September 28, 2010
Science Daily/American Academy of Neurology
Learning mindfulness meditation may help people who have multiple sclerosis with the fatigue, depression and other life challenges that commonly accompany the disease, according to a new study.
n the study, people who took an eight-week class in mindfulness meditation training reduced their fatigue and depression and improved overall quality of life compared to people with MS who received only usual medical care. The positive effects continued for at least six months.
"People with MS must often confront special challenges of life related to profession, financial security, recreational and social activities, and personal relationships, not to mention the direct fears associated with current or future physical symptoms and disability. Fatigue, depression and anxiety are also common consequences of having MS." said study author Paul Grossman, PhD, of the University of Basel Hospital in Switzerland. "Unfortunately, the treatments that help slow the disease process may have little direct effect on people's overall quality of life, fatigue or depression. So any complementary treatments that can quickly and directly improve quality of life are very welcome."
Improvements among mindfulness participants were particularly large for those who showed significant levels of depression or fatigue at the beginning of the study. About 65 percent of participants showed evidence of serious levels of depression, anxiety or fatigue at the start of the study, and this risk group was reduced by a third at the end of training and six months later.
The other benefits of the training were also still apparent six months after the training ended, although they were sometimes reduced compared to right after finishing the training. Reductions in fatigue, however, were stable from the end of treatment to six months later.