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Meditation Shows Promise for Offsetting Cognitive Decline in Older Adults | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 31 July 2014

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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.

 
So Much for Sharing Your Feelings, Fibro Sufferers! | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 21 July 2014

In this randomized clinical trial, 3 cognitive behavioral coping techniques were compared for their efficacy for relieving fibromyalgia pain and anxiety symptoms: (1) an informational patient education program, (2) a general, pleasant guided imagery program and (3) an emotional support program to let the patients talk freely and emotionally about their fibromyalgia problems.

The study tested the post intervention effects of these 3 interventions 30 minutes afterward. A total of 58 fibromyalgia patients participated,  with 22 in the patient education group, 17 in the guided imagery group, and 19 in the emotional support talking group.

 
Getting Smart with a Smartphone: Exciting New Continuing Care for Alcoholics | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 17 July 2014

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Engineering and North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts studied whether patients leaving residential alcoholism treatment with a smartphone app to support their recovery had fewer risky drinking days than controls.
 
A randomized clinical trial involving 3 residential treatment programs in the Midwest and northeastern US included 349 patients who met the criteria for DSM-IV alcohol dependence when they entered residential treatment.
 
They were randomized to treatment as usual (n = 179) or treatment as usual plus a smartphone (n = 170) with the Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (A-CHESS), an application designed at the University of Wisconsin to improve continuing care for alcohol use disorders.

 
Guided Imagery Reduces Stress in Pregnant African American Women | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 10 July 2014

This study used a 4-part guided imagery recording designed specifically for pregnancy-related stress.  It was created and narrated by the researcher. Some ideas from Staying Well with Guided Imagery were used in the development of the imagery.

Interestingly, the positive effects in this study were greatest at 8 weeks, and got no better after that, even though the study went to 12 weeks. This was similar to what Jennifer Strauss found in her 12-week study of sexually traumatized veterans who used guided imagery at the Durham V.A. – maximum benefit was achieved at 8 weeks. Dr Strauss wound up deciding that 12 weeks was overkill, and a subsequent study was designed to shorten the imagery intervention to 8 weeks.

 
JAMA Study: Meditation Yields Moderate Reductions in Psychological Stress | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 30 June 2014

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University performed a meta-analysis to determine the effects of meditation practice in improving stress related outcomes (anxiety, depression, stress/distress, positive mood, mental health-related quality of life, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, pain, and weight) in various adult clinical populations.

They identified randomized clinical trials with active controls for placebo effects from MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, PsycArticles, Scopus, CINAHL, AMED, the Cochrane Library, and hand searches.
 
Strength of evidence was graded using 4 domains (risk of bias, precision, directness, and consistency) and magnitude and direction of effect were determined by calculating the relative difference between groups in the change from baseline.

 
Whoa!! Intensive Cognitive Therapy in 7 Consecutive Days Helps PTSD Sufferers | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 June 2014

UK Researchers from the University of Oxford, the Oxford Cognitive Health Clinical Research Facility, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley, the NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London investigated whether cognitive therapy for PTSD can be delivered effectively in a shortened, 7-day intensive version of a method that is normally  administered weekly or bi-weekly over several months.
 
Patients with chronic PTSD (N=121) were randomlzed to 7-day intensive cognitive therapy for PTSD; 3 months of standard weekly cognitive therapy; 3 months of weekly emotion-focused supportive therapy, or a 14-week waiting list condition.

The primary outcomes measured were change in PTSD symptoms and diagnosis as measured by independent assessor ratings and self-report.

 
Help for Parkinson’s Disease – Guided Imagery Improves Coping with Motor Fluctuations | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 16 June 2014

Researchers from the Technion in Haifa, Israel, assessed the efficacy of relaxation and guided imagery audios in helping Parkinson’s Disease patients cope with motor fluctuation.
 
In a prospective case cohort pilot, PD patients underwent (i) a relaxation session using relaxation and guided imagery and (ii) a control session of relaxing music. Three-day diaries were completed at baseline and after each intervention.

Subsequently, patients received discs for home listening - a relaxation-guided imagery disc and a relaxing music disc.

After three months, the patients were interviewed by phone.  Results showed that 21 PD patients participated and 19 completed the study.

 
Telephone-Delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps with Insomnia | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 09 June 2014

In a randomized, controlled parallel trial, researchers from the Sleep and Chronophysiology Laboratory at the University of Michigan assessed the efficacy of telephone-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia.
 
The thirty subjects had chronic insomnia (27 women, age 39.1 ± 14.4 years, insomnia duration 8.7 ± 10.7 years).

In the experimental condition, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) was delivered in up to eight weekly telephone sessions (CBTI-Phone, n = 15) versus a control condition that consisted of an information pamphlet (IPC, n = 15).
 
Measurements consisted of a sleep/wake diary, sleep-related questionnaires (Insomnia Severity Index, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, 16-item Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep), and daytime symptom assessments (fatigue, depression, anxiety, and quality of life).

 
Internet-Delivered CBT Reduces Depression in At-Risk Heart Patients | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 02 June 2014

Researchers from the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, evaluated the effectiveness of internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (iCBT) on depressive symptom severity and adherence to medical advice (including lifestyle interventions) in adults with mild to moderate depression and high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.

This was a randomized, double-blind, 12 week attention-controlled trial comparing an iCBT program (E-couch) with an internet-delivered attention control health information package (HealthWatch, n = 282).

The primary outcome measured was depression symptom level on the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) (trial registration: ACTRN12610000085077).

Out of 562 subjects, there were 487 completers (88%) who lasted to the final assessment.

 
Aromatherapy Massage & Reflexology Found Equally Effective for Cancer Patients | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 26 May 2014

Researchers from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London, UK, compared the efficacy of reflexology vs. aromatherapy massage for ameliorating stated symptoms of concern in cancer patients.
 
Adult oncology patients in this non-blinded, randomized study were randomized to either four aromatherapy massage or four reflexology sessions. MYCaW scores were taken at baseline and completion; VAS relaxation scores were gathered pre and post-sessions.

Measuring instruments consisted of unpaired t-tests for the primary outcome; analysis of variance tests for repeated measures for VAS (relaxation); descriptive statistics (means and 95% confidence intervals) and content analysis for patient comments.

 
Reduced Depression a Possible Key to 12-Step Success | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 19 May 2014

Investigators from San Diego State University/University of California looked at whether, for dual diagnosis veterans with substance dependence and major depressive disorder, 12-Step success with alcohol and drug use might be mediated by reductions in depression. 

Veterans (209) with this dual diagnosis (chemical dependency and depression) were enrolled in this controlled trial, randomized to either Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) or Integrated Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (ICBT), delivered in out-patient groups for 6 months, with support from medication.

Twelve-Step attendance and affiliation, depression severity, percentage of days drinking and percentage of days using drugs were assessed at baseline and at months 3, 6 and 9.

Greater 12-Step meeting attendance predicted lower depression and mediated the superior depression outcomes of the TSF group, explaining 24.3% of the group difference in depression.

 
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