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RCT to investigate brain changes associated with mindfulness-based stress reduction

Fulwiler, C. et al. (2016) BMJ Open. 6:e012573

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Introduction: Obesity is a growing epidemic fuelled by unhealthy behaviours and associated with significant comorbidities and financial costs. While behavioural interventions produce clinically meaningful weight loss, weight loss maintenance is challenging. This may partially be due to failure to target stress and emotional reactivity. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) reduces stress and emotional reactivity and may be a useful tool for behaviour change maintenance. This study seeks to provide a mechanistic understanding for clinical trials of the benefits of MBSR for weight loss maintenance by examining changes in functional connectivity (FC) and the association of these changes with clinical outcomes.

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Does mindfulness offer any benefit to cancer patients?

A new Australian study of men with advanced prostate cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggests mindfulness training offers no benefit in this particular setting | The Conversation

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Image source: Carol Del Angel – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

In cancer, mindfulness-based therapies are often suggested as a supportive care option for patients. Mindfulness as the core component of these two approaches centres around teaching open awareness of the present experience and a focus on behaviour.

The behaviour element encourages the individual to conduct self observation of habits, and to become less reactive to difficult or unpleasant experiences. This is proposed to create a sense of calmness and composure – often referred to as equanimity – about the illness experience.

While mindfulness approaches intuitively seem well matched to the cancer context, to date the research in this area has been limited by variable study quality and a focus on breast cancer patients.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research article here