Tim Brunson DCH

Welcome to The International Hypnosis Research Institute Web site. Our intention is to support and promote the further worldwide integration of comprehensive evidence-based research and clinical hypnotherapy with mainstream mental health, medicine, and coaching. We do so by disseminating, supporting, and conducting research, providing professional level education, advocating increased level of practitioner competency, and supporting the viability and success of clinical practitioners. Although currently over 80% of our membership is comprised of mental health practitioners, we fully recognize the role, support, involvement, and needs of those in the medical and coaching fields. This site is not intended as a source of medical or psychological advice. -- Tim Brunson, PhD

MBSR vs. Aerobic Exercise in Social Anxiety: fMRI of Emotion Regulation of Negative Self-Beliefs.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is thought to reduce emotional reactivity and enhance emotion regulation in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD). The goal of this study was to examine the neural correlates of deploying attention to regulate responses to negative self-beliefs using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Participants were 56 patients with generalized SAD in a randomized controlled trial who were assigned to MBSR or a comparison aerobic exercise (AE) stress reduction program. Compared to AE, MBSR yielded greater (a) reductions in negative emotion when implementing regulation, and (b) increases in attention-related parietal cortical regions. Meditation practice was associated with decreases in negative emotion and social anxiety symptom severity, and increases in attention-related parietal cortex neural responses when implementing attention regulation of negative self-beliefs. Changes in attention regulation during MBSR may be an important psychological factor that helps to explain how mindfulness meditation training benefits patients with anxiety disorders.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2012 May 13. Goldin P, Ziv M, Jazaieri H, Hahn K, Gross JJ. Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Jordan Hall, Bldg. 420, Stanford, CA 94305-2130, Telephone: 650-723-5977, Fax: 650-725-5699 pgoldin@stanford.edu.

A Prospective, Multicenter Study of Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM)...

Full title: A Prospective, Multicenter Study of Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) Utilization During Definitive Radiation for Breast Cancer.

PURPOSE: Although complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) utilization in breast cancer patients is reported to be high, there are few data on CAM practices in breast patients specifically during radiation. This prospective, multi-institutional study was conducted to define CAM utilization in breast cancer during definitive radiation. MATERIALS/METHODS: A validated CAM instrument with a self-skin assessment was administered to 360 Stage 0-III breast cancer patients from 5 centers during the last week of radiation. All data were analyzed to detect significant differences between users/nonusers. RESULTS: CAM usage was reported in 54% of the study cohort (n=194/360). Of CAM users, 71% reported activity-based CAM (eg, Reiki, meditation), 26% topical CAM, and 45% oral CAM. Only 16% received advice/counseling from naturopathic/homeopathic/medical professionals before initiating CAM. CAM use significantly correlated with higher education level (P<.001), inversely correlated with concomitant hormone/radiation therapy use (P=.010), with a trend toward greater use in younger patients (P=.066). On multivariate analysis, level of education (OR: 6.821, 95% CI: 2.307-20.168, P<.001) and hormones/radiation therapy (OR: 0.573, 95% CI: 0.347-0.949, P=.031) independently predicted for CAM use. Significantly lower skin toxicity scores were reported in CAM users vs nonusers, respectively (mild: 34% vs 25%, severe: 17% vs 29%, P=.017). CONCLUSION: This is the first prospective study to assess CAM practices in breast patients during radiation, with definition of these practices as the first step for future investigation of CAM/radiation interactions. These results should alert radiation oncologists that a large percentage of breast cancer patients use CAM during radiation without disclosure or consideration for potential interactions, and should encourage increased awareness, communication, and documentation of CAM practices in patients undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jun 1. Moran MS, Ma S, Jagsi R, Yang TI, Higgins SA, Weidhaas JB, Wilson LD, Lloyd S, Peschel R, Gaudreau B, Rockwell S. Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; Department of Radiation Therapy, William W. Backus Hospital, Norwich, Connecticut.

Meditation over Medication for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?...

Full title: Meditation over Medication for Irritable Bowel Syndrome? On Exercise and Alternative Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Complimentary alternative treatment regimens are widely used in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but the evidence supporting their use varies. For psychological treatment options, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, gut-directed hypnotherapy, and psychodynamic therapy, the evidence supporting their use in IBS patients is strong, but the availability limits their use in clinical practice. Dietary interventions are commonly included in the management of IBS patients, but these are primarily based on studies assessing physiological function in relation to dietary components, and to a lesser degree upon research examining the role of dietary components in the therapeutic management of IBS. Several probiotic products improve a range of symptoms in IBS patients. Physical activity is of benefit for health in general and recent data implicates its usefulness also for IBS patients. Acupuncture does not seem to have an effect beyond placebo in IBS. A beneficial effect of some herbal treatments has been reported.

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2012 Jun 4. Asare F, Störsrud S, Simrén M. Department of Internal Medicine and clinical nutrition, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, 41345, Gothenburg, Sweden, fredrik.asare@gu.se.

Dynamical properties of BOLD activity from the ventral posteromedial cortex...

Full title: Dynamical properties of BOLD activity from the ventral posteromedial cortex associated with meditation and attentional skills.

Neuroimaging data suggest a link between the spontaneous production of thoughts during wakeful rest and slow fluctuations of activity in the default mode network (DMN), a set of brain regions with high basal metabolism and a major neural hub in the ventral posteromedial cortex (vPMC). Meta-awareness and regulation of mind-wandering are core cognitive components of most contemplative practices and to study their impact on DMN activity, we collected functional MRI (fMRI) data from a cohort of experienced Zen meditators and meditation-naive controls engaging in a basic attention-to-breathing protocol. We observed a significant group difference in the skewness of the fMRI BOLD signal from the vPMC, suggesting that the relative incidence of states of elevated vPMC activity was lower in meditators; furthermore, the same parameter was significantly correlated with performance on a rapid visual information processing (RVIP) test forsustained attention conducted outside the scanner. Finally, a functional connectivity analysis with the vPMC seed revealed a significant association of RVIP performance with the degree of temporal correlation between vPMC and the right temporoparietal junction (TPJ), a region strongly implicated in stimulus-triggered reorienting of attention. Together, these findings suggest that the vPMC BOLD signal skewness and the temporal relationship of vPMC and TPJ activities reflect the dynamic tension between mind-wandering, meta-awareness, and directed attention, and may represent a useful endophenotype for studying individual differences in attentional abilities and the impairment of the latter in specific clinical conditions.

J Neurosci. 2012 Apr 11;32(15):5242-9. Pagnoni G. Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, I-41125 Modena, Italy. giuseppe.pagnoni@unimore.it

Spiritual and religious interventions for well-being of adults in the terminal phase of disease.

BACKGROUND: As terminal disease progresses, health deteriorates and the end of life approaches, people may ask "Why this illness? Why me? Why now?" Such questions may invoke, rekindle or intensify spiritual or religious concerns. Although the processes by which these associations occur are poorly understood, there is some research evidence for associations that are mainly positive between spiritual and religious awareness and wellness, such as emotional health. OBJECTIVES: This review aimed to describe spiritual and religious interventions for adults in the terminal phase of a disease and to evaluate their effectiveness on well-being. SEARCH METHODS: We searched 14 databases to November 2011, including the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and MEDLINE. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTS) if they involved adults in the terminal phase of a disease and if they evaluated outcomes for an intervention that had a spiritual or religious component. Primary outcomes were well-being, coping with the disease and quality of life. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: In accordance with the inclusion criteria, two review authors independently screened citations. One review author extracted data which was then checked by another review author. We considered meta-analysis for studies with comparable characteristics. MAIN RESULTS: Five RCTs (1130 participants) were included. Two studies evaluated meditation, the others evaluated multi-disciplinary palliative care interventions that involved a chaplain or spiritual counsellor as a member of the intervention team. The studies evaluating meditation found no overall significant difference between those receiving meditation or usual care on quality of life or well-being. However, when meditation was combined with massage in the medium term it buffered against a reduction in quality of life. In the palliative care intervention studies there was no significant difference in quality of life or well-being between the trial arms. Coping with the disease was not evaluated in the studies. The quality of the studies was limited by under-reporting of design features. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: We found inconclusive evidence that interventions with spiritual or religious components for adults in the terminal phase of a disease may or may not enhance well-being. Such interventions are under-evaluated. All five studies identified were undertaken in the same country, and in the multi-disciplinary palliative care interventions it is unclear if all participants received support from a chaplain or a spiritual counselor. Moreover, it is unclear in all the studies whether the participants in the comparative groups received spiritual or religious support, or both, as part of routine care or from elsewhere. The paucity of quality research indicates a need for more rigorous studies.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 May 16;5:CD007544. Candy B, Jones L, Varagunam M, Speck P, Tookman A, King M. Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Unit, UCL Mental Health Sciences Unit, University College Medical School, Charles Bell House, 67 - 73 Riding House Street, London, UK, W1W 7EJ.

A systematic review of evidence for the effectiveness of practitioner-based complementary...

Full title: A systematic review of evidence for the effectiveness of practitioner-based complementary and alternative therapies in the management of rheumatic diseases: rheumatoid arthritis.

Objective. To critically review the evidence on the effectiveness of complementary therapies for patients with RA.Methods. Randomized controlled trials, published in English up to May 2011, were identified using systematic searches of bibliographic databases and searching of reference lists. Information was extracted on outcomes and statistical significance in comparison with alternative treatments and reported side effects. The methodological quality of the identified studies was determined using the Jadad scoring system. All outcomes were considered but with a focus on patient global assessment and pain reporting. Results. Eleven eligible trials were identified covering seven therapies. Three trials that compared acupuncture with sham acupuncture reported no significant difference in pain reduction between the groups but one out of two reported an improvement in patient global assessment. Except for reduction in physician's global assessment of treatment and disease activity reported in one trial, no other comparative benefit of acupuncture was seen. There were two studies on meditation and one each on autogenic training, healing therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, static magnets and tai chi. None of these trials reported positive comparative effects on pain but some positive effects on patient global assessment were noted at individual time points in the healing therapy and magnet therapy studies. A small number of other outcomes showed comparative improvement in individual trials. There were no reports of major adverse events.Conclusion. The very limited evidence available indicates that for none of the practitioner-based complementary therapies considered here is there good evidence of efficacy or effectiveness in the management of RA.

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2012 Jun 1. Macfarlane GJ, Paudyal P, Doherty M, Ernst E, Lewith G, Macpherson H, Sim J, Jones GT; on behalf of the Arthritis Research UK Working Group on Complementary and Alternative Therapies for the Management of the Rheumatic Diseases. Musculoskeletal Research (Epidemiology Group), School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK, Clinical and Epidemiological Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, Complementary and Integrated Medicine Research Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York and Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.

Meditation and the startle response: A case study.

The effects of two kinds of meditation (open presence and focused) on the facial and physiological aspects of the defensive response to an aversive startle stimulus were studied in a Buddhist monk with approximately 40 years of meditation experience. The participant was exposed to a 115-db, 100-ms acoustic startle stimulus under the 2 meditation conditions, a distraction condition (to control for cognitive and attentional load) and an unanticipated condition (startle presented without warning or instruction). A completely counterbalanced 24-trial, single-subject design was used, with each condition repeated 6 times. Most aspects of the participant's responses in the unanticipated condition did not differ from those of a comparison group of 12 age-matched male controls. Both kinds of meditation produced physiological and facial responses to the startle that were smaller than in the distraction condition. Within meditation conditions, open presence meditation produced smaller physiological and facial responses than focused meditation. These results from a single highly expert meditator indicate that these 2 kinds of meditation can differentially alter the magnitude of a primitive defensive response.

Emotion. 2012 Jun;12(3):650-8. Epub 2012 Apr 16. Levenson RW, Ekman P, Ricard M. Department of Psychology, University of California.

Meditation and the startle response: A case study.

The effects of two kinds of meditation (open presence and focused) on the facial and physiological aspects of the defensive response to an aversive startle stimulus were studied in a Buddhist monk with approximately 40 years of meditation experience. The participant was exposed to a 115-db, 100-ms acoustic startle stimulus under the 2 meditation conditions, a distraction condition (to control for cognitive and attentional load) and an unanticipated condition (startle presented without warning or instruction). A completely counterbalanced 24-trial, single-subject design was used, with each condition repeated 6 times. Most aspects of the participant's responses in the unanticipated condition did not differ from those of a comparison group of 12 age-matched male controls. Both kinds of meditation produced physiological and facial responses to the startle that were smaller than in the distraction condition. Within meditation conditions, open presence meditation produced smaller physiological and facial responses than focused meditation. These results from a single highly expert meditator indicate that these 2 kinds of meditation can differentially alter the magnitude of a primitive defensive response.

Emotion. 2012 Jun;12(3):650-8. Epub 2012 Apr 16. Levenson RW, Ekman P, Ricard M. Department of Psychology, University of California.

Behavioral activation-based guided self-help treatment...

Full title: Behavioral activation-based guided self-help treatment administered through a smartphone application: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The need for cost-effective interventions for people suffering from major depressive disorders is essential. Behavioral activation is an intervention that can largely benefit from the use of new mobile technologies (for example smartphones). Therefore, developing smartphone-based behavioral activation interventions might be a way to develop cost-effective treatments for people suffering from major depressive disorders. The aim of this study will be to test the effects of a smartphone-delivered behavioral activation treatment. METHODS: The study will be a randomized controlled trial with a sample size of 120 participants, with 60 patients in each group. The treatment group includes an 8-week smartphone-based behavioral activation intervention, with minimal therapist contact. The smartphone-based intervention consists of a web-based psychoeducation, and a smartphone application. There is also a back-end system where the therapist can see reports from the patients or activities being reported. In the attention control group, we will include brief online education and then recommend use of a smartphone application that is not directly aimed at depression (for example, 'Effective meditation'). The duration of the control condition will also be 8 weeks. For ethical reasons we will give the participants in the control group access to the behavioral activation treatment following the 8-week treatment period. Discussions We believe that this trial has at least three important implications. First, we believe that smartphones can be integrated even further into society and therefore may serve an important role in health care. Second, while behavioral activation is a psychological treatment approach for which there is empirical support, the use of a smartphone application could serve as the therapist's prolonged arm into the daily life of the patient. Third, as we have been doing trials on guided Internet treatment for more than 10 years it is now time to move to the next generation of information technology - smartphones - which are not only relevant for Swedish conditions but also for developing countries in the world which are increasingly empowered by mobile phones with Internet connection. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov

Trials. 2012 May 18;13(1):62. Ly KH, Carlbring P, Andersson G.

The Theoretical and Empirical Basis for Meditation as an Intervention for PTSD.

In spite of the existence of good empirically supported treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), consumers and providers continue to ask for more options for managing this common and often chronic condition. Meditation-based approaches are being widely implemented, but there is minimal research rigorously assessing their effectiveness. This article reviews meditation as an intervention for PTSD, considering three major types of meditative practices: mindfulness, mantra, and compassion meditation. The mechanisms by which these approaches may effectively reduce PTSD symptoms and improve quality of life are presented. Empirical evidence of the efficacy of meditation for PTSD is very limited but holds some promise. Additional evaluation of meditation-based treatment appears to be warranted.

Behav Modif. 2012 Jun 5. Lang AJ, Strauss JL, Bomyea J, Bormann JE, Hickman SD, Good RC, Essex M.

Effect of a yoga program on glucose metabolism and blood lipid levels in adolescent girls...

Full title: Effect of a yoga program on glucose metabolism and blood lipid levels in adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of yoga therapy on glucose metabolism and blood lipid values in adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). METHODS: A prospective, randomized, interventional controlled trial recruited 90 adolescents aged between 15 and 18years who met the Rotterdam criteria for PCOS. A yoga group practiced suryanamaskara, asanas, pranayama, and meditation 1hour per day each day for12weeks while another group practiced conventional physical exercises. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare score changes between the 2 groups.RESULTS: The changes in fasting insulin, fasting blood glucose, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance were significantly different in the 2 groups (P<0.05). Except for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the changes in blood lipid values were also significantly different (P<0.05). The changes in body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio, however, were not significantly different (P>0.05).CONCLUSION: Yoga was found to be more effective than conventional physical exercises in improving glucose, lipid, and insulin values, including insulin resistance values, in adolescent girls with PCOS independent of anthropometric changes. Central Trial Registry of India No.: REFCTRI-2008 000291.

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2012 Jul;118(1):37-41. Epub 2012 Apr 14. Nidhi R, Padmalatha V, Nagarathna R, Ram A. Division of Yoga and Life Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYSA) University, Bengaluru, India.

Tai Chi and Chronic Pain.

ABSTRACT: In the last 2 decades, a growing body of research aimed at investigating the health benefits of Tai Chi in various chronic health conditions has been recognized in the literature. This article reviewed the history, the philosophy, and the evidence for the role of Tai Chi in a few selected chronic pain conditions. The ancient health art of Tai Chi contributes to chronic pain management in 3 major areas: adaptive exercise, mind-body interaction, and meditation. Trials examining the health benefit of Tai Chi in chronic pain conditions are mostly low quality. Only 5 pain conditions were reviewed: osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, and headache. Of these, Tai Chi seems to be an effective intervention in osteoarthritis, low back pain, and fibromyalgia. The limitations of the Tai Chi study design and suggestions for the direction of future research are also discussed.

Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2012 May 17. Peng PW. From the Department of Anesthesia, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto; and Wasser Pain Management Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada.

Impact of transcendental meditation on left ventricular mass in African American adolescents.

Background. An early sign of ventricular remodeling is increased left ventricular mass (LVM) which over time may lead to left ventricular hypertrophy, the strongest predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, other than advancing age. Methods. 62 (30 TM; 32 CTL) African American adolescents (age 16.2 ± 1.3 years) with high normal systolic BP were randomly assigned to either 4-month Transcendental Meditation (TM) or health education control groups. The echocardiographic-derived measure of LVM index (LVMI = LVM/ht(2.7)) was measured before and after the 4-month TM study and at 4-month followup. 2D-guided M-mode echocardiography using a Hewlett Packard 5500 echosonograph was used to determine LVMI. Results. The TM group exhibited a greater decrease in LVMI at 4-month followup compared to the CTL group (-2.6 versus +0.3?gm/ht(2.7), P < 0.04). The TM group exhibited a lesser increase in BMI at 4-month follow-up compared to the CTL group (0.2 ± 1.6 versus 1.1 ± 1.4, P < 0.03). Conclusion. These findings indicate that among a group of prehypertensive African American adolescents, 4 months of TM compared to heath education resulted in a significant decrease in VMI, and these changes were maintained at 4-month follow-up.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:923153. Epub 2012 May 22. Barnes VA, Kapuku GK, Treiber FA. Department of Pediatrics, Georgia Prevention Institute, Georgia Health Sciences University, HS1640, Augusta, GA 30912-3710, USA.

Meditation, mindfulness and executive control: the importance of emotional acceptance ...

Full title: Meditation, mindfulness and executive control: the importance of emotional acceptance and brain-based performance monitoring.

Previous studies have documented the positive effects of mindfulness meditation on executive control. What has been lacking, however, is an understanding of the mechanism underlying this effect. Some theorists have described mindfulness as embodying two facets-present moment awareness and emotional acceptance. Here, we examine how the effect of meditation practice on executive control manifests in the brain, suggesting that emotional acceptance and performance monitoring play important roles. We investigated the effect of meditation practice on executive control and measured the neural correlates of performance monitoring, specifically, the error-related negativity (ERN), a neurophysiological response that occurs within 100?ms of error commission. Meditators and controls completed a Stroop task, during which we recorded ERN amplitudes with electroencephalography. Meditators showed greater executive control (i.e. fewer errors), a higher ERN and more emotional acceptance than controls. Finally, mediation pathway models further revealed that meditation practice relates to greater executive control and that this effect can be accounted for by heightened emotional acceptance, and to a lesser extent, increased brain-based performance monitoring.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2012 May 13. Teper R, Inzlicht M. Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON, Canada M1C 1A4. rimma.teper@gmail.com.

Quality of life and functional health status of long-term meditators.

Background. There is very little data describing the long-term health impacts of meditation. Aim. To compare the quality of life and functional health of long-term meditators to that of the normative population in Australia. Method. Using the SF-36 questionnaire and a Meditation Lifestyle Survey, we sampled 343 long-term Australian Sahaja Yoga meditation practitioners and compared their scores to those of the normative Australian population. Results. Six SF-36 subscales (bodily pain, general health, mental health, role limitation-emotional, social functioning, and vitality) were significantly better in meditators compared to the national norms whereas two of the subscales (role limitation-physical, physical functioning) were not significantly different. A substantial correlation between frequency of mental silence experience and the vitality, general health, and especially mental health subscales (P < 0.005) was found. Conclusion. Long-term practitioners of Sahaja yoga meditation experience better functional health, especially mental health, compared to the general population. A relationship between functional health, especially mental health, and the frequency of meditative experience (mental silence) exists that may be causal. Evidence for the potential role of this definition of meditation in enhancing quality of life, functional health and wellbeing is growing.Implications for primary mental health prevention are discussed.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:350674. Epub 2012 May 7. Manocha R, Black D, Wilson L. Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia.

The influence of concentration/meditation on autonomic nervous system activity...

Full title: The influence of concentration/meditation on autonomic nervous system activity and the innate immune response: a case study.

Objective In this case study, we describe the effects of a particular individual's concentration/meditation technique on autonomic nervous system activity and the innate immune response. The study participant holds several world records with regard to tolerating extreme cold and claims that he can influence his autonomic nervous system and thereby his innate immune response. Methods The individual's ex vivo cytokine response (stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) was determined before and after an 80-minute full-body ice immersion during which the individual practiced his concentration/meditation technique. Furthermore, the individual's in vivo innate immune response was studied while practicing his concentration/mediation technique during human endotoxemia (intravenous administration of 2 ng/kg LPS).The results from the endotoxemia experiment were compared with a historical cohort of 112 individuals who participated in endotoxemia experiments in our institution. Results The ex vivo proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine response was greatly attenuated by concentration/meditation during ice immersion, accompanied by high levels of cortisol. In the endotoxemia experiment, concentration/meditation resulted in increased circulating concentrations of catecholamines, and plasma cortisol concentrations were higher than in any of the previously studied participants. The individual's in vivo cytokine response and clinical symptoms after LPS administration were remarkably low compared with previously studied participants. Conclusions The concentration/meditation technique used by this particular individual seems to evoke a controlled stress response. This response is characterized by sympathetic nervous system activation and subsequent catecholamine/cortisol release, which seems to attenuate the innate immune response.

Psychosom Med. 2012 Jun;74(5):489-94. Kox M, Stoffels M, Smeekens SP, van Alfen N, Gomes M, Eijsvogels TM, Hopman MT, van der Hoeven JG, Netea MG, Pickkers P. Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Internal Mail 710, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Geert Grooteplein 10, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. m.kox@ic.umcn.nl.

Drug addiction, love, and the higher power.

This discussion piece suggests that reliance on a Higher Power in drug abuse recovery programs is entertained among some addicts for its psychobiological effects. Prayer, meditation, early romantic love, and drug abuse may have in common activation of mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways of the brain and the generation of intense emotional states. In this sense, reliance on a Higher Power may operate as a substitute addiction, which replaces the psychobiological functions formerly served by drug use. Implications of this perspective are discussed.

Eval Health Prof. 2011 Sep;34(3):362-70. Sussman S, Reynaud M, Aubin HJ, Leventhal AM. 1Departments of Preventive Medicine and Psychology, University of Southern California, CA, USA.

EEG Spectral Analysis on Muslim Prayers.

This study investigated the proposition of relaxation offered by performing the Muslim prayers by measuring the alpha brain activity in the frontal (F3-F4), central (C3-C4), parietal (P3-P4), and occipital (O1-O2) electrode placements using the International 10-20 System. Nine Muslim subjects were asked to perform the four required cycles of movements of Dhuha prayer, and the EEG were subsequently recorded with open eyes under three conditions, namely, resting, performing four cycles of prayer while reciting the specific verses and supplications, and performing four cycles of acted salat condition (prayer movements without any recitations). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests revealed that there were no significant difference in the mean alpha relative power (RP(a)) between the alpha amplitude in the Dhuha prayer and the acted conditions in all eight electrode positions. However, the mean RP(a) showed higher alpha amplitude during the prostration position of the Dhuha prayer and acted condition at the parietal and occipital regions in comparison to the resting condition. Findings were similar to other studies documenting increased alpha amplitude in parietal and occipital regions during meditation and mental concentration. The incidence of increased alpha amplitude suggested parasympathetic activation, thus indicating a state of relaxation. Subsequent studies are needed to delineate the role of mental concentration, and eye focus, on alpha wave amplitude while performing worshipping acts.

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2011 Oct 1. Doufesh H, Faisal T, Lim KS, Ibrahim F. Medical Informatics and Biological Micro-electro-mechanical Systems (MIMEMS) Specialized Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Comparing Buddhism and Hypnotherapy

by Tim Brunson, PhD

The recent cliché-like interest in the application of mindfulness practices within psychotherapy is now being extended to the exploration of its similarities and differences with clinical hypnotherapy. At best this is a difficult and frustrating stretch as it almost always entails a more than simplistic understanding of Buddhism. Furthermore, considering the half-dozen or so rather conflicting definitions of the word hypnosis, any analysis runs the risk of using an antiquated understanding of the field. So, this normally results in an oversimplification of Buddhist mindfulness being compared to a rather incomplete understanding of hypnosis.


Combined Therapy Using Acupressure Therapy, Hypnotherapy, and Transcendental Meditation...

Full Title: Combined Therapy Using Acupressure Therapy, Hypnotherapy, and Transcendental Meditation versus Placebo in Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most widespread diseases in the world. The main aim of this research was to evaluate the effect of combined therapy using acupressure therapy, hypnotherapy, and transcendental meditation (TM) on the blood sugar (BS) level in comparison with placebo in type 2 diabetic patients. We used "convenience sampling" for selection of patients with type 2 diabetes; 20 patients were recruited. For collection of data, we used an identical quasi-experimental design called "nonequivalent control group." Therapy sessions each lasting 60-90min were carried out on 10 successive days. We prescribed 2 capsules (containing 3g of wheat flour each) for each member of the placebo group (one for evening and one for morning). Pre-tests, post-tests, and follow-up tests were conducted in a medical laboratory recognized by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of Iran. Mean BS level in the post-tests and follow-up tests for the experimental group was reduced significantly in comparison with the pre-tests whereas in the placebo group no changes were observed. Combined therapy including acupressure therapy, hypnotherapy, and TM reduced BS of type 2 diabetic patients and was more effective than placebo therapy on this parameter.

J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2011 Sep;4(3):183-6. Bay R, Bay F. Department of Family Medicine, University Sains Malaysia (USM), Malaysia.

Meditation for the management of adjustment disorder anxiety and depression.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of Meditation training on patients with adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression. METHOD: In a pre-test/post-test control group design, patients (N = 30) with adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depression, were screened through a Clinical Global Impression-severity/Improvement Scale, Beck's Anxiety, Beck's Depression Inventory, and Global Assessment of Functioning. Sessions of meditation training (28 weeks) were held using the model of Yoga Meditation. The difference of means (pre- and post-assessment) was tested using a paired t-test method. RESULTS: Experimental group and control groups were similar at base line, whereas after concluding the 28th week of meditation practice a significant mean difference (t value: CGI-S 2.47 > .05; CGI-I2.82 > 0.05; BAI 17.58 > 0.05; BDI 10.13 > 0.05; GAF 12.29 > 0.05) was found between both groups. There was an incremental change in selected assessment parameters in both groups. But changes were more significant in pre- and post-assessment of experimental group.

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Nov;17(4):241-5. Srivastava M, Talukdar U, Lahan V. Department of Holistic Medicine, H.I.H.T. University, Swami Ram Nagar, Jollygrant Doiwala, Dehradun 248140, Uttarakhand, India.

Activation of the anterior prefrontal cortex and serotonergic system is associated with...

Full title: 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.

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.

Int J Psychophysiol. 2011 May;80(2):103-11. Epub 2011 Feb 17. Yu X, Fumoto M, Nakatani Y, Sekiyama T, Kikuchi H, Seki Y, Sato-Suzuki I, Arita H. Department of Physiology, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training on intrinsic brain connectivity.

The beneficial effects of mindful awareness and mindfulness meditation training on physical and psychological health are thought to be mediated in part through changes in underlying brain processes. Functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) allows identification of functional networks in the brain. It has been used to examine state-dependent activity and is well suited for studying states such as meditation. We applied fcMRI to determine if Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training is effective in altering intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs). Healthy women were randomly assigned to participate in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training course or an 8-week waiting period. After 8 weeks, fMRI data (1.5T) was acquired while subjects rested with eyes closed, with the instruction to pay attention to the sounds of the scanner environment. Group independent component analysis was performed to investigate training-related changes in functional connectivity. Significant MBSR-related differences in functional connectivity were found mainly in auditory/salience and medial visual networks. Relative to findings in the control group, MBSR subjects showed (1) increased functional connectivity within auditory and visual networks, (2) increased functional connectivity between auditory cortex and areas associated with attentional and self-referential processes, (3) stronger anticorrelation between auditory and visual cortex, and (4) stronger anticorrelation between visual cortex and areas associated with attentional and self-referential processes. These findings suggest that 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation training alters intrinsic functional connectivity in ways that may reflect a more consistent attentional focus, enhanced sensory processing, and reflective awareness of sensory experience.

Neuroimage. 2011 May 1;56(1):290-8. Epub 2011 Feb 18. Kilpatrick LA, Suyenobu BY, Smith SR, Bueller JA, Goodman T, Creswell JD, Tillisch K, Mayer EA, Naliboff BD. David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. lakilpatrick@mednet.ucla.edu

Intracerebral source generators characterizing concentrative meditation.

Previous researchers have studied meditation practices as a means to understand consciousness as well as altered states of consciousness. Various meditation techniques, such as Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Qigong, have been explored with source localization tools; however, the concentrative meditation technique has yet to be fully studied in this manner. The current study demonstrates findings, which outline differential activation in a self-referential default network during meditation in participants who espouse themselves as regular concentrative meditation practitioners, as well as comparisons with a control group practicing a modified version of the relaxation response. The results are compared with other putative experimental findings employing other meditation techniques, and the findings outlined in the current study are discussed with respect to changes in perceptual awareness often reported by meditators.

Cogn Process. 2011 May;12(2):141-50. Epub 2011 Feb 25. Lavallee CF, Hunter MD, Persinger MA. Psychology Department, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada. cx_lavallee@laurentian.ca

Complementary medicine, self-help, and lifestyle interventions for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Full title: Complementary medicine, self-help, and lifestyle interventions for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and the OCD spectrum: A systematic review.

BACKGROUND: In Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) current standard pharmacotherapies may be of limited efficacy. Non-conventional interventions such as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), self-help techniques, and lifestyle interventions are commonly used by sufferers of OCD, however to date no systematic review of this specific area exists. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review of studies using CAM, self-help, and lifestyle interventions for treatment of OCD and trichotillomania (TTM). PubMed, PsycINFO, China Academic Journals Full-text Database, The Cochrane Library and CINAHL were searched (up to Jan 11th 2011), for controlled clinical trials using non-conventional interventions for OCD. A quality analysis using a purpose-designed scale and an estimation of effect sizes (Cohen's d) where data was available, were also calculated. RESULTS: The literature search revealed 14 studies that met inclusion criteria. Methodological quality of nutraceutical studies (nutrients and herbal medicines) were rated as high (mean 8.6/10), whereas mind-body or self-help studies were poorer (mean 6.1/10). In OCD, tentative evidentiary support from methodologically weak studies was found for mindfulness meditation (d=0.63), electroacupuncture (d=1.16), and kundalini yoga (d=1.61). Better designed studies using the nutrient glycine (d=1.10), and traditional herbal medicines milk thistle (insufficient data for calculating d) and borage (d=1.67) also revealed positive results. A rigorous study showed that N-acetylcysteine (d=1.31) was effective in TTM, while self-help technique "movement decoupling" also demonstrated efficacy (d=0.94). Mixed evidence was found for myo-inositol (mean d=0.98). Controlled studies suggest that St John's wort, EPA, and meridian-tapping are ineffective in treating OCD. CONCLUSIONS: While several studies were positive, these were un-replicated and commonly used small samples. This precludes firm confidence in the strength of clinical effect. Preliminary evidence however is encouraging, and more rigorous research of some of the more hypothesis-based interventions in the treatment of OCD and TTM may be indicated.

J Affect Disord. 2011 May 25. Sarris J, Camfield D, Berk M. The University of Melbourne, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Australia; Swinburne University of Technology, Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Australia.

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for psychiatric disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Mindfulness- based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a meditation program based on an integration of Cognitive behavioural therapy and Mindfulness-based stress reduction. The aim of the present work is to review and conduct a meta-analysis of the current findings about the efficacy of MBCT for psychiatric patients. A literature search was undertaken using five electronic databases and references of retrieved articles. Main findings included the following: 1) MBCT in adjunct to usual care was significantly better than usual care alone for reducing major depression (MD) relapses in patients with three or more prior depressive episodes (4 studies), 2) MBCT plus gradual discontinuation of maintenance ADs was associated to similar relapse rates at 1year as compared with continuation of maintenance antidepressants (1 study), 3) the augmentation of MBCT could be useful for reducing residual depressive symptoms in patients with MD (2 studies) and for reducing anxiety symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder in remission (1 study) and in patients with some anxiety disorders (2 studies). However, several methodological shortcomings including small sample sizes, non-randomized design of some studies and the absence of studies comparing MBCT to control groups designed to distinguish specific from non-specific effects of such practice underscore the necessity for further research.

Psychiatry Res. 2011 May 30;187(3):441-53. Epub 2010 Sep 16. Chiesa A, Serretti A. Institute of Psychiatry, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy. albertopnl@yahoo.it

Effects of mindfulness meditation training on anticipatory alpha modulation...

Full title: Effects of mindfulness meditation training on anticipatory alpha modulation in primary somatosensory cortex.

During selective attention, ~7-14Hz alpha rhythms are modulated in early sensory cortices, suggesting a mechanistic role for these dynamics in perception. Here, we investigated whether alpha modulation can be enhanced by "mindfulness" meditation (MM), a program training practitioners in sustained attention to body and breath-related sensations. We hypothesized that participants in the MM group would exhibit enhanced alpha power modulation in a localized representation in the primary somatosensory neocortex in response to a cue, as compared to participants in the control group. Healthy subjects were randomized to 8-weeks of MM training or a control group. Using magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recording of the SI finger representation, we found meditators demonstrated enhanced alpha power modulation in response to a cue. This finding is the first to show enhanced local alpha modulation following sustained attentional training, and implicates this form of enhanced dynamic neural regulation in the behavioral effects of meditative practice.

Brain Res Bull. 2011 May 30;85(3-4):96-103. Epub 2011 Apr 8. Kerr CE, Jones SR, Wan Q, Pritchett DL, Wasserman RH, Wexler A, Villanueva JJ, Shaw JR, Lazar SW, Kaptchuk TJ, Littenberg R, Hämäläinen MS, Moore CI. Harvard Osher Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Examining Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Perceptions from Minority Older Adults...

Full title: Examining Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Perceptions from Minority Older Adults Residing in a Low-income Housing Facility.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs are becoming increasingly common, but have not been studied in low income minority older populations. We sought to understand which parts of MBSR were most important to practicing MBSR members of this population, and to understand whether they apply their training to daily challenges. METHODS: We conducted three focus groups with 13 current members of an MBSR program. Participants were African American women over the age of 60 in a low-income housing residence. We tape recorded each session and subsequently used inductive content analysis to identify primary themes. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Analysis of the focus group responses revealed three primary themes: stress management, applying mindfulness, and the social support of the group meditation. The stressors they cited using MBSR with included growing older with physical pain, medical tests, financial strain, and having grandchildren with significant mental, physical, financial or legal hardships. We found that participants particularly used their MBSR training for coping with medical procedures, and managing both depression and anger. CONCLUSION: A reflective stationary intervention delivered in-residence could be an ideal mechanism to decrease stress in low-income older adult's lives and improve their health.

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 May 31;11(1):44. Szanton SL, Wenzel J, Connolly AB, Piferi RL.

The neural substrates of mindfulness: An fMRI investigation.

"Mindfulness" is a capacity for heightened present-moment awareness that we all possess to a greater or lesser extent. Enhancing this capacity through training has been shown to alleviate stress and promote physical and mental well-being. As a consequence, interest in mindfulness is growing and so is the need to better understand it. This study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify the brain regions involved in state mindfulness and to shed light on its mechanisms of action. Significant signal decreases were observed during mindfulness meditation in midline cortical structures associated with interoception, including bilateral anterior insula, left ventral anterior cingulate cortex, right medial prefrontal cortex, and bilateral precuneus. Significant signal increase was noted in the right posterior cingulate cortex. These findings lend support to the theory that mindfulness achieves its positive outcomes through a process of disidentification.

Soc Neurosci. 2011 Jun;6(3):231-42. Epub 2010 Sep 9. Ives-Deliperi VL, Solms M, Meintjes EM. University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators.

BACKGROUND: Telomerase activity is a predictor of long-term cellular viability, which decreases with chronic psychological distress (Epel et al., 2004). Buddhist traditions claim that meditation decreases psychological distress and promotes well-being (e.g., Dalai Lama and Cutler, 2009). Therefore, we investigated the effects of a 3-month meditation retreat on telomerase activity and two major contributors to the experience of stress: Perceived Control (associated with decreased stress) and Neuroticism (associated with increased subjective distress). We used mediation models to test whether changes in Perceived Control and Neuroticism explained meditation retreat effects on telomerase activity. In addition, we investigated whether two qualities developed by meditative practice, increased Mindfulness and Purpose in Life, accounted for retreat-related changes in the two stress-related variables and in telomerase activity. METHODS: Retreat participants (n=30) meditated for ~6h daily for 3 months and were compared with a wait-list control group (n=30) matched for age, sex, body mass index, and prior meditation experience. Retreat participants received instruction in concentrative meditation techniques and complementary practices used to cultivate benevolent states of mind (Wallace, 2006). Psychological measures were assessed pre- and post-retreat. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples were collected post-retreat for telomerase activity. Because there were clear, a priori hypotheses, 1-tailed significance criteria were used throughout. RESULTS: Telomerase activity was significantly greater in retreat participants than in controls at the end of the retreat (p<0.05). Increases in Perceived Control, decreases in Neuroticism, and increases in both Mindfulness and Purpose in Life were greater in the retreat group (p<0.01). Mediation analyses indicated that the effect of the retreat on telomerase was mediated by increased Perceived Control and decreased Neuroticism. In turn, changes in Perceived Control and Neuroticism were both partially mediated by increased Mindfulness and Purpose in Life. Additionally, increases in Purpose in Life directly mediated the telomerase group difference, whereas increases in Mindfulness did not. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to link meditation and positive psychological change with telomerase activity. Although we did not measure baseline telomerase activity, the data suggest that increases in perceived control and decreases in negative affectivity contributed to an increase in telomerase activity, with implications for telomere length and immune cell longevity. Further, Purpose in Life is influenced by meditative practice and directly affects both perceived control and negative emotionality, affecting telomerase activity directly as well as indirectly.

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2011 Jun;36(5):664-81. Epub 2010 Oct 29. Jacobs TL, Epel ES, Lin J, Blackburn EH, Wolkowitz OM, Bridwell DA, Zanesco AP, Aichele SR, Sahdra BK, Maclean KA, King BG, Shaver PR, Rosenberg EL, Ferrer E, Wallace BA, Saron CD. UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, Davis, CA, USA.

Factors that Influence Self-reported General Health Status Among Different Asian Ethnic Groups...

Full title: Factors that Influence Self-reported General Health Status Among Different Asian Ethnic Groups: Evidence from the Roadmap to the New Horizon: Linking Asians to Improved Health and Wellness Study.

Little is known about the determinants of self-reported general health status among different Asian ethnic subgroups. Using a community-based participatory research approach, we designed, administered, and analyzed a cross-sectional survey of 705 Asians (292 Chinese, 226 Korean, 187 Vietnamese) in the Portland, Oregon region to describe associations between general health status and several sociodemographic and health-related factors in pooled and ethnic-group-stratified samples. Ethnic variation existed in all covariate distributions, except employment, public-service use, language use, health status, visiting healthcare providers, sleep habits, and use of prayer, meditation, yoga or acupuncture. Acculturation measures were strong predictors of poor/fair health in logistic regression models regardless of ethnicity. Ethnic variation in outcome status existed for all remaining covariates. Most health-related research overlooks the heterogeneity within the Asian population. These findings highlight substantial variability in the associations between self-reported general health status and sociodemographic and health-related measures between Asian ethnic groups.

J Immigr Minor Health. 2011 Jun;13(3):555-67. Maty SC, Leung H, Lau C, Kim G. School of Community Health, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR, 97207-0751, USA, maty@pdx.edu.

Anger Regulation in Traumatized Cambodian Refugees: The Perspectives of Buddhist Monks.

Recent research has highlighted the importance of traditional methods of healing in relation to the treatment of psychological distress in non-Western populations. This pilot study, conducted in Massachusetts, investigates what Buddhist Cambodian monks consider to be the causes, phenomenology and appropriate intervention strategies for anger among Cambodian refugees. Six monks were interviewed at four major temples in Massachusetts. Findings suggested that anger was common in the Cambodian community, was frequently triggered by marital discord, and commonly resulted in verbal and physical violence and, sometimes, suicidality. Buddhist-based anger management strategies identified as useful by the monks included education about Buddhist doctrines, mindfulness meditation practices, and the use of herbal medication and holy water. These anger regulation strategies and treatments are discussed in the context of Buddhist beliefs and Western psychological interventions.

Cult Med Psychiatry. 2011 Jun 1. Nickerson A, Hinton DE. Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, One Bowdoin Square, 6th Floor, Boston, MA, 02114, USA, anickerson@psy.unsw.edu.au.

Prospects for de-automatization.

Research by Raz and his associates has repeatedly found that suggestions for hypnotic agnosia, administered to highly hypnotizable subjects, reduce or even eliminate Stroop interference. The present paper sought unsuccessfully to extend these findings to negative priming in the Stroop task. Nevertheless, the reduction of Stroop interference has broad theoretical implications, both for our understanding of automaticity and for the prospect of de-automatizing cognition in meditation and other altered states of consciousness.

Conscious Cogn. 2011 Jun;20(2):332-4. Epub 2010 Mar 30. Kihlstrom JF. Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 3210 Tolman Hall, MC 1650, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650, United States.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy...

Full title: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy - a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy - a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Objective: To systematically review the evidence for MBSR and MBCT. Method: Systematic searches of Medline, PsycInfo and Embase were performed in October 2010. MBSR, MBCT and Mindfulness Meditation were key words. Only randomized controlled trials (RCT) using the standard MBSR/MBCT programme with a minimum of 33 participants were included. Results: The search produced 72 articles, of which 21 were included. MBSR improved mental health in 11 studies compared to wait list control or treatment as usual (TAU) and was as efficacious as active control group in three studies. MBCT reduced the risk of depressive relapse in two studies compared to TAU and was equally efficacious to TAU or an active control group in two studies. Overall, studies showed medium effect sizes. Among other limitations are lack of active control group and long-term follow-up in several studies. Conclusion: Evidence supports that MBSR improves mental health and MBCT prevents depressive relapse. Future RCTs should apply optimal design including active treatment for comparison, properly trained instructors and at least one-year follow-up. Future research should primarily tackle the question of whether mindfulness itself is a decisive ingredient by controlling against other active control conditions or true treatments.

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2011 Apr 28. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01704.x. Fjorback LO, Arendt M, Ornbøl E, Fink P, Walach H. The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics, Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg Unit for Psychiatric Research, Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark Institute for Transcultural Health Studies, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt, Germany.

Buddhist group therapy for diabetes patients with depressive symptoms.

The objective of this study was to assess the effect of Buddhist group therapy on patients with type 2 diabetes who had depressive symptoms. A quasi-experimental design study using a control group with matching technique was conducted. After informed consent was obtained, the "Nine questions for assessing depressive disorder symptom" (Isan language) was used to determine the patient's condition. A total of 62 patients with type 2 diabetes who had depressive symptoms were assigned to either the experimental group (n = 32) or the control group (n = 32). Patients in the experimental group were divided further into four groups (8 patients per group) and attended the Buddhist group therapy. The intervention consisted of a weekly Buddhist group gathering lasting 2 hours for 6 weeks plus home meditation practices. Patients in the control group received treatment as usual. Both groups received standard physician treatment, including medication. Physicians did not know who was in either the control or experimental groups. Results show that 6 months after the intervention, 65.6% and 100% of patients in the control group and experimental group, respectively, returned to normal level. The intention-to-treat analysis, which included two participants in the experimental group lost follow-up, yielded a small reduction in the number of patients who returned to normal level (93.8%). With intention-to-treat analysis, the relative risk on depressive symptoms between the experimental and control groups was 6.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.4-30.6). Qualitative data from the experimental group supported that there were therapeutic group factors involved. However, patients realized the truth of being oneself and also accepted their current living condition. In conclusion, this program is effective in reducing depressive symptoms.

Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2011 Jun;25(3):195-205. Epub 2010 Nov 5. Rungreangkulkij S, Wongtakee W, Thongyot S.

Genealogy of the symbolic and archeology of theory the trajectory of Enzo Melandri.

Enzo Melandri represents an atypical route in Italian epistemology. Critic of neopositivism, he studied the relations between symbolic formations of theories and actual experience via the concept of schematism. He aimed to reincorporate science into the totality of praxis by articulating a phenomonology and archeology of knowledge. Epistemology thus becomes a meditation on the meaning of scientific reason and on its links to society.

Rev Synth. 2011 May;132(2):255-275. Cavazzini A. cavazz.a@tin.it.

A pilot study of loving-kindness meditation for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

This pilot study examined loving-kindness meditation (LKM) with 18 participants with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and significant negative symptoms. Findings indicate that the intervention was feasible and associated with decreased negative symptoms and increased positive emotions and psychological recovery.

Schizophr Res. 2011 Jul;129(2-3):137-40. Epub 2011 Mar 8. Johnson DP, Penn DL, Fredrickson BL, Kring AM, Meyer PS, Catalino LI, Brantley M. Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270, USA.

Meditation and attention: a comment on a recent article.

Meditation and attention are considered associated in different ways. For example, contemporary concepts state that to meditate, a practitioner has either to (i) focus attention on the object of meditation (FA) or (ii) maintain vigilance and disengage their attention consciously from all distracters (OM). The Indian sage Patanjali (circa 900 B.C.), mentioned that there are two stages of meditation, which differ subtly from the descriptions of FA and OM. One stage is called dharana, or focusing attention on the object of meditation. Another stage is called dhyana, during which all thoughts remain effortlessly directed to the object of meditation, excluding all other thoughts. Vigilance and attention are not required during dhyana, which is the actual phase of meditation. In a previous study, participants who practiced dharana performed better in a task for selective attention than those who practiced dhyana. Brainstem auditory evoked potential changes during the two states differed. Descriptions of yoga practices from ancient texts can give added insights about meditation and attention, supported by objective assessments.

Percept Mot Skills. 2010 Dec;111(3):918-20. Telles S, Naveen KV, Balkrishna A. Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India. shirleytelles@gmail.com

Functional magnetic resonance imaging of hippocampal activation...

FULL TITLE: Functional magnetic resonance imaging of hippocampal activation during silent mantra meditation.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of the present study was to investigate whether moderately experienced meditators activate hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex during silent mantra meditation, as has been observed in earlier studies on subjects with several years of practice. METHODS: Subjects with less than 2 years of meditation practice according to the Kundalini yoga or Acem tradition were examined by functional magnetic resonance imaging during silent mantra meditation, using an on-off block design. Whole-brain as well as region-of-interest analyses were performed. RESULTS: The most significant activation was found in the bilateral hippocampus/parahippocampal formations. Other areas with significant activation were the bilateral middle cingulate cortex and the bilateral precentral cortex. No activation in the anterior cingulate cortex was found, and only small activation clusters were observed in the prefrontal cortex. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the main finding in this study was the significant activation in the hippocampi, which also has been correlated with meditation in several previous studies on very experienced meditators. We propose that the hippocampus is activated already after moderate meditation practice and also during different modes of meditation, including relaxation. The role of hippocampal activity during meditation should be further clarified in future studies, especially by investigating whether the meditation-correlated hippocampal activity is related to memory consolidation.

J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Dec;16(12):1253-8. Engström M, Pihlsgård J, Lundberg P, Söderfeldt B. Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden. maria.engstrom@liu.se

Differential effects of mindful breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and loving-kindness...

Decentering has been proposed as a potential mechanism of mindfulness-based interventions but has received limited empirical examination to date in experimental studies comparing mindfulness meditation to active comparison conditions. In the present study, we compared the immediate effects of mindful breathing (MB) to two alternative stress-management techniques: progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and loving-kindness meditation (LKM) to test whether decentering is unique to mindfulness meditation or common across approaches. Novice meditators (190 female undergraduates) were randomly assigned to complete one of three 15-min stress-management exercises (MB, PMR, or LKM) presented by audio recording. Immediately after the exercise, participants completed measures of decentering, frequency of repetitive thoughts during the exercise, and degree of negative reaction to thoughts. As predicted, participants in the MB condition reported greater decentering relative to the other two conditions. The association between frequency of repetitive thought and negative reactions to thoughts was relatively weaker in the MB condition than in the PMR and LKM conditions, in which these two variables were strongly and positively correlated. Consistent with the construct of decentering, the relative independence between these two variables in the MB condition suggests that mindful breathing may help to reduce reactivity to repetitive thoughts. Taken together, results help to provide further evidence of decentering as a potential mechanism that distinguishes mindfulness practice from other credible stress-management approaches.

Feldman G, Greeson J, Senville J. Behav Res Ther. 2010 Oct;48(10):1002-11. Simmons College, Department of Psychology, Park Science Center, 300 the Fenway, Boston, MA 02114, USA. greg.feldman@simmons.edu

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