Mindfulness- and Relaxation-Based eHealth Interventions for Patients

This systematic review aims to summarize eHealth studies with mindfulness- and relaxation-based interventions for medical conditions and to determine whether eHealth interventions have positive effects on health | International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

A comprehensive search of five databases was conducted for all available studies from 1990 to 2015. Studies were included if the intervention was mainly technology delivered and included a mindfulness- or relaxation-based intervention strategy and if patients with a medical condition were treated. Treatment effects were summarized for different outcomes.

A total of 2383 records were identified, of which 17 studies with 1855 patients were included in this systematic review. These studies were conducted in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, chronic pain, surgery, and hypertension. All but one study were delivered online through a web-based platform; one study delivered the intervention with iPods. The studies indicate that mindfulness- and relaxation-based eHealth interventions can have positive effects on patients’ general health and psychological well-being. No effects were found for stress or mindfulness. Only five studies reported economic analyses of eHealth interventions without any clear conclusion.

There is some evidence that mindfulness- and relaxation-based eHealth interventions for medical conditions can have positive effects on health outcomes. Therefore, such interventions might be a useful addition to standard medical care. No app studies were retrieved, even though a vast number of smartphone apps exist which aim at increasing users’ health. Therefore, more studies investigating those health apps are needed.

Full reference: Mikolasek, M. et al. (2017) Effectiveness of Mindfulness- and Relaxation-Based eHealth Interventions for Patients with Medical Conditions: a Systematic Review and Synthesis. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Published Online: 27 July 2017

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Mindfulness Therapy Intervention for Patients with Chronic Pancreatitis.

Aivaliotis, V. et al. (2017) Digestive diseases and sciences. 62(2) pp. 502-509

Image shows photomicrograph of calcified debris in distended ducts due to pancreatitis 

Patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) have substantially impaired quality of life (QOL) both physically and mentally. Mindfulness therapy is a form of treatment that has been shown to be beneficial in many medical conditions but has not been evaluated in the CP patient population. The aims of this study were (1) to test the feasibility and usability of a novel telephone-based mindfulness therapy service for patients with CP and (2) to determine whether there was any effect on CP quality of life.

Our telephone-based mindfulness therapy service represents a feasible and easily usable treatment adjunct for patients with CP, which may provide benefit in QOL by improving mental health-related domains.

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Effects of preventive online mindfulness interventions on stress and mindfulness

Jayewardene, W.P. et al. (2017) Preventive Medicine Reports. 5. pp. 150- 159

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Empirical evidence suggested that mind-body interventions can be effectively delivered online. This study aimed to examine whether preventive online mindfulness interventions (POMI) for non-clinical populations improve short- and long-term outcomes for perceived-stress (primary) and mindfulness (secondary).

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Phone-delivered mindfulness training to promote medication adherence

Salmoirago-Blotchera, E. et al. (2017) Contemporary Clinical Trials. 53. pp. 162–170

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Introduction: Two-thirds of people living with HIV (PLWH) show sub-optimal adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and one-third engages in risky sex. Both non-adherence and risky sex have been associated with emotional distress and impulsivity. To allay distress and lessen impulsivity, mindfulness training (MT) can be helpful. In this trial, we will investigate the utility of phone-delivered MT for PWLH. The primary outcomes comprise feasibility and acceptability of phone-delivery; secondary outcomes are estimates of efficacy of MT on adherence to ART and safer sexual practices as well as on their hypothesized antecedents.

Conclusions: MT has great potential to help PLWH to manage stress, depressive symptoms, and impulsivity. Positive changes in these antecedents are expected to improve safer sex practices and ART adherence. If results from this exploratory trial support our hypotheses, we will conduct a large RCT to test (a) the efficacy of MT on ART adherence and safer sex practices and (b) the hypothesis that improved ART adherence and safer sex will reduce viral load, and decrease the incidence of sexually transmitted infections, respectively.

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