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Meditation therapy for rheumatoid arthritis patients
Date:9/27/2007

remained under their rheumatologists care and continued to take their routine medications throughout the study.

Through random assignment, 31 of the participants received intensive MBSR therapy, starting with an 8-week training course followed by a 4-month maintenance program. The remaining 32 participants were designated to a waitlist, agreeing to attend assessment sessions in exchange for free MBSR training after the studys end. At baseline, and again at 2 months and 6 months into the study, both groups of participants underwent psychological and rheumatological examinations. To evaluate depressive symptoms and psychological distress, researchers used the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, a self-report questionnaire widely recognized for its reliability and validity. Overall well-being was measured by the Psychological Well-Being Scales, comprised of questions designed to gauge positive outlook and approach to coping with difficulties. RA disease status was assessed by the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS-28).

Researchers compared scores of psychological and physical disease symptoms among MBSR participants with those among controls. Overwhelming, MBSR students embraced the program and kept up their mindfulness practice throughout the followup period. After 2 months, both groups showed improvements in depressive, psychological, and emotional symptoms, with no significant benefits attributed to MBSR. By 6 months, however, gains in the control group had largely disappeared, while MBSR participants maintained or improved further in psychological outcomes. By the culmination of the study, the MBSR group achieved a significant 35 percent reduction in psychological distress. Despite this dramatic improvement, the therapy had no impact on RA disease activity, measured by the DAS-28, which takes into account number of tender or swollen joints, a blood measure of inflammation, and the patients own report of diseas
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Source:Eurekalert

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