Researchers from the University of Siena in Italy and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital/Harvard Medical School studied the neuro-anatomical and psychological impact of an 8-week mindfulness based stress reduction program (MBSR) on 23 subjects who were new to meditation.
The investigators analyzed several morphometric indexes at both cortical and subcortical brain levels, as well as multiple psychological dimensions, before and after the 8-week training, comparing the meditators to age-gender matched subjects.
Researchers from the Allina Health System in Minneapolis, MN and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health conducted a large, retrospective study to determine the use and effectiveness of integrative medicine therapies on pain and anxiety in cancer patients.
Data obtained from electronic medical records identified patients with an oncology diagnosis who were admitted to Allina, a large Midwestern hospital, between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012.
Outcomes examined were change in patient-reported pain and anxiety, rated before and after individual IM treatment sessions, using a numeric scale (0–10).
Researchers from the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Learning at the Swedish Institute for Disability Research at Linköping University in Sweden, performed a follow-up study to evaluate the outcome of an 8-week, internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) program for major depression, completed 3.5 years previous. Prior to this study, the longest length of post-treatment time for follow-up was 1.5 years.
A total of 88 people with major depression were randomized to either guided self-help or e-mail therapy in the original trial. One-third was initially on a waiting-list.
Treatment was provided for eight weeks and in this report long-term follow-up data were collected. Also included were data from post-treatment and six-month follow-up.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.