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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.

21 Aug

Researchers from the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness and the Student Health Center at the University of Missouri, investigated whether iRest Yoga Nidra (http://www.irest.us/), a form of therapeutic guided meditation, was effective in reducing perceived stress, worry and depression in college students.
 
Sixty-six students age 18-56 completed an 8-week iRest yoga-nidra intervention that was offered for 8 semesters. Assessment occurred 1 week prior to intervention onset and during the class period following the intervention. Qualitative data were collected at Weeks 4 and 8.

Statistically significant pre- to posttest improvements in perceived stress, worry, and depression were found. Pre-existing depression accounted for most of the change in worry and perceived stress scores. Pre- to post test improvements in mindfulness-based skills were also detected.

The investigators conclude that iRest yoga-nidra practice may reduce symptoms of perceived stress, worry, and depression and increase mindfulness-based skills.

Citation:  Eastman-Mueller H1, Wilson T, Jung AK, Kimura A, Tarrant J. iRest yoga-nidra on the college campus: changes in stress, depression, worry, and mindfulness. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 2013; (23): pp.15-24.

 

11 Aug

Researchers from the University at Buffalo, SUNY, performed a systematic review of studies that explored the efficacy of yoga, a popular adjunct therapy, for preventing and treating eating disorders (ED’s).

Databases were searched for peer-reviewed articles about yoga practice and ED symptoms and correlates.

Of the 14 articles reviewed, 40% used cross-sectional designs to examine risk and protective factors for EDs among yoga practitioners, and 60% used longitudinal designs to assess the effectiveness of yoga interventions for preventing and treating EDs.

07 Aug

Researchers from the San Diego Veterans Administration Healthcare System explored the effectiveness of a Mantram Repetition Program (MRP), used with 65 outpatient veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress, to see if it helped them better manage their symptoms….
 
The MRP consisted of six weekly group sessions (90 min per week) on how to (1) choose and use a mantram, (2) slow down thoughts and behaviors, and (3) develop one-pointed attention for emotional self-regulation.
 
Critical incident research technique interviews were conducted at 3 months post-intervention as part of a larger randomized clinical trial.
 
The setting was an academic-affiliated Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in southern California. Categorization and comparison of the types and frequency of incidents (i.e., triggering events) were collected.

31 Jul

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, along with investigators from the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, and faculty from Maastricht University, in the Netherlands, explored the question of what might counteract cognitive decline in a rapidly aging society, and whether meditation might be able to enhance cognitive function in older adults. (Meditation has already been shown to have positive effects on cognition in younger and middle-aged adults.)

The team reviewed studies investigating the effects of meditation on age-related cognitive decline, searching the Web of Science (1900 to present), PsycINFO (1597 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.