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Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Fatigue, Depression, Quality Of Life For MS Pati

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    Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Fatigue, Depression, Quality Of Life For MS Patients 28 Sep 2010 A new study from Switzerland suggests that learning
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 28, 2010
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      Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Fatigue,
      Depression, Quality Of Life For MS Patients
      28 Sep 2010

      A new study from Switzerland suggests that
      learning mindfulness meditation eased fatigue,
      depression and quality of life for multiple
      sclerosis (MS) patients compared with patients
      who received standard medical care.

      The study was the work of Dr Paul Grossman,
      of the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine,
      in the Division of Internal Medicine at the
      University of Basel Hospital, and colleagues,
      and is published in the 28 September issue of
      Neurology, the medical journal of the American
      Academy of Neurology.

      Grossman and colleagues recruited 150 patients
      with relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive
      multiple sclerosis, and randomly assigned them
      to receive either standard medical care
      (74 patients) or undergo eight weeks of training
      in mindfulness meditation (76 patients).

      The mindfulness training comprised weekly
      classes of 2.5 hours, an all-day retreat, and
      40 minutes per day of personal practice.

      The approach of mindfulness meditation trains
      a person to develop non-judgemental awareness
      of the present moment, such as focusing the
      attention on sensory information rather than
      what it means. Thoughts of a judgemental nature,
      triggered memories and worries about the future,
      are nudged aside as attention is devoted to
      "here and now" sensations and messages.

      The results showed that the patients who underwent
      the training had improved quality of life and
      reduced fatigue and depression after the course
      and also at a six-month follow up, compared to
      their counterparts who only received the standard medical care.

      Very few patients pulled out of the training
      before it finished (only 5 per cent), and those
      who completed it improved on nearly every measure
      of fatigue, depression (symptoms of depression
      went down by over 30 per cent), and quality of
      life, whereas the patients who received the standard
      medical care declined slightly on most measures.

      Some of the biggest improvements in the mindfulness
      group was among the 65 per cent or so patients
      who showed the highest levels of depression or
      fatigue before they started the course. By the end
      of the course this risk group had reduced by a third,
      and the proportion was sustained at the six-month
      follow up.

      The other benefits of the mindfulness training were
      also still there at the six-month follow up, although
      in some cases the levels were lower than they were
      right after the end of the course. In the case of
      fatigue however, the results showed the reductions
      at the end of the course were at the same levels
      six months later.

      In an accompanying editorial, Drs Jinny Tavee and
      Lael Stone of the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, US, wrote
      that because the study did not compare the mindfulness
      group against another active group (using a
      different type of intervention), we cannot be
      certain that the benefits accrued specifically as
      a result of mindfulness training.

      However, they did point out that this was the
      largest study of its type, it was well conducted
      and "solidly designed", and it underlined the
      importance of directing treatment at quality of
      life issues in patients with MS.

      The authors said the evidence supportrd the idea
      that patients with other chronic disorders that
      impair quality of life may also benefit from
      mindfulness training.

      Grossman said in a statement that fatigue,
      depression, anxiety and impaired quality of
      life are common consequences of having MS:

      "People with MS must often confront special
      challenges of life related to profession,
      financial security, recreational and social
      activities, and personal relationships, not
      to mention the direct fears associated with
      current or future physical symptoms and disability."

      But unfortunately, he explained, the treatments
      that help slow the disease have little effect
      in these areas.

      "So any complementary treatments that can
      quickly and directly improve quality of life
      are very welcome," he added.

      He also explained that MS is an upredictable
      disease, where people can go for months feeling
      good and then have a relapse that stops them
      working or taking care of their family.

      "Mindfulness training can help those with MS
      better to cope with these changes," said Grossman.

      "Increased mindfulness in daily life may also
      contribute to a more realistic sense of control,
      as well as a greater appreciation of positive
      experiences that continue be part of life," he added.

      "MS quality of life, depression, and fatigue improve after mindfulness training: A randomized trial."
      P. Grossman, L. Kappos, H. Gensicke, M. D'Souza, D.C. Mohr, I.K. Penner, and C. Steiner.
      Neurology, Volume 75, Issue 13 : pp 1141-1149, published 28 September 2010.

      Additional sources: American Academy of Neurology, .

      Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD
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