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30 Oct

[Ed. Note: The findings from this study contradict a lot of other studies that conclude otherwise, but we thought we should post it just the same, to be "fair and balanced". It's not clear why this study showed such disappointing results – could be low numbers or the quality of the interventions – hard to say.]

Researchers from National University School of Health and Human Services in Henderson, Nevada, developed a biofeedback-assisted relaxation training program to help nursing students who experience such debilitating test anxiety that they are unable to demonstrate their knowledge and therefore underperform academically.

Anxiety was measured using Spielberger's Test Anxiety Inventory and also by monitoring peripheral skin temperature, pulse, and respiration rates during the training. Participants were introduced to diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and autogenic training.

23 Oct

Researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing evaluated a program of early, home based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program to remediate depression in patients recovering from cardiac surgery.

They conducted a randomized controlled trial and enrolled 808 patients who were screened for depressive symptoms, using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) in the hospital and 1 month later. Patients were also interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV; those who met criteria for clinical depression (n = 81) were randomized to CBT (n = 45) or usual care (UC; n = 36). After completion of the UC period, 25 individuals were offered later CBT (UC + CBT).

The outcomes were evaluated after 8 weeks. Compared with the Usual Care group, the CBT group had greater decline in depression scores and greater remission of clinical depression.

16 Oct

Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's school of public health investigated the impact of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) on the mental health of caregivers looking after chronically ill family members.

Caregivers of persons with chronic conditions who scored 7 or above in the Caregiver Strain Index were randomly assigned to an 8-week MBSR group (n = 70) or a self-help control group (n = 71).

Validated instruments were used to assess the changes in symptoms of depression and anxiety, quality of life, self-efficacy, self-compassion and mindfulness. Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-intervention and at the 3-month follow-up.

09 Oct

Researchers from the Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, Beth Israel Medical Center, evaluated the impact of guided imagery on patients undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer.

Eligible patients receiving guided imagery sessions were monitored via biofeedback before and after each session.  Monitored measures included blood pressure, respiration rate, pulse rate, and skin temperature.

In addition, a quality of life questionnaire (the EuroQoL Group's EQ-5D) was used for subjective assessment, and patient feedback was collected at the end of radiation therapy through a satisfaction survey.

02 Oct

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School as well as Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany and Maastricht University in the Netherlands, conducted a meta-analysis of studies investigating the potential effects of meditation on age-related cognitive decline.

Studies have already established that meditation can have positive effects on cognition in younger and middle-aged adults. This review explored whether it might do the same for older adults and perhaps even delay or reduce cognitive decline.

Analysts searched the Web of Science (1900 to present), PsycINFO (1957 to present), MEDLINE (1950 to present), and CABI (1910 to present) to identify original studies investigating the effects of meditation on cognition and cognitive decline in the context of aging.

25 Sep

Researchers from the Technion in Haifa, Israel conducted a pilot study to assess the efficacy of relaxation and guided imagery in reducing motor fluctuation in patients with Parkinsons Disease.
 
PD patients underwent (i) a relaxation session with relaxation guided imagery, and (ii) a control session of relaxing music. Twenty one PD patients participated and 19 completed this study.

Three-day diaries were completed at baseline and after each intervention. Subsequently, patients received CDs for home listening - a relaxation guided imagery disc and a relaxing music disc. After three months the patients were interviewed by phone.

18 Sep

Researchers from India’s Samanvaya Trust and MS University in Baroda investigated the efficacy of hypnotherapy for couples seeking fertility solutions.

Over a period of 28 years, 554 couples with what is referred to there as “unexplained reproductive failure” were studied.  

Hypnotherapy was added to the standard protocol for fertility.  Initially the hypnosis was targeted at general stress relief, but it evolved into including more specific, identified stressors such as the stress associated with infertility (100%) and other stressors of marital life.

The success rate of pregnancy with hypnosis was 71.67%.
 
Although this was not a double blind study, 349 of the 554 couples had been unsuccessfully treated elsewhere before entering the study.  These couples had the same success rate of 70%.
 
The researchers interpret this unprecedented, high success rate as evidence that “unexplained reproductive failure” is psycho-dynamically triggered and reversible with psychotherapeutic hypnosis. They conclude that when psychosomatic stress is alleviated with hypnotherapy, there are remarkable results.

 [Ed. Note: this appears to be a hasty logical leap. It is not clear from this study exactly what the mechanism of success from hypnosis is operating here.]
 
Citation:  Vyas R1, Adwanikar G1, Hathi L1, Vyas B2. Psychotherapeutic intervention with hypnosis in 554 couples with reproductive failure. Journal of the Indian Medical Association. 2013 Mar;111 (3):pages 167-9, 173.

11 Sep

This study may be an indirect chide to the research community for continuing to lean toward studies on the effectiveness of exposure therapy and CBT for PTS when EMDR (eye movement desensitization & reprocessing) may perform even better.
 
In a review and meta-analysis out of Sao Paolo, Brazil, investigators compared cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to cognitive therapy (CT) and exposure therapy (ET) for the treatment of posttraumatic stress (PTSD).

Studies were gathered from the Cochrane, Embase and Medline databases. Studies were required to be randomized controlled trials (RCT’s), published between 2006 and 2012, comparing CBT, CT, or ET with (1) each other, (2) other active treatments (e.g., EMDR, counseling, supportive therapy), or (3) assessment-only or wait list conditions. The main outcome measures were diagnostic changes and symptomatic remission.

The final sample contained 29 articles.  CBT, CT, and ET were each shown to be efficacious treatments when compared to wait list/no treatment conditions, and no differences were found between these methods.

04 Sep

Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago surveyed the research literature to see if mindfulness meditation was a useful, effective primary intervention for binge eating, emotional eating and weight loss.

There had been no systematic review that examined interventions mindfulness meditation as the primary intervention, and no review on the effect of mindfulness on subclinical disordered eating or weight problems.
 
The investigators used the PRISMA method for systematic reviews, finding 14 studies to include that investigated mindfulness meditation as the primary intervention and assessed binge eating, emotional eating, and/or weight change.
 
Results suggest that mindfulness meditation effectively decreases binge eating and emotional eating in populations engaging in this behavior.  However, evidence for its effect on weight change is mixed.

28 Aug

In this randomized clinical trial, researchers from the National Center for PTSD at the Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Healthcare System in Honolulu, HI, examined outcomes from cognitive processing therapy delivered via video teleconferencing (VTC) as compared to in-person delivery, in a rural, ethnically diverse sample of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Participants received 12 sessions of CPT-C via VTC (n = 61) or in-person (n = 64). Assessments were administered at baseline, mid-treatment, immediately post-treatment, and at 3 and 6 months post-treatment. The primary clinical outcome was post-treatment PTSD severity, as measured by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale or CAPS.