The key issue is how confident subjects feel in their ability to manage their disease. "There is quite a bit of data in a variety of diseases that shows people who have a higher sense of control over their health feel better and have fewer symptoms than people who don't," Keefer said. "This is a proactive approach."
Keefer said the trial is one of the few NIH-funded behavioral studies for inflammatory bowel disease, which affects between 250,000 to 500,000 people in the U.S.
Her preliminary data on the overall quality of life for 27 subjects after eight weeks of hypnotherapy showed that 80 percent of them reported an increased belief that they could affect and manage their disease versus 50 percent of subjects in standard care (no hypnotherapy.) In addition, subjects reported a 76 percent increase in the quality of their lives (the improvements were most notable in their bowel symptoms) compared to a 25 percent increase for standard care. In another measure, 73 percent of the subjects experienced a general improvement in their health and well being compared to a 25 percent increase for standard care.
"The preliminary results on the improved quality of life for the 27 subjects in this ongoing study (aiming for a total of 80 subjects) look positive so far," Keefer said.
Once the eight weeks of hypnotherapy are completed, subjects are expected to listen to the relaxation tapes or practice relaxation twice a week to maintain the benefits. They are also encouraged to "step up their practice" of relaxation tapes if they think they are at risk for a flare, Keefer said.
Currently the treatment for the disease is a maintenance medication called 5-ASA. "The problem is most people forget to take the full dose," Keefer said. If that doesn't work steroids are often the next treatment, but long-term use can cause joint problems
|Contact: Marla Paul|