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14 Aug

Preparing patients for cancer chemotherapy: effect of coping preparation and relaxation interventions.

Burish, Snyder and Jenkins, the highly regarded Vanderbilt University team known for its many studies of imagery and chemotherapy, assessed the effectiveness of biofeedback and relaxation training in reducing the aversive side effects of cancer chemotherapy on 81 patients.  

14 Aug

The team of Cunningham, Phillips, Lockwood, Hedley and Edmonds, from the Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital, report in a recent issue of Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, that when patients dedicatedly employ a variety of psychological self-regulating strategies, (relaxation, guided imagery, cognitive restructuring and meditation), there is a life-prolonging effect.

In this prospective, longitudinal, correlative study, 22 patients with varying kinds of medically incurable, metastatic cancer were followed for one year, as they engaged in weekly group psychological therapy.

14 Aug

Ninety-six women with newly diagnosed, large or locally advanced breast cancer were randomly assigned to either standard care, or standard care plus relaxation training and guided imagery (imagining host defences destroying tumor cells) at the University of Aberdeen Behavioural Oncology Unit in the UK. They were tested for mood and quality of life before each of the six cycles of chemotherapy and 3 weeks after cycle six. Clinical response to the chemo was also assessed. As hypothesized, the relaxation/imagery patients were more relaxed, had better quality of life, and less emotional suppression. There was no difference in clinical outcomes or pathological response to the chemotherapy. The study concludes that these simple, easy-to-implement and inexpensive interventions should be offered to patients wishing to improve their quality of life during the rigors of chemotherapy.

Citation: Walker, Walker, Ogston, Heys, Ah-See, Miller, Hutcheon, Sarkar and Eremin. The British Journal of Cancer 1999 April;80(1-2): pp 262-268.
14 Aug

Nonpharmacologic group treatment of insomnia: a preliminary study with cancer survivors.
14 Aug

Mitch Golant PhD, Research Director of The National Wellness Community, in collaboration with Stanford University and UCSF, has been spearheading an important new study with David Spiegel MD, the Irv Yalom-trained psychiatry guy who’s done so many groundbreaking studies on psychosocial support for oncology patients.

"The Effectiveness of Internet vs. Face-to-Face Support Groups for Women With Breast Cancer" is an ongoing, randomized study comparing their face-to-face support groups and electronic support groups with their "usual care" educational programs.

14 Aug

A review of the impact of hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery and individual differences on aspects of immunity and health.

A group of London researchers at Marie Curie Cancer Care conducted randomized, controlled, clinical trials to compare the effects of massage alone to massage with essential oils (aromatherapy) on cancer patients in palliative care. The study randomly assigned 103 patients, to either receive massage using a carrier oil (massage) or massage using a carrier oil plus the Roman chamomile essential oil (aromatherapy massage). Outcome measurements included the Rotterdam Symptom Checklist (RSCL), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and a semi-structured questionnaire, administered 2 weeks postmassage, to explore patients'' perceptions of massage. The study found all massage to be helpful. There was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety after each massage on the STAI (P < 0.001), and improved scores on the RSCL: psychological (P < 0.001), quality of life (P < 0.01), severe physical (P < 0.05), and severe psychological (P < 0.05) subscales for the combined aromatherapy and massage group. The aromatherapy group''s scores improved on all RSCL subscales at the 1% level of significance or better, except for severely restricted activities. The massage group''s scores improved on four RSCL subscales but these improvements did not reach statistical significance. The study concludes that massage, with or without essential oils, appears to reduce levels of anxiety. The addition of Roman chamomile oil seems to enhance the effect of massage and to improve physical and psychological symptoms, as well as overall quality of life.

Citation: Gruzelier JH. A review of the impact of hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery and individual differences on aspects of immunity and health. Stress 2002 Jun;5(2):147-63.

14 Aug

Researchers from B. J. Medical College in Ahmedabad, India, studied numeric measures of respiratory function, cardiovascular parameters and lipid profiles of those practicing Raja Yoga meditation. The profiles of short and longterm meditators were compared with those of non-meditators.

The study found that vital capacity, tidal volume and breath holding were significantly higher in short and longterm meditators than in non-meditators. Longterm mediators had significantly higher vital capacity and expiratory pressure than short term meditators.
14 Aug

Long-term meditating subjects as well as energy healers who work in the altered state have long reported that the mind state that initially produced spotty transcendental experiences at isolated moments during their beginning practice, evolved to subjectively co-exist in a steady, everyday way with normal waking and sleeping states. Researchers at the Maharishi University in Fairfield, IA investigated the neurophysiological correlates of this integrated state by recording EEG in experienced meditators who reported this integration to subjectively be the case. Investigators recorded EEG in these subjects and in two comparison groups (17 in each condition) during simple tasks and tasks requiring close attention (called contingent negative variation or CNV tasks).

14 Aug

In a small exploratory study by Carol Ginandes, PhD and Daniel Rosenthal, MD at Mass. General''s Dept. of Bone and Joint Disease in Boston, 12 adults with bone fractures were followed for 12 weeks, to see if hypnosis accelerated their healing. Radiographic results showed dramatically improved healing at 6 weeks in the hypnosis patients. In addition, orthopedic assessments of mobility, strength and need for analgesics showed greater improvement in the hypnosis patients at weeks 1, 3 and 9. The hypnotic intervention included audiotaped suggestions to reduce swelling, stimulate tissue growth, and fusion at the injury site, and counteract pain and stress; and imagery rehearsals of greater mobility, enhanced bone strength and recovery of normal activities.

Citation: Ginandes CS, Rosenthal Dl. Using hypnosis to accelerate the healing of bone fractures: a randomized controlled pilot study. Alter Ther Health Med. 1999 Mar; 5(2):67-75

14 Aug

Gordon, Merenstein, D’Amico and Hudgens studied the effects of therapeutic touch on 25 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee in this single-blinded randomized control trial. Patients got either therapeutic touch, mock therapeutic touch or standard care. The TT treatment group had significantly decreased pain and improved function when compared with the placebo and control groups. (Journal of Family Practice, 1998; 47:pp.271-277.)

Citation: Gordon A, Merenstein JH, D'Amico F, Hudgens D. The effects of therapeutic touch on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Journal of Family Practice 1998 Oct; 47(4):271-7.
14 Aug

A research team led by Vaughn Sinclair from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing & Vanderbilt Medical Center evaluated the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral nursing intervention for women with rheumatoid arthritis. Ninety adult women with RA participated in 1 of 14 nurse-led groups over an 18-month period. Personal coping resources, pain-coping behaviors, psychological well-being, and disease symptomatology were measured at four time periods. There were significant changes on all of the measures of personal coping resources (p < .001) and psychological well-being (p < .05), half of the pain-coping behaviors (p < .05), and one indicator of disease symptomatology (fatigue, p < .05) from pre- to post intervention. And the positive changes brought about by the program were maintained over the 3-month follow-up period. The study suggests that this kind of intervention could be adapted to benefit individuals with a variety of stressful medical conditions.

Citation: Sinclair VG, Wallston KA, Dwyer KA, Blackburn DS, Fuchs H. Effects of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for women with rheumatoid arthritis. Research in Nursing & Health 1998 Aug; 21 (4): 315-26.

14 Aug

A randomized, controlled British study examined the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for patients with recent onset (less than 2 years), seropositive rheumatoid arthritis. Fifty-three participants with a diagnosis of classical or definite rheumatoid arthritis received routine medical management during the study, but half were randomly allocated to the CBT intervention. All pre- and post-treatment assessments were conducted blind to the allocation. Significant differences were found between the groups at both post-treatment and 6-month follow-up in depressive symptoms. While the CBT group showed a reduction in depressive symptoms, the same symptoms increased in the Standard group. Immediately after treatment (but not at follow-up), the CBT group also showed reduction in C-reactive protein levels. However, the CBT group did show significant improvement in joint involvement at 6-month follow-up, as compared with the Standard group, showing physical improvements above those achieved with standard care. These results indicate that cognitive-behavioral intervention offered as an adjunct to standard clinical management early in the course of RA is efficacious in producing reductions in both psychological and physical morbidity.

Citation: Sharpe L, Sensky T, Timberlake N, Ryan B, Brewin CR, Allard S. A blind, randomized, controlled trial of cognitive-behavioural intervention for patients with recent onset rheumatoid arthritis: preventing psychological and physical morbidity. Pain 2001 Jan;89(2-3):275-83.