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Mindfulness meditation to reduce symptoms after organ transplant: a pilot study.

10 Oct
Researchers from The College of Pharmacy and School of Nursing at The University of Minnesota evaluated the potential of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance and improved quality of life after solid organ transplantation.

Subjects consisted of 20 kidney, lung, or pancreas transplant recipients, aged 35 to 59 years, living in the community who participated in an MBSR class (2.5 hours weekly, for 8 weeks, plus home practice for 45 minutes, 5 days weekly), modeled after the program of Jon Kabat-Zinn. The outcome measures used were self-report scales for depression (CES-D), anxiety (STAI-Y1), and sleep dysfunction (PSQI).
Nineteen participants completed the course. Findings suggest improvement from baseline symptom scores for depression (P=.006) and sleep (P=.011) at the completion of the MBSR program. At 3 months, improvement in sleep continued (P=.002), and a significant improvement in anxiety scores was seen (P=.043); scores for both symptoms demonstrated a linear trend and dose-response relationship with practice time. In contrast, depression scores showed a quadratic trend, and at 3 months were no longer different from baseline. A composite symptom measure was significantly improved at 3-month follow-up (P=.007). Global and health-related quality of life ratings were not improved. Effects of group support and instructor attention were not controlled, and sample size and follow-up time were limited. A randomized trial to overcome these shortcomings should be done, as symptom distress in transplant recipients appears responsive to MBSR.

Citation: Gross CR, Kreitzer MJ, Russas V, Treesak C, Frazier PA, Hertz MI. Mindfulness meditation to reduce symptoms after organ transplant: a pilot study. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine. 2004 Summer; 20 (2): pages 20-9.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award