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Concept: Mindfulness

170

BACKGROUND: Tinnitus, the perception of sound in absence of an external acoustic source, impairs the quality of life in 2% of the population. Since in most cases causal treatment is not possible, the majority of therapeutic attempts aim at developing and strengthening individual coping and habituation strategies. Therapeutic interventions that incorporate training in mindfulness meditation have become increasingly popular in the treatment of stress-related disorders. Here we conducted a randomized, controlled clinical study to investigate the efficacy of a specific mindfulness- and body-psychotherapy based program in patients suffering from chronic tinnitus. METHODS: Thirty-six patients were enrolled in this pilot study. The treatment was specifically developed for tinnitus patients and is based on mindfulness and body psychotherapy. Treatment was performed as group therapy at two training weekends that were separated by an interval of 7 weeks (eleven hours/weekend) and in four further two-hour sessions (week 2, 9, 18 and 22). Patients were randomized to receive treatment either immediately or after waiting time, which served as a control condition. The primary study outcome was the change in tinnitus complaints as measured by the German Version of the Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ). RESULTS: ANOVA testing for the primary outcome showed a significant interaction effect time by group (F = 7.4; df = 1,33; p = 0.010). Post hoc t-tests indicated an amelioration of TQ scores from baseline to week 9 in both groups (intervention group: t = 6.2; df = 17; p < 0.001; control group: t = 2.5; df = 16; p = 0.023), but the intervention group improved more than the control group. Groups differed at week 7 and 9, but not at week 24 as far as the TQ score was concerned. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that this mindfulness- and body-psychotherapy-based approach is feasible in the treatment of tinnitus and merits further evaluation in clinical studies with larger sample sizes.The study is registered with clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01540357).

Concepts: Mindfulness, Psychotherapy, Meditation, Clinical research, Experimental design, ClinicalTrials.gov, Effectiveness, Clinical trial

38

Research examining nonpharmacological interventions for adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has expanded in recent years and provides patients with more treatment options. Mindfulness-based training is an example of an intervention that is gaining promising preliminary empirical support and is increasingly administered in clinical settings. The aim of this review is to provide a rationale for the application of mindfulness to individuals diagnosed with ADHD, describe the current state of the empirical basis for mindfulness training in ADHD, and summarize a treatment approach specific to adults diagnosed with ADHD: the Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) for ADHD Program. Two case study examples are provided to demonstrate relevant clinical issues for practitioners interested in this approach. Directions for future research, including mindfulness meditation as a standalone treatment and as a complementary approach to cognitive-behavioral therapy, are provided.

Concepts: Buddhist meditation, Meditation, Psychotherapy, Clinical psychology, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Major depressive disorder, Mindfulness

34

Chocolate consumption is anecdotally associated with an increase in happiness, but little experimental work has examined this effect. We combined a food type manipulation (chocolate vs. crackers) with a mindfulness manipulation (mindful consumption vs. non-mindful consumption) and examined the impact on positive mood. Participants (N = 258) were randomly assigned to eat a small portion (75 calories) of chocolate or a control food (crackers) in a mindful or non-mindful way. Participants who were instructed to mindfully eat chocolate had a greater increase in positive mood compared to participants who were instructed to eat chocolate non-mindfully or crackers either mindfully or non-mindfully. Additional analyses revealed that self-reported liking of the food partially mediated this effect. Chocolate appears to increase positive mood, but particularly when it is eaten mindfully.

Concepts: Chocolate, Mindfulness, Eating

29

We have previously found that attention to internal somatic sensations (interoceptive attention) during a heart beat perception task increases the misperception of external touch on a somatic signal detection task (SSDT), during which healthy participants erroneously report feeling near-threshold vibrations presented to their fingertip in the absence of a stimulus. However, it has been suggested that mindful interoceptive attention should result in more accurate somatic perception, due to its non-evaluative and controlled nature. To investigate this possibility, 62 participants completed the SSDT before and after a period of brief body-scan mindfulness meditation training, or a control intervention (listening to a recorded story). The meditation intervention reduced tactile misperception and increased sensitivity during the SSDT. This finding suggests that the perceptual effects of interoceptive attention depend on its particular nature, and raises the possibility that body-scan meditation could reduce the misperception of physical symptoms in individuals with medically unexplained symptoms.

Concepts: Mindfulness, Cognition, Mind, Somatosensory system, Meditation, Unsolved problems in neuroscience, Buddhist meditation, Sense

27

This randomized controlled study compared acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and a control group.

Concepts: Behaviorism, Psychotherapy, Mindfulness, Behaviour therapy, Cognitive behavioral therapy

25

To test whether a brief mindfulness meditation training intervention buffers self-reported psychological and neuroendocrine responses to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) in young adult volunteers. A second objective evaluates whether pre-existing levels of dispositional mindfulness moderate the effects of brief mindfulness meditation training on stress reactivity.

Concepts: Mindfulness, Mind-body interventions, Buddhist meditation, Meditation

10

This study examined the effects of cultivated (i.e. developed through training) and dispositional (trait) mindfulness on smooth pursuit (SPEM) and antisaccade (AS) tasks known to engage the fronto-parietal network implicated in attentional and motion detection processes, and the fronto-striatal network implicated in cognitive control, respectively.

Concepts: Eye movement, Mindfulness, Mind-body interventions, Buddhist meditation, Meditation, Saccade

8

Respiration rate is known to correlate with aspects of psychological well-being, and attention to respiration is a central component of mindfulness meditation training. Both traditional contemplative systems and recent empirical evidence support an association between formal mindfulness practice and decreased respiration rate. However, the question of whether long-term mindfulness training is associated with stable, generalized changes in respiration has yet to be directly investigated. We analyzed respiration patterns across multiple time points, separated by two months or more, in a group of long-term mindfulness meditation practitioners (LTMs, n = 31) and a matched group of non-meditators (Controls, n = 38). On average, LTMs showed slower baseline respiration rate (RR) than Controls. Among LTMs, greater practice experience was associated with slower RR, independently of age and gender. Furthermore, this association was specific to intensive retreat practice, and was not seen for routine daily practice. Full days of meditation practice did not produce detectable changes in baseline RR, suggesting distal rather than immediate effects. All effects were independent of physiological characteristics including height, weight, body-mass index and waist-hip ratio. We discuss implications for continued study of the long-term effects of mindfulness training on health and well-being.

Concepts: Practice, Empirical, Mindfulness, Empiricism, Mind-body interventions, Time, Buddhist meditation, Meditation

5

Mindful attention, a central component of mindfulness meditation, can be conceived as becoming aware of one’s thoughts and experiences and being able to observe them as transient mental events. Here, we present a series of studies demonstrating the effects of applying this metacognitive perspective to one’s spontaneous reward responses when encountering attractive stimuli. Taking a grounded cognition perspective, we argue that reward simulations in response to attractive stimuli contribute to appetitive behavior and that motivational states and traits enhance these simulations. Directing mindful attention at these thoughts and seeing them as mere mental events should break this link, such that motivational states and traits no longer affect reward simulations and appetitive behavior. To test this account, we trained participants to observe their thoughts in reaction to appetitive stimuli as mental events, using a brief procedure designed for nonmeditators. Across 3 experiments, we found that adopting the mindful attention perspective reduced the effects of motivational states and traits on appetitive behavior in 2 domains, in both the laboratory and the field. Specifically, after applying mindful attention, participants' sexual motivation no longer made opposite-sex others seem more attractive and thus desirable as partners. Similarly, participants' levels of hunger no longer boosted the attractiveness of unhealthy foods, resulting in healthier eating choices. We discuss these results in the context of mechanisms and applications of mindful attention and explore how mindfulness and mindful attention can be conceptualized in psychological research more generally. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Mindfulness, Meditation, Educational psychology, Motivation, Mind, Cognition, Psychology

4

Informed by our prior work indicating that therapists do not feel recognized or rewarded for implementation of evidence-based practices, we tested the feasibility and acceptability of two incentive-based implementation strategies that seek to improve therapist adherence to cognitive-behavioral therapy for youth, an evidence-based practice.

Concepts: Mindfulness, Therapy, Cognitive therapy, Psychoanalysis, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Randomized controlled trial, Psychotherapy, Clinical psychology