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Mind-body medicine research update

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  • Kevin Chen
    Neurofeedback-enhanced gamma brainwaves from the prefrontal cortical region of meditators and non-meditators and associated subjective experiences. J Altern
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 9, 2011
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      Neurofeedback-enhanced gamma brainwaves from the prefrontal cortical region of meditators and non-meditators and associated subjective experiences.  J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Feb;17(2):109-15. Epub 2011 Feb 8. by Rubik B. from Institute for Frontier Science, Oakland, CA 94611-2802, USA. brubik@...

      OBJECTIVES:  This study had two aims: (1) to explore the inner experiences associated with increased production of gamma brainwaves in an initial neurofeedback experience; and (2) to measure and compare neurofeedback-enhanced increased output from the prefrontal cortical region of meditators and non-meditators, using the Peak Brain Happiness Trainer(™) neurofeedback system.  DESIGN: This was a controlled pilot study; it involved a single session per subject.  SETTING:  The research was conducted in a nonprofit laboratory in the United States.  SUBJECTS:  There were 12 adults in 2 groups (N = 12): 6 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation(™) and six controls.  MEASURES:  The measures were self-assessed inner experiences and measurements of clarified gamma output at the prefrontal cortical region. RESULTS:  (1) Self-assessed descriptions were comparable for both groups; (2) the associations of 16 supplied descriptors with the initial neurofeedback experience were comparable for both groups and showed highest scores for "happy" (p < 0.0001) and "loving" (p < 0.0001), and lowest scores for "stressed" (p < 0.0001) and "disappointed" (p < 0.0001); (3) baseline measures were comparable for both groups; (4) both groups were able to increase gamma brainwaves using neurofeedback (p < 0.01); and (5) meditators produced greater increases over controls (p = 0.02).

      CONCLUSIONS:  The inner experience associated with increased clarified gamma amplitude from the prefrontal cortex apparently involves positive emotions of happiness and love, along with reduced stress. Meditators achieved greater increases in the gamma band from the prefrontal cortical region over controls during an initial neurofeedback session.

       

      Mind-body interventions during pregnancy for preventing or treating women's anxiety.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;7:CD007559. By Marc I, Toureche N, Ernst E, Hodnett ED, Blanchet C, Dodin S, Njoya MM. from Département de pédiatrie, Université Laval, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, 2705 boulevard Laurier, Québec, Québec, Canada, G1V 4G2.

      BACKGROUND:  Anxiety during pregnancy is a common problem. Anxiety and stress could have consequences on the course of the pregnancy and the later development of the child. Anxiety responds well to treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication. Non-pharmacological interventions such as mind-body interventions, known to decrease anxiety in several clinical situations, might be offered for treating and preventing anxiety during pregnancy. OBJECTIVES:  To assess the benefits of mind-body interventions during pregnancy in preventing or treating women's anxiety and in influencing perinatal outcomes. SEARCH STRATEGY:  We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (30 November 2010), MEDLINE (1950 to 30 November 2010), EMBASE (1974 to 30 November 2010), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) (1 December 2010), ClinicalTrials.gov (December 2010) and Current Controlled Trials (1 December 2010), searched the reference lists of selected studies and contacted professionals and authors in the field.  SELECTION CRITERIA:  Randomized controlled trials, involving pregnant women of any age at any time from conception to one month after birth, comparing mind-body interventions with a control group. Mind-body interventions include: autogenic training, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, imagery, meditation, prayer, auto-suggestion, tai-chi and yoga. Control group includes: standard care, other pharmacological or non-pharmacological interventions, other types of mind-body interventions or no treatment at all. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Three review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion all assessed risk of bias for each included study. We extracted data independently using an agreed form and checked it for accuracy. MAIN RESULTS:  We included eight trials (556 participants), evaluating hypnotherapy (one trial), imagery (five trials), autogenic training (one trial) and yoga (one trial). Due to the small number of studies per intervention and to the diversity of outcome measurements, we performed no meta-analysis, and have reported results individually for each study. Compared with usual care, in one study (133 women), imagery may have a positive effect on anxiety during labor decreasing anxiety at the early and middle stages of labor (MD -1.46; 95% CI -2.43 to -0.49; one study, 133 women) and (MD -1.24; 95% CI -2.18 to -0.30). Another study showed that imagery had a positive effect on anxiety and depression in the immediate postpartum period. Autogenic training might be effective for decreasing women's anxiety before delivering.  CONCLUSIONS:  Mind-body interventions might benefit women's anxiety during pregnancy. Based on individual studies, there is some but no strong evidence for the effectiveness of mind-body interventions for the management of anxiety during pregnancy. The main limitations of the studies were the lack of blinding and insufficient details on the methods used for randomization.

       

      A randomized, controlled trial of meditation for work stress, anxiety and depressed mood in full-time workers.  Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:960583. by Manocha R, Black D, Sarris J, Stough C. from Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney University, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia.

      Objective. To assess the effect of meditation on work stress, anxiety and mood in full-time workers. Methods. 178 adult workers participated in an 8-week, 3-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a "mental silence" approach to meditation (n = 59) to a "relaxation" active control (n = 56) and a wait-list control (n = 63). Participants were assessed before and after using Psychological Strain Questionnaire (PSQ), a subscale of the larger Occupational Stress Inventory (OSI), the State component of the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI), and the depression-dejection (DD) subscale of the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Results. There was a significant improvement for the meditation group compared to both the relaxation control and the wait-list groups the PSQ (P = .026), and DD (P = .019). Conclusions. Mental silence-orientated meditation, in this case Sahaja Yoga meditation, is a safe and effective strategy for dealing with work stress and depressive feelings. The findings suggest that "thought reduction" or "mental silence" may have specific effects relevant to work stress and hence occupational health.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118731  

       

      Meditation and the brain: attention, control and emotion.  Mens Sana Monogr. 2011 Jan;9(1):276-83. by Mograbi GJ.  Professor of Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and Epistemology, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil.

      Abstract: Meditation has been for long time avoided as a scientific theme because of its complexity and its religious connotations. Fortunately, in the last years, it has increasingly been studied within different neuroscientific experimental protocols. Attention and concentration are surely among the most important topics in these experiments. Notwithstanding this, inhibition of emotions and discursive thoughts are equally important to understand what is at stake during those types of mental processes. I philosophically and technically analyse and compare results from neuroimaging studies, produced by leading authorities on the theme, dealing with two types of meditation: "one-pointed concentration" and "compassion meditation". Analysing "one-pointed concentration", I show the differences between novice and expert meditation practitioners in terms of brain activity and connectivity, considering the relationship among increased attention and concentration and decreased activity in areas related to discursive thought and emotion. Analysing "compassion meditation", I show the importance of the limbic circuitry in emotion sharing. I follow the same strategy of comparing novice and expert meditation practitioners. The conclusion establishes a common structure to those different ways of dealing with emotion during meditation.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3115297 

       

      Dispositional Mindfulness, Meditation, and Conditional Goal Setting. Mindfulness (N Y). 2010 Dec;1(4):204-214.  By Crane C, Jandric D, Barnhofer T, Williams JM.

      Abstract: Conditional goal setting (CGS, the tendency to regard high order goals such as happiness, as conditional upon the achievement of lower order goals) is observed in individuals with depression and recent research has suggested a link between levels of dispositional mindfulness and conditional goal setting in depressed patients. Since interventions which aim to increase mindfulness through training in meditation are used with patients suffering from depression it is of interest to examine whether such interventions might alter CGS. Study 1 examined the correlation between changes in dispositional mindfulness and changes in CGS over a 3-4 month period in patients participating in a pilot randomised controlled trial of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Results indicated that increases in dispositional mindfulness were significantly associated with decreases in CGS, although this effect could not be attributed specifically to the group who had received training in meditation. Study 2 explored the impact of brief periods of either breathing or loving kindness meditation on CGS in 55 healthy participants. Contrary to expectation, a brief period of meditation increased CGS. Further analyses indicated that this effect was restricted to participants low in goal re-engagement ability who were allocated to loving kindness meditation. Longer term changes in dispositional mindfulness are associated with reductions in CGS in patients with depressed mood. However initial reactions to meditation, and in particular loving kindness meditation, may be counterintuitive and further research is required in order to determine the relationship between initial reactions and longer-term benefits of meditation practice.

       http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002397     

       

      The scientific study of happiness and health promotion: an integrative literature review. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem. 2010 May-Jun; 18(3):472-9.  By Scorsolini-Comin F, Dos Santos MA.  Source: scorsolini_usp@...

      Abstract: The article aims to trace the profile of publications concerning the concept of subjective well-being (SWB), considered the scientific study of happiness, as well as discussing the impact of this accumulated understanding on health promotion. The revision was carried out in the databases PubMed, MedLine, PsycINFO, SciELO, LILACS and PEPSIC using the descriptor subjective well-being. Articles published in indexed periodicals between 1970 and 2008 were selected. From the inclusion/exclusion criteria 19 publications were selected in full for discussion. Of these, the majority were related to the health area and did not approach the concept of SWB directly, but touched on this together with the notions of well-being, satisfaction and quality of life. There were few publications that approached the term conceptually or that defined the instruments used for the assessment of SWB. Concluding, the results confirm the relevance of the theme for health promotion and the necessity of investigations related to the practices of health professionals.

       

      Positive affect and psychobiological processes relevant to health.  J Pers. 2009 Dec;77(6):1747-76. by Steptoe A, Dockray S, Wardle J. from Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK. a.steptoe@...

      Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that there are marked associations between positive psychological states and health outcomes, including reduced cardiovascular disease risk and increased resistance to infection. These observations have stimulated the investigation of behavioral and biological processes that might mediate protective effects. Evidence linking positive affect with health behaviors has been mixed, though recent cross-cultural research has documented associations with exercising regularly, not smoking, and prudent diet. At the biological level, cortisol output has been consistently shown to be lower among individuals reporting positive affect, and favorable associations with heart rate, blood pressure, and inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6 have also been described. Importantly, these relationships are independent of negative affect and depressed mood, suggesting that positive affect may have distinctive biological correlates that can benefit health. At the same time, positive affect is associated with protective psychosocial factors such as greater social connectedness, perceived social support, optimism, and preference for adaptive coping responses. Positive affect may be part of a broader profile of psychosocial resilience that reduces risk of adverse physical health outcomes.

       

      Positive psychological well-being and mortality: a quantitative review of prospective observational studies. Psychosom Med. 2008 Sep;70(7):741-56. by Chida Y, Steptoe A. from Psychobiology Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK. y.chida@...

      OBJECTIVE:  To review systematically prospective, observational, cohort studies of the association between positive well-being and mortality using meta-analytic methods. Recent years have witnessed increased interest in the relationship between positive psychological well-being and physical health. METHODS:  We searched general bibliographic databases: Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and PubMed up to January 2008. Two reviewers independently extracted data on study characteristics, quality, and estimates of associations. RESULTS: There were 35 studies (26 articles) investigating mortality in initially healthy populations and 35 studies (28 articles) of disease populations. The meta-analyses showed that positive psychological well-being was associated with reduced mortality in both the healthy population (combined hazard ratio (HR) = 0.82; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.76-0.89; p < .001) and the disease population (combined HR = 0.98; CI = 0.95-1.00; p = .030) studies. There were indications of publication bias in this literature, although the fail-safe numbers were 2444 and 1397 for healthy and disease population studies, respectively. Intriguingly, meta-analysis of studies that controlled for negative affect showed that the protective effects of positive psychological well-being were independent of negative affect. Both positive affect (e.g., emotional well-being, positive mood, joy, happiness, vigor, energy) and positive trait-like dispositions (e.g., life satisfaction, hopefulness, optimism, sense of humor) were associated with reduced mortality in healthy population studies. Positive psychological well-being was significantly associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality in healthy population studies, and with reduced death rates in patients with renal failure and with human immunodeficiency virus-infection. CONCLUSIONS: The current review suggests that positive psychological well-being has a favorable effect on survival in both healthy and diseased populations.

       

      Activation of the anterior prefrontal cortex and serotonergic system is associated with improvements in mood and EEG changes induced by Zen meditation practice in novices. Int J Psychophysiol. 2011 May;80(2):103-11.  By Yu X, Fumoto M, Nakatani Y, Sekiyama T, Kikuchi H, Seki Y, Sato-Suzuki I, Arita H. from Dept of Physiology, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

      Abstract: To gain insight into the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in Zen meditation, we evaluated the effects of focused attention (FA) on breathing movements in the lower abdomen (Tanden) in novices. We investigated hemodynamic changes in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), an attention-related brain region, using 24-channel near-infrared spectroscopy during a 20-minute session of FA on Tanden breathing in 15 healthy volunteers. We found that the level of oxygenated hemoglobin in the anterior PFC was significantly increased during FA on Tanden breathing, accompanied by a reduction in feelings of negative mood compared to before the meditation session. Electroencephalography (EEG) revealed increased alpha band activity and decreased theta band activity during and after FA on Tanden breathing. EEG changes were correlated with a significant increase in whole blood serotonin (5-HT) levels. These results suggest that activation of the anterior PFC and 5-HT system may be responsible for the improvement of negative mood and EEG signal changes observed during FA on Tanden breathing.

       

      Detection of nighttime melatonin level in Chinese Original Quiet Sitting. J Formos Med Assoc. 2010 Oct;109(10):694-701.  By Liou CH, Hsieh CW, Hsieh CH, Chen DY, Wang CH, Chen JH, Lee SC. From Interdisciplinary MRI/MRS Laboratory, National Taiwan University, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, Taiwan.

      BACKGROUND/PURPOSE:  Some research has shown that melatonin levels increase after meditation practices, but other research has shown that they do not. In our previous functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we found positive activation of the pineal body during Chinese Original Quiet Sitting (COQS). To find other supporting evidence for pineal activation, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of COQS on nighttime melatonin levels. METHODS:  Twenty subjects (11 women and 9 men, aged 29-64 years) who had regularly practiced daily meditation for 5-24 years participated in this study. All subjects served alternately as participants in the mediation and control groups. COQS was adopted in this study. Tests were performed during two nighttime sessions. Saliva was sampled at 0, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60 and 90 minutes after COQS and tested for level of melatonin. Time period effect analysis and mixed effect model analysis were preceded by paired t test analysis. RESULTS:  In the meditation group (n = 20), the mean level of melatonin was significantly higher than the baseline level at various times post-meditation (p < 0.001). Within the control group (n = 20), the mean level of melatonin at various times was not significantly different compared with baseline (p>0.05). These results suggested that the melatonin level was statistically elevated in the meditation group and almost unchanged in the control group after nighttime meditation. The urine serotonin levels detected by measuring 5-hydroxy-indole-3-acetic acid levels were also studied, but no detectable difference between the groups was found.  CONCLUSION:  Our results support the hypothesis that meditation might elevate the nighttime salivary melatonin levels. It suggests that COQS can be used as a psychophysiological stimulus to increase endogenous secretion of melatonin, which in turn, might contribute to an improved sense of well-being.

       

       

       

    • Wtcqd2000@aol.com
      We would like to start a moderated forum for qi research at the new worldtaichiday.org. If anyone is interested in being part of this project, email us at
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 9, 2011
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        We would like to start a moderated forum for qi research at the new worldtaichiday.org. If anyone is interested in being part of this project, email us at billdouglas@...
         
        Warm regards,
         
        Bill, World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
         
        In a message dated 7/9/2011 9:05:32 P.M. Central Daylight Time, qigong4us@... writes:


        Neurofeedback-enhanced gamma brainwaves from the prefrontal cortical region of meditators and non-meditators and associated subjective experiences.  J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Feb;17(2):109-15. Epub 2011 Feb 8. by Rubik B. from Institute for Frontier Science, Oakland, CA 94611-2802, USA. brubik@...

        OBJECTIVES:  This study had two aims: (1) to explore the inner experiences associated with increased production of gamma brainwaves in an initial neurofeedback experience; and (2) to measure and compare neurofeedback-enhanced increased output from the prefrontal cortical region of meditators and non-meditators, using the Peak Brain Happiness Trainer(™) neurofeedback system.  DESIGN: This was a controlled pilot study; it involved a single session per subject.  SETTING:  The research was conducted in a nonprofit laboratory in the United States.  SUBJECTS:  There were 12 adults in 2 groups (N = 12): 6 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation(™) and six controls.  MEASURES:  The measures were self-assessed inner experiences and measurements of clarified gamma output at the prefrontal cortical region. RESULTS:  (1) Self-assessed descriptions were comparable for both groups; (2) the associations of 16 supplied descriptors with the initial neurofeedback experience were comparable for both groups and showed highest scores for "happy" (p < 0.0001) and "loving" (p < 0.0001), and lowest scores for "stressed" (p < 0.0001) and "disappointed" (p < 0.0001); (3) baseline measures were comparable for both groups; (4) both groups were able to increase gamma brainwaves using neurofeedback (p < 0.01); and (5) meditators produced greater increases over controls (p = 0.02).

        CONCLUSIONS:  The inner experience associated with increased clarified gamma amplitude from the prefrontal cortex apparently involves positive emotions of happiness and love, along with reduced stress. Meditators achieved greater increases in the gamma band from the prefrontal cortical region over controls during an initial neurofeedback session.

         

        Mind-body interventions during pregnancy for preventing or treating women's anxiety.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;7:CD007559. By Marc I, Toureche N, Ernst E, Hodnett ED, Blanchet C, Dodin S, NjoyaMM. from Département de pédiatrie, Université Laval, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, 2705 boulevard Laurier, Québec, Québec, Canada, G1V 4G2.

        BACKGROUND:  Anxiety during pregnancy is a common problem. Anxiety and stress could have consequences on the course of the pregnancy and the later development of the child. Anxiety responds well to treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication. Non-pharmacological interventions such as mind-body interventions, known to decrease anxiety in several clinical situations, might be offered for treating and preventing anxiety during pregnancy. OBJECTIVES:  To assess the benefits of mind-body interventions during pregnancy in preventing or treating women's anxiety and in influencing perinatal outcomes. SEARCH STRATEGY:  We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (30 November 2010), MEDLINE (1950 to 30 November 2010), EMBASE (1974 to 30 November 2010), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) (1 December 2010), ClinicalTrials.gov (December 2010) and Current Controlled Trials (1 December 2010), searched the reference lists of selected studies and contacted professionals and authors in the field.  SELECTION CRITERIA:  Randomized controlled trials, involving pregnant women of any age at any time from conception to one month after birth, comparing mind-body interventions with a control group. Mind-body interventions include: autogenic training, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, imagery, meditation, prayer, auto-suggestion, tai-chi and yoga. Control group includes: standard care, other pharmacological or non-pharmacological interventions, other types of mind-body interventions or no treatment at all. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Three review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion all assessed risk of bias for each included study. We extracted data independently using an agreed form and checked it for accuracy. MAIN RESULTS:  We included eight trials (556 participants), evaluating hypnotherapy (one trial), imagery (five trials), autogenic training (one trial) and yoga (one trial). Due to the small number of studies per intervention and to the diversity of outcome measurements, we performed no meta-analysis, and have reported results individually for each study. Compared with usual care, in one study (133 women), imagery may have a positive effect on anxiety during labor decreasing anxiety at the early and middle stages of labor (MD -1.46; 95% CI -2.43 to -0.49; one study, 133 women) and (MD -1.24; 95% CI -2.18 to -0.30). Another study showed that imagery had a positive effect on anxiety and depression in the immediate postpartum period. Autogenic training might be effective for decreasing women's anxiety before delivering.  CONCLUSIONS:  Mind-body interventions might benefit women's anxiety during pregnancy. Based on individual studies, there is some but no strong evidence for the effectiveness of mind-body interventions for the management of anxiety during pregnancy. The main limitations of the studies were the lack of blinding and insufficient details on the methods used for randomization.

         

        A randomized, controlled trial of meditation for work stress, anxiety and depressed mood in full-time workers.  Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:960583. by Manocha R, Black D, Sarris J, Stough C. from Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney University, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia.

        Objective. To assess the effect of meditation on work stress, anxiety and mood in full-time workers. Methods. 178 adult workers participated in an 8-week, 3-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a "mental silence" approach to meditation (n = 59) to a "relaxation" active control (n = 56) and a wait-list control (n = 63). Participants were assessed before and after using Psychological Strain Questionnaire (PSQ), a subscale of the larger Occupational Stress Inventory (OSI), the State component of the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI), and the depression-dejection (DD) subscale of the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Results. There was a significant improvement for the meditation group compared to both the relaxation control and the wait-list groups the PSQ (P = .026), and DD (P = .019). Conclusions. Mental silence-orientated meditation, in this case Sahaja Yoga meditation, is a safe and effective strategy for dealing with work stress and depressive feelings. The findings suggest that "thought reduction" or "mental silence" may have specific effects relevant to work stress and hence occupational health.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118731  

         

        Meditation and the brain: attention, control and emotion.  Mens Sana Monogr. 2011 Jan;9(1):276-83. by Mograbi GJ.  Professor of Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and Epistemology, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil.

        Abstract: Meditation has been for long time avoided as a scientific theme because of its complexity and its religious connotations. Fortunately, in the last years, it has increasingly been studied within different neuroscientific experimental protocols. Attention and concentration are surely among the most important topics in these experiments. Notwithstanding this, inhibition of emotions and discursive thoughts are equally important to understand what is at stake during those types of mental processes. I philosophically and technically analyse and compare results from neuroimaging studies, produced by leading authorities on the theme, dealing with two types of meditation: "one-pointed concentration" and "compassion meditation". Analysing "one-pointed concentration", I show the differences between novice and expert meditation practitioners in terms of brain activity and connectivity, considering the relationship among increased attention and concentration and decreased activity in areas related to discursive thought and emotion. Analysing "compassion meditation", I show the importance of the limbic circuitry in emotion sharing. I follow the same strategy of comparing novice and expert meditation practitioners. The conclusion establishes a common structure to those different ways of dealing with emotion during meditation.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3115297 

         

        Dispositional Mindfulness, Meditation, and Conditional Goal Setting. Mindfulness (N Y). 2010 Dec;1(4):204-214.  By Crane C, Jandric D, Barnhofer T, Williams JM.

        Abstract: Conditional goal setting (CGS, the tendency to regard high order goals such as happiness, as conditional upon the achievement of lower order goals) is observed in individuals with depression and recent research has suggested a link between levels of dispositional mindfulness and conditional goal setting in depressed patients. Since interventions which aim to increase mindfulness through training in meditation are used with patients suffering from depression it is of interest to examine whether such interventions might alter CGS. Study 1 examined the correlation between changes in dispositional mindfulness and changes in CGS over a 3-4 month period in patients participating in a pilot randomised controlled trial of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Results indicated that increases in dispositional mindfulness were significantly associated with decreases in CGS, although this effect could not be attributed specifically to the group who had received training in meditation. Study 2 explored the impact of brief periods of either breathing or loving kindness meditation on CGS in 55 healthy participants. Contrary to expectation, a brief period of meditation increased CGS. Further analyses indicated that this effect was restricted to participants low in goal re-engagement ability who were allocated to loving kindness meditation. Longer term changes in dispositional mindfulness are associated with reductions in CGS in patients with depressed mood. However initial reactions to meditation, and in particular loving kindness meditation, may be counterintuitive and further research is required in order to determine the relationship between initial reactions and longer-term benefits of meditation practice.

         http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002397     

         

        The scientific study of happiness and health promotion: an integrative literature review. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem. 2010 May-Jun; 18(3):472-9.  By Scorsolini-Comin F, Dos Santos MA.  Source: scorsolini_usp@...

        Abstract: The article aims to trace the profile of publications concerning the concept of subjective well-being (SWB), considered the scientific study of happiness, as well as discussing the impact of this accumulated understanding on health promotion. The revision was carried out in the databases PubMed, MedLine, PsycINFO, SciELO, LILACS and PEPSIC using the descriptor subjective well-being. Articles published in indexed periodicals between 1970 and 2008 were selected. From the inclusion/exclusion criteria 19 publications were selected in full for discussion. Of these, the majority were related to the health area and did not approach the concept of SWB directly, but touched on this together with the notions of well-being, satisfaction and quality of life. There were few publications that approached the term conceptually or that defined the instruments used for the assessment of SWB. Concluding, the results confirm the relevance of the theme for health promotion and the necessity of investigations related to the practices of health professionals.

         

        Positive affect and psychobiological processes relevant to health.  J Pers. 2009 Dec;77(6):1747-76. by Steptoe A, Dockray S, Wardle J. from Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK. a.steptoe@...

        Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that there are marked associations between positive psychological states and health outcomes, including reduced cardiovascular disease risk and increased resistance to infection. These observations have stimulated the investigation of behavioral and biological processes that might mediate protective effects. Evidence linking positive affect with health behaviors has been mixed, though recent cross-cultural research has documented associations with exercising regularly, not smoking, and prudent diet. At the biological level, cortisol output has been consistently shown to be lower among individuals reporting positive affect, and favorable associations with heart rate, blood pressure, and inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6 have also been described. Importantly, these relationships are independent of negative affect and depressed mood, suggesting that positive affect may have distinctive biological correlates that can benefit health. At the same time, positive affect is associated with protective psychosocial factors such as greater social connectedness, perceived social support, optimism, and preference for adaptive coping responses. Positive affect may be part of a broader profile of psychosocial resilience that reduces risk of adverse physical health outcomes.

         

        Positive psychological well-being and mortality: a quantitative review of prospective observational studies. Psychosom Med. 2008 Sep;70(7):741-56. by Chida Y, Steptoe A. from Psychobiology Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK. y.chida@...

        OBJECTIVE:  To review systematically prospective, observational, cohort studies of the association between positive well-being and mortality using meta-analytic methods. Recent years have witnessed increased interest in the relationship between positive psychological well-being and physical health. METHODS:  We searched general bibliographic databases: Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and PubMed up to January 2008. Two reviewers independently extracted data on study characteristics, quality, and estimates of associations. RESULTS: There were 35 studies (26 articles) investigating mortality in initially healthy populations and 35 studies (28 articles) of disease populations. The meta-analyses showed that positive psychological well-being was associated with reduced mortality in both the healthy population (combined hazard ratio (HR) = 0.82; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.76-0.89; p < .001) and the disease population (combined HR = 0.98; CI = 0.95-1.00; p = .030) studies. There were indications of publication bias in this literature, although the fail-safe numbers were 2444 and 1397 for healthy and disease population studies, respectively. Intriguingly, meta-analysis of studies that controlled for negative affect showed that the protective effects of positive psychological well-being were independent of negative affect. Both positive affect (e.g., emotional well-being, positive mood, joy, happiness, vigor, energy) and positive trait-like dispositions (e.g., life satisfaction, hopefulness, optimism, sense of humor) were associated with reduced mortality in healthy population studies. Positive psychological well-being was significantly associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality in healthy population studies, and with reduced death rates in patients with renal failure and with human immunodeficiency virus-infection. CONCLUSIONS: The current review suggests that positive psychological well-being has a favorable effect on survival in both healthy and diseased populations.

         

        Activation of the anterior prefrontal cortex and serotonergic system is associated with improvements in mood and EEG changes induced by Zen meditation practice in novices. Int J Psychophysiol. 2011 May;80(2):103-11.  By Yu X, Fumoto M, Nakatani Y, Sekiyama T, Kikuchi H, Seki Y, Sato-Suzuki I, Arita H. from Dept of Physiology, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

        Abstract: To gain insight into the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in Zen meditation, we evaluated the effects of focused attention (FA) on breathing movements in the lower abdomen (Tanden) in novices. We investigated hemodynamic changes in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), an attention-related brain region, using 24-channel near-infrared spectroscopy during a 20-minute session of FA on Tanden breathing in 15 healthy volunteers. We found that the level of oxygenated hemoglobin in the anterior PFC was significantly increased during FA on Tanden breathing, accompanied by a reduction in feelings of negative mood compared to before the meditation session. Electroencephalography (EEG) revealed increased alpha band activity and decreased theta band activity during and after FA on Tanden breathing. EEG changes were correlated with a significant increase in whole blood serotonin (5-HT) levels. These results suggest that activation of the anterior PFC and 5-HT system may be responsible for the improvement of negative mood and EEG signal changes observed during FA on Tanden breathing.

         

        Detection of nighttime melatonin level in Chinese Original Quiet Sitting. J Formos Med Assoc. 2010 Oct;109(10):694-701.  By Liou CH, Hsieh CW, Hsieh CH, Chen DY, Wang CH, Chen JH, Lee SC. From Interdisciplinary MRI/MRS Laboratory, National Taiwan University, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, Taiwan.

        BACKGROUND/PURPOSE:  Some research has shown that melatonin levels increase after meditation practices, but other research has shown that they do not. In our previous functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we found positive activation of the pineal body during Chinese Original Quiet Sitting (COQS). To find other supporting evidence for pineal activation, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of COQS on nighttime melatonin levels. METHODS:  Twenty subjects (11 women and 9 men, aged 29-64 years) who had regularly practiced daily meditation for 5-24 years participated in this study. All subjects served alternately as participants in the mediation and control groups. COQS was adopted in this study. Tests were performed during two nighttime sessions. Saliva was sampled at 0, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60 and 90 minutes after COQS and tested for level of melatonin. Time period effect analysis and mixed effect model analysis were preceded by paired t test analysis. RESULTS:  In the meditation group (n = 20), the mean level of melatonin was significantly higher than the baseline level at various times post-meditation (p < 0.001). Within the control group (n = 20), the mean level of melatonin at various times was not significantly different compared with baseline (p>0.05). These results suggested that the melatonin level was statistically elevated in the meditation group and almost unchanged in the control group after nighttime meditation. The urine serotonin levels detected by measuring 5-hydroxy-indole-3-acetic acid levels were also studied, but no detectable difference between the groups was found.  CONCLUSION:  Our results support the hypothesis that meditation might elevate the nighttime salivary melatonin levels. It suggests that COQS can be used as a psychophysiological stimulus to increase endogenous secretion of melatonin, which in turn, might contribute to an improved sense of well-being.

         

         

         



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        Mind-Body Medicine Research Update A randomized controlled trial of qigong for fibromyalgia. Arthritis Res Ther. 2012 Aug 3;14(4): R178. By Lynch M, Sawynok J,
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          Mind-Body Medicine Research Update

           

          A randomized controlled trial of qigong for fibromyalgia.  Arthritis Res Ther. 2012 Aug 3;14(4): R178. By Lynch M, Sawynok J, Hiew C, Marcon D.

                      INTRODUCTION:  Fibromyalgia is difficult to treat and requires the use of multiple approaches. This study is a randomized controlled trial of qigong compared with a waitlist control group in fibromyalgia. METHODS: One hundred participants were randomly assigned to immediate or delayed practice groups, with the delayed group receiving training at the end of the control period. Qigong training (level 1 Chaoyi Fanhuan Qigong, CFQ), given over 3 half-days, was followed by weekly review/practice sessions for 8 weeks; participants were also asked to practice at home for 45-60 minutes per day for this interval. Outcomes were pain, impact, sleep, physical function and mental function, and these were recorded at baseline, 8 weeks, 4 months and 6 months. Immediate and delayed practice groups were analyzed individually compared to the control group, and as a combination group. RESULTS: In both the immediate and delayed treatment groups, CFQ demonstrated significant improvements in pain, impact, sleep, physical function and mental function when compared to the waitlist/usual care control group at 8 weeks, with benefits extending beyond this time. Analysis of combined data indicated significant changes for all measures at all times to 6 months, with only one exception. Post-hoc analysis based on self-reported practice times indicated greater benefit with the per protocol group compared to minimal practice.  CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that CFQ, a particular form of qigong, provides long-term benefits in several core domains in fibromyalgia. CFQ may be a useful adjuvant self-care treatment for fibromyalgia.

           

          Benefit of Qigong Exercise in Patients with Fibromyalgia: A Pilot Study.  Int J Neurosci. 2012 Aug 3.  by Liu W, Zahner L, Cornell M, Le T, Ratner J, Wang Y, Pasnoor M, Dimachkie M, Barohn R. From Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA.

                 ABSTRACT Objective: Fibromyalgia (FM) patients present with widespread chronic pain and other symptoms. Some studies in the literature have reported inconsistent results after a Qigong exercise intervention in patients with FM. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of a home-based Qigong exercise in patients with FM. Methods: A total of 14 subjects were randomly assigned into one of two groups. The experimental group went through a six-week Qigong exercise program involving meditation, deep breathing, and synchronized rhythmic body movements. The control group took part in a sham Qigong exercise program using the same body movements also for six weeks. Clinical assessments at baseline and end of intervention used the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire, Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. Results: Group mean scores of four measurements were significantly (p < .0125) reduced in the intervention group, but not in the control group. The percentage changes in the four measurements were 44.2%, 24.8%, 37.3%, and 44.3% in the intervention group, and 10.1%, 6.3%, 9.9%, and 11.8% in the control group. Conclusion: Qigong exercise may potentially be an effective self-management approach in controlling FM symptoms. In this pilot study, regular daily Qigong exercise, accumulated number of exercise sessions, and the specific form of Qigong exercise may all be important factors for the significant improvement in the study subjects. Future research is required to determine whether the same benefit can be obtained in a larger sample.

           

          Neurocognitive correlates of the effects of yoga meditation practice on emotion and cognition: a pilot study.  Front Integr Neurosci. 2012;6:48. Epub 2012 Jul 26. By Froeliger BE, Garland EL, Modlin LA, McClernon FJ. From Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC, USA.

                 Abstract:  Mindfulness meditation involves attending to emotions without cognitive fixation of emotional experience. Over time, this practice is held to promote alterations in trait affectivity and attentional control with resultant effects on well-being and cognition. However, relatively little is known regarding the neural substrates of meditation effects on emotion and cognition. The present study investigated the neurocognitive correlates of emotion interference on cognition in Yoga practitioners and a matched control group (CG) underwent fMRI while performing an event-related affective Stroop task. The task includes image viewing trials and Stroop trials bracketed by neutral or negative emotional distractors. During image viewing trials, Yoga practitioners exhibited less reactivity in right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) to negative as compared to neutral images; whereas the CG had the opposite pattern. A main effect of valence (negative > neutral) was observed in limbic regions (e.g., amygdala), of which the magnitude was inversely related to dlPFC activation. Exploratory analyses revealed that the magnitude of amygdala activation predicted decreased self-reported positive affect in the CG, but not among Yoga practitioners. During Stroop trials, Yoga practitioners had greater activation in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) during Stroop trials when negative, compared to neutral, emotional distractor were presented; the CG exhibited the opposite pattern. Taken together, these data suggest that though Yoga practitioners exhibit limbic reactivity to negative emotional stimuli, such reactivity does not have downstream effects on later mood state. This uncoupling of viewing negative emotional images and affect among Yoga practitioners may be occasioned by their selective implementation of frontal executive-dependent strategies to reduce emotional interference during competing cognitive demands and not during emotional processing per se.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405281  

           

          A Pilot Study of Qigong for Reducing Cocaine Craving Early in Recovery.  J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jul 3. by Smelson D, Chen KW, Ziedonis D, Andes K, Lennox A, Callahan L, Rodrigues S, Eisenberg D. From Center for Health, Quality, Outcomes & Economic Research, VA Medical Center  Bedford, MA.

                 Abstract:  Objectives: This pilot study examined the feasibility, preliminary efficacy, and determined the effect sizes of external qigong therapy (EQT) in reducing cue-elicited cocaine craving and associated symptoms among recently abstinent cocaine-dependent (CD) individuals. Methods: This study randomized 101 CD subjects to either a real EQT (n=51) or sham EQT control (n=50) group. Subjects underwent a baseline assessment and a weekly cue-exposure session for 2 weeks. Total EQT or sham treatments ranged from 4 to 6 sessions in 2 weeks. Results: EQT-treated subjects displayed a greater reduction in cue-elicited craving (p=0.06) and symptoms of depression (p<0.05) with medium effect sizes. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the feasibility of delivering EQT among CD individuals early in residential treatment. Future research should include a larger sample and examine the mechanisms and potential longitudinal benefits of EQT.

           

          Tai chi diminishes oxidative stress in Mexican older adults.  J Nutr Health Aging. 2012;16(7):642-6. By Rosado-Pérez J, Santiago-Osorio E, Ortiz R, Mendoza-Núñez VM. From V.M. Mendoza-Núñez, Guelatao # 66, Col. Ejército de Oriente, 09230 México, DF, México.  mendovic@...  

                 Abstract:  Objective: To determine the effect of Tai Chi on oxidative stress in a population of elderly Mexican subjects. Design: It was carried out a quasi-experimental study with a sample of 55 healthy subjects randomly divided into two age-matched groups: (i) a control group with 23 subjects and (ii) an experimental group with 32 subjects. The experimental group received daily training in Tai Chi for 50 min. Measurements: It was measured before and after 6-month of exercise period: thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), total antioxidant status (TAS), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). Results: It was found that the experimental group exhibited a statistically significant decrease in glucose levels, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC), and systolic blood pressure, as well as an increase in SOD and GPx activity and TAS compared with the control group (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the daily practice of Tai Chi is useful for reducing OxS in healthy older adults.

           

          A mindfulness course decreases burnout and improves well-being among healthcare providers.  Int J Psychiatry Med. 2012;43(2):119-28. By  Goodman MJ, Schorling JB. From University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, USA.

                      OBJECTIVE:  Healthcare providers are under increasing stress and work-related burnout has become common. Mindfulness-based interventions have a potential role in decreasing stress and burnout. The purpose of this study was to determine if a continuing education course based on mindfulness-based stress reduction could decrease burnout and improve mental well-being among healthcare providers, from different professions.  Design: This was a pre-post observational study conducted in a university medical center. A total of 93 healthcare providers, including physicians from multiple specialties, nurses, psychologists, and social workers who practiced in both university and community settings, participated. The intervention was a continuing education course based on mindfulness-based stress reduction that met 2.5 hours a week for 8 weeks plus a 7-hour retreat. The classes included training in four types of formal mindfulness practices, including the body scan, mindful movement, walking meditation and sitting meditation, as well as discussion focusing on the application of mindfulness at work. The course was offered 11 times over 6 years. The main outcome measures were work-related burnout as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory and self-perceived mental and physical well-being as measured by the SF-12v2.  RESULTS: Maslach Burnout Inventory scores improved significantly from before to after the course for both physicians and other healthcare providers for the Emotional Exhaustion (p < 0.03), Depersonalization (p < 0.04), and Personal Accomplishment (p < 0.001) scales. Mental well-being measured by the SF12v2 also improved significantly (p < 0.001). There were no significant changes in the SF12v2 physical health scores.  CONCLUSION: A continuing education course based on mindfulness-based stress reduction was associated with significant improvements in burnout scores and mental well-being for a broad range of healthcare providers.

           

          Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Improves Polysomnographic and Subjective Sleep Profiles in Antidepressant Users with Sleep Complaints.  Psychother Psychosom. 2012 Jul 20;81(5):296-304. By Britton WB, Haynes PL, Fridel KW, Bootzin RR. From: Dept of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University Medical School, Providence, R.I., USA.

                 Background: Many antidepressant medications (ADM) are associated with disruptions in sleep continuity that can compromise medication adherence and impede successful treatment. The present study investigated whether mindfulness meditation (MM) training could improve self-reported and objectively measured polysomnographic (PSG) sleep profiles in depressed individuals who had achieved at least partial remission with ADM, but still had residual sleep complaints. Methods: Twenty-three ADM users with sleep complaints were randomized into an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course or a waitlist control condition. Pre-post measurements included PSG sleep studies and subjectively reported sleep, residual depression symptoms. Results: Compared to controls, the MBCT participants improved on both PSG and subjective measures of sleep. They showed a pattern of decreased wake time and increased sleep efficiency. Sleep depth, as measured by stage 1 and slow-wave sleep, did not change as a result of mindfulness training. Conclusions: MM is associated with increases in both objectively and subjectively measured sleep continuity in ADM users. MM training may serve as more desirable and cost-effective alternative to discontinuation or supplementation with hypnotics, and may contribute to a more sustainable recovery from depression.

                

          Global and regional alterations of hippocampal anatomy in long-term meditation practitioners.  Hum Brain Mapp. 2012 Jul 19. By Luders E, Thompson PM, Kurth F, Hong JY, Phillips OR, Wang Y, Gutman BA, Chou YY, Narr KL, Toga AW. From Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California. eileen@...  

                 Abstract:  Studies linking meditation and brain structure are still relatively sparse, but the hippocampus is consistently implicated as one of the structures altered in meditation practitioners. To explore hippocampal features in the framework of meditation, we analyzed high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 30 long-term meditators and 30 controls, closely matched for sex, age, and handedness. Hippocampal formations were manually traced following established protocols. In addition to calculating left and right hippocampal volumes (global measures), regional variations in surface morphology were determined by measuring radial distances from the hippocampal core to spatially matched surface points (local measures). Left and right hippocampal volumes were larger in meditators than in controls, significantly so for the left hippocampus. The presence and direction of this global effect was confirmed locally by mapping the exact spatial locations of the group differences. Altogether, radial distances were larger in meditators compared to controls, with up to 15% difference. These local effects were observed in several hippocampal regions in the left and right hemisphere though achieved significance primarily in the left hippocampal head. Larger hippocampal dimensions in long-term meditators may constitute part of the underlying neurological substrate for cognitive skills, mental capacities, and/or personal traits associated with the practice of meditation. Alternatively, given that meditation positively affects autonomic regulation and immune activity, altered hippocampal dimensions may be one result of meditation-induced stress reduction. However, given the cross-sectional design, the lack of individual stress measures, and the limited resolution of brain data, the exact underlying neuronal mechanisms remain to be established.

           

          Yogic meditation reverses NF-κB and IRF-related transcriptome dynamics in leukocytes of family dementia caregivers in a randomized controlled trial.  Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 Jul 13. By Black DS, Cole SW, Irwin MR, Breen E, St Cyr NM, Nazarian N, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H. from  Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA,  USA

                      BACKGROUND: Although yoga and meditation have been used for stress reduction with reported improvement in inflammation, little is known about the biological mechanisms mediating such effects. The present study examined if a yogic meditation might alter the activity of inflammatory and antiviral transcription control pathways that shape immune cell gene expression.

                      METHODS: Forty-five family dementia caregivers were randomized to either Kirtan Kriya Meditation (KKM) or Relaxing Music (RM) listening for 12min daily for 8 weeks and 39 caregivers completed the study. Genome-wide transcriptional profiles were collected from peripheral blood leukocytes sampled at baseline and 8-week follow-up. Promoter-based bioinformatics analyses tested the hypothesis that observed transcriptional alterations were structured by reduced activity of the pro-inflammatory nuclear factor (NF)- κB family of transcription factors and increased activity of Interferon Response Factors (IRFs; i.e., reversal of patterns previously linked to stress).

                      RESULTS: In response to KKM treatment, 68 genes were found to be differentially expressed (19 up-regulated, 49 down-regulated) after adjusting for potentially confounded differences in sex, illness burden, and BMI. Up-regulated genes included immunoglobulin-related transcripts. Down-regulated transcripts included pro-inflammatory cytokines and activation-related immediate-early genes. Transcript origin analyses identified plasmacytoid dendritic cells and B lymphocytes as the primary cellular context of these transcriptional alterations (both p<.001). Promoter-based bioinformatic analysis implicated reduced NF-κB signaling and increased activity of IRF1 in structuring those effects (both p<.05).

                      CONCLUSION: A brief daily yogic meditation intervention may reverse the pattern of increased NF-?B-related transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreased IRF1-related transcription of innate antiviral response genes previously observed in healthy individuals confronting a significant life stressor.

           

          A Randomized Controlled Trial of Qigong Exercise on Fatigue Symptoms, Functioning, and Telomerase Activity in Persons with Chronic Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Ann Behav Med. 2012 Jun 27. By Ho RT, Chan JS, Wang CW, Lau BW, So KF, Yuen LP, Sham JS, Chan CL. From  Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, tinho@...

                      BACKGROUND:  Chronic fatigue is common in the general population. Complementary therapies are often used by patients with chronic fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome to manage their symptoms.  PURPOSE:  This study aimed to assess the effect of a 4-month qigong intervention program among patients with chronic fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome. METHODS: Sixty-four participants were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a wait list control group. Outcome measures included fatigue symptoms, physical functioning, mental functioning, and telomerase activity. RESULTS: Fatigue symptoms and mental functioning were significantly improved in the qigong group compared to controls. Telomerase activity increased in the qigong group from 0.102 to 0.178 arbitrary units (p < 0.05). The change was statistically significant when compared to the control group (p<0.05).  CONCLUSION: Qigong exercise may be used as an alternative and complementary therapy or rehabilitative program for chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome.

           

          Development of Specific Aspects of Spirituality during a 6-Month Intensive Yoga Practice.  Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012:981523. By Büssing A, Hedtstück A, Khalsa SB, Ostermann T, Heusser P. from  Center of Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, Witten/Herdecke University, Gerhard-Kienle-Weg 4, 58313 Herdecke, Germany.

                 Abstract: The majority of research on yoga focuses on its psychophysiological and therapeutic benefits, while the spiritual aspects are rarely addressed. Changes of specific aspects of spirituality were thus investigated among 160 individuals (91% women, mean age 40.9 ± 8.3 years; 57% Christians) starting a 2-year yoga teacher training. We used standardized questionnaires to measure aspects of spirituality (ASP), mindfulness (FMI-Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory), life satisfaction (BMLSS-Brief Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Scale), and positive mood (lightheartedness/relief). At the start of the course, scores of the respective ASP subscales for search for insight/wisdom, transcendence conviction, and conscious interactions/compassion were high, while those for religious orientation were low. Within the 6 month observation period, both conscious interactions/compassion (effect size, Cohen's d = .33), Religious orientation (d = .21), Lightheartedness/Relief (d = .75) and mindfulness (d = .53) increased significantly. Particularly non-religious/non-spiritual individuals showed moderate effects for an increase of conscious interactions/compassion. The results from this study suggest that an intensive yoga practice (1) may significantly increase specific aspects of practitioners' spirituality, mindfulness, and mood, (2) that these changes are dependent in part on their original spiritual/religious self-perception, and (3) that there are strong correlations amongst these constructs (i.e., conscious interactions/compassion, and mindfulness).

          http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/981523  

           

          (Compiled by Kevin W Chen)

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