dr. Kwang Y. Cha, a researcher at Cha Hospital in Seoul, studied the effect of intercessory prayer on the pregnancy rates of 219 women, aged 26-46 years old, being treated with in vitro fertilization, they found that the prayed-for group had double the pregnancy rate (50% vs. 26%, P = .0013) and double the implantation rate (16.3% vs. 8%, P = .0005).

This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, in which patients and providers were not informed about the intervention. Statisticians and investigators were masked until all the data had been collected and all the clinical outcomes were known. The setting was an IVF-ET program at Cha Hospital, Seoul, Korea. The intercessory prayer was carried out by prayer groups in the United States, Canada and Australia. The investigators were at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in the United States.

The study concludes that there was a statistically significant difference for the effect of intercessory prayer on the outcome of In Vitro Fertilization.

A nice write up of the study can be found here.

Citation: Cha KY, Wirth DP, Lobo RA. Does prayer influence the success of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer? Journal of Reproductive Medicine. 2001 Sep; 46 (9): 781-7.

15 Aug

In a small Swedish pilot study at University Hospital of Linkoping, Sweden, six menopausal women were given relaxation training to see if it had any effect on hot flashes. The women were given “applied relaxation” training in 12 weekly group sessions. The women recorded the number of hot flashes they experienced for a full month before the intervention, through 6 months after. They were rated on menopausal symptoms (Kupperman Index), psychological well-being (Symptom Checklist), and MOOD scale were measured throughout the duration of the study. The six patients showed a mean reduction in hot flashes by a dramatic 73% (59%, 61%, 62%, 67%, 89% and 100% respectively). Scores on the Kupperman and Symptom checklist followed the improvement pattern of the hot flashes, but the MOOD scale was not affected.

Citation: Wijma K, Melin A, Nedstrand E, Hammar M. Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms with Applied Relaxation: A Pilot Study. Journal of Behavioral Therapy & Experimental Psychiatry, 1997, Dec; 28 (4): pp. 251-261.
15 Aug

A randomized comparison of psychological (cognitive behavior therapy), medical (fluoxetine) and combined treatment for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

British researchers at Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas Hospital Medical Schools randomly assigned 108 women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) to one of 3 treatment conditions: either 10 sessions of cognitive behavior therapy, or a daily dose of 20 mg of fluoxetine (Prozac), or a combination of both CBT and the anti-depressant, over the course of 6 months. At the one year follow-up, measures were taken using the Calendar of Premenstrual Experiences (COPE) and significant improvement was found in all three treatment-groups after 6 months'' treatment, assessed by the COPE. Fluoxetine was associated with a more rapid improvement, but CBT was associated with better maintenance of treatment effects. In conclusion, CBT and fluoxetine are equally effective treatments for PMDD, but in different ways. In spite of these differential benefits, however, this study did not find additional benefit by combining the treatments.

Citation: Hunter MS, Ussher JM, Browne SJ, Cariss M, Jelley R, Katz M. A randomized comparison of psychological (cognitive behavior therapy), medical (fluoxetine) and combined treatment for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 2002, Sept; 23 (3): pp. 193-199.

15 Aug

The effects of imagery on attitudes and moods in multiple sclerosis patients.
15 Aug

Henry Dreher''s superb summary of research with mind-body interventions for surgery appears in the Fetzer Institute''s Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, Vol 14, no.3, Summer 1998, pp. 207-222. His discussion of Henry Bennett''s placebo controlled, double blinded research with 4 audio interventions on 335 surgery patients establishes that the Health Journeys tape for Surgery was the only tape that offered statistically significant results. The study yielded profound results on the reduction blood loss, length of hospital stay and anxiety levels, both state (the fluctuating kind) and trait anxiety (which presumably doesn''t change, because it is seen as a relatively stable personality feature). In fact, the Naparstek guided imagery tape was so potent, that Dreher devotes a whole section of this article to trying to figure out why it outperformed all the others.

Citation: Dreher H. Mind-body interventions for surgery: evidence and exigency. Advances In Mind Body Medicine 1998;14:207-222.

15 Aug

At Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, Ashton, Whitworth, et al found that patients who were taught self-hypnosis/relaxation techniques before undergoing first-time elective coronary artery bypass surgery were significantly more relaxed following the operation, as compared to a control group. They also used significantly less pain medication. Surgical outcomes were the same for both groups.

Citation: Ashton C Jr, Whitworth GC, et al. Self-hypnosis reduces anxiety following coronary artery bypass surgery. A prospective, randomized trial. J. Cardiovascular Surgery(Torino). 1997 Feb; 38(1): pp. 69-75.

15 Aug

The effects of guided imagery on comfort of women with early stage breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy.

Katherine Kolcaba, PhD, RN (U of Akron) and Christine Fox, PhD, (U of Toledo) found guided imagery to be an effective intervention for increasing comfort and reducing anxiety in 53 women with early stage breast cancer undergoing Radiation Therapy. The investigators designed and recorded imagery specifically for this study. Subjects were most likely to listen just before a treatment.

Citation: Kolcaba K, Fox C. The effects of guided imagery on comfort of women with early stage breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy. Oncol Nurs Forum. 1999 Jan-Feb; 26(1):67-72

15 Aug

Adjunctive non-pharmacological analgesic for invasive procedures: a randomized trial.
15 Aug

In the Sept/Oct, 1997 issue of The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing [Vol. 22(5), pp 237-241], Gail Smart, a clinical pediatric nurse specialist at Children''s Hospital of Denver, reports on her pilot study on the effects of guided imagery on kids during MRI procedures. She randomly assigned 20 kids, ages 4-8, to either a guided imagery group or a control group.

She wanted to see if an imagery tape could reduce the need for sedation (which can lead to respiratory distress, hyperactivity and other complications). She used a tape called "Magic Island" by Betty Mehling as the intervention, which combines breathing, progressive relaxation and a guided imagery fantasy about a ride in a hot air balloon to a series of magical islands.

15 Aug

Preoperative rehearsal of active coping imagery influences subjective and hormonal responses to abdominal surgery.

A 1995 study reported in Psychosomatic Medicine shows that of 51 patients undergoing abdominal surgery, those who were taught guided imagery before surgery had less postoperative pain than those who did not. They were also less distressed by the surgery, felt as if they had coped with it better and requested less pain medication than patients who did learn imagery skills.

Citation: Manyande A, Berg S, Gettins D, Stanford SC, Mazhero S, Marks DF, Salmon P. Preoperative rehearsal of active coping imagery influences subjective and hormonal responses to abdominal surgery. Psychosomatic Medicine. 1995: 57: 177-182.

15 Aug

In a randomized clinical trial at The Ruttenberg Cancer Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, to determine if brief presurgical hypnosis on breast biopsy patients helps with postsurgery pain and distress, 20 biopsy patients were randomly assigned to a hypnosis or control group (standard care). The study found that the brief hypnosis did reduce postsurgery pain and Distress and suggested that presurgery expectations influenced and mediated this outcome.

Citation: Montgomery GH, Weltz CR, Seltz M, Bovbjer DH. Brief presurgery hypnosis reduces distress and pain in excisional breast biopsy patients. International Journal of Clinicial and Experimental Hypnosis. 2002 Jan;50(1): pp.17-32.