In a feasibility study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, investigators looked at whether Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) could decrease blood pressure in low-income, urban, African-American older adults, and whether such an intervention would be acceptable to and feasible with minority, low income, older adults when provided at home.
The study was launched because (1) hypertension affects a large proportion of urban African-American older adults; and (2) many older adults don’t have access to medicine and/or don’t take them when they do have them.
Participants were at least 62 years old and residents of a low-income senior residence. All were African-American, mostly female. Twenty participants were randomized to the mindfulness-based intervention or a social support control group, both of which were 8 weeks duration.
Blood pressure was measured with the Omron automatic blood pressure machine at baseline and at the end of the 8-week intervention.
In this feasibility study, investigators from Baylor University in Waco, TX examined whether a hypnotic intervention could reduce hot flashes.
Thirteen postmenopausal women received 5 sessions of guided self-hypnosis in which all hypnotic inductions were recordings. Additionally, they were given guidance regarding symptom monitoring, individualizing their guided imagery, and on the general practice of self-hypnosis.
Hot flashes were determined through diaries.
Results indicated that the average frequency of hot flashes decreased by 72% (p < .001) and hot-flash scores decreased by 76% (p < .001) on average.
Investigators from the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor examined the effects of using our Healthful Sleep guided imagery on post-cardiac surgery sleep disturbances (problems with sleep quality, time taken to fall asleep and total sleep time) and systemic inflammatory response, as measured by stress hormones and inflammatory markers, including cortisol and C-reactive proteins. These post-surgical difficulties are exacerbated when a patient is put on a bypass machine, and are predictors of post-op morbidity and mortality.
Of the 52 patients who provided informed consent, 27 were randomly assigned to the guided imagery group and 25 to usual care only during the ICU and step-down phases of post-op recovery. Of these, 5 in each group were lost to follow-up.
Investigators from Tianjin Medical University’s School of Nursing in Tianjin, China, conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of yoga on psychological health and quality of life (QoL) in women with breast cancer.
A systematic search was done using PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, and the Chinese Digital Journals Full-text Database. Analysts used randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effects of yoga as compared to a control group (treatment as usual or TAU), on psychological functioning and QoL in women with breast cancer.
Six studies involving 382 patients were included for review. The meta-analysis revealed that yoga improves quality of life for women with breast cancer, yielding a statistically significant effect (p=0.03, standard mean difference = 0.27, 95% confidence interval [0.02, 0.52]).
Dutch researchers from Emma Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam reviewed the literature to see if gut-directed hypnotherapy was as effective for children as it is for adults suffering from functional abdominal pain (FAP) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Investigators searched Medline, Embase, PsychINFO, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for randomized controlled trials (RCT) with child subjects with FAP or IBS. They looked at the efficacy of hypnotherapy on abdominal pain, quality of life, treatment costs and school absenteeism.
Researchers from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, examined the efficacy of CAM (complementary and alternative) therapies, including mind-body techniques, acupuncture and physical treatments for tension type headaches.
The investigators noted that while pharmacotherapy with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and tricyclic antidepressants comprise the traditional treatment of tension-type headaches (TTH), the use of other therapeutic approaches, in combination with medications, can increase the success of treatment.
The assumption was that especially patients with comorbid mood disorders and frequent headaches might benefit from some of these nonpharmacologic approaches.
Belgian researchers from the University Psychiatric Center, KULeuven Campus in Kortenberg investigated the efficacy of a manualized cognitive-behavioral (CBT) approach for patients with obesity and binge eating disorder (BED), on the short and longer term.
Investigators used a prospective study without a control group, consisting of three measurements (a baseline measurement and two follow-up assessments, up to 5 years after the start of the CBT treatment).
A total of 56 patients with obesity and BED (mean age = 39.7 ± 10-9 years; body mass index [BMI] = 38.5 ± 8.3 kg/m (2)) participated in the study.
BMI, number of binges per week, general psychological well-being, mood, attitude toward one's body, and loss of control over the eating behavior were evaluated by means of mixed models.
Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Southampton in the UK undertook meta-analyses of the efficacy of various non-pharmaceutical interventions for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) – dietary approaches (restricted elimination diets, artificial food color exclusions, and free fatty acid supplementation) as well as psychological interventions (cognitive training, neurofeedback, and behavioral interventions).
The authors searched electronic databases to identify published, randomized, controlled trials that involved individuals who were diagnosed with ADHD and included an ADHD outcome.
Researchers from the Department of Family and Community Health at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing in Richmond, Virginia, and Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, conducted a feasibility study examining the impact of guided imagery on maternal stress in at risk, hospitalized pregnant women suffering from conditions such as preterm labor, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, incompetent cervix, multiple gestation, and so forth.
The investigators used a repeated-measures, pre-/posttest design. Mean stress and systolic blood pressure measurements were significantly lower after the intervention, as compared to before listening to the guided imagery CD. Measures were taken on Day one and whatever the last day was – number of days varied and could be from 2 to 10 days.
This study from the Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine in Santa Rosa CA, examined the effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy combining cognitive and somatic elements, on posttraumatic stress (PTSD) and psychological distress symptoms in veterans receiving mental health services.
Veterans meeting the clinical criteria for PTSD were randomized to either an EFT protocol (n = 30) or standard care/wait list (SOC/WL; n = 29). T he EFT intervention consisted of 6 one hour-long EFT coaching sessions, concurrent with standard care. The two groups were compared before and after the intervention (at 1 month for the SOC/WL group and after six sessions for the EFT group).
The EFT subjects had significantly reduced psychological distress (p < 0.0012) and PTSD symptom levels (p < 0.0001) after. In addition, 90% of the EFT group no longer met PTSD clinical criteria, compared with 4% in the SOC/WL group.
Researchers from the Department of Rheumatology of Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo, Norway, reviewed the evidence around the impact of Tai Chi and yoga on the management of rheumatologic and muscular-skeletal diseases, especially osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and hand, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Both these treatments have emerged over the past couple of decades as popular treatments for these conditions.
The researchers found evidence that Tai Chi and yoga are safe, and additional data showing that they have benefit, leading to a reduction of pain and an improvement of physical function and quality of life.