Mindfulness meditation reduces depression in newly diagnosed MS patients: Lawson study – London

Mindfulness meditation has shown promising results in treating depression in patients who have recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London. .

“Mindfulness brings people into the moment rather than worrying about what might happen in the future or thinking about what happened in the past,” said Dr Arlene MacDougall, psychiatrist and scientist to Lawson, in a statement.

“It’s about centering yourself and gaining a sense of control over how you will react rather than reacting to what is going on inside or outside of you. “

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According to the study, the first results of which were published in May in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, the researchers recruited 24 newly diagnosed patients with recurrent MS, or RMS, for the project.

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Half of the participants took part in ten mindfulness treatment sessions of the Mindfulness Without Borders program – while the other half served as a control group for the study, the researchers said.

The study found that people in the mindfulness group reported better coping skills and less perceived stress, and their symptoms were reduced, said Dr. Sarah Morrow, neurologist and associate scientist at Lawson and director. from the London MS Clinic at LHSC.

In particular, the study found promising results when it comes to treating depression in patients.

“This can be a stressful time for people as they have just been diagnosed with a chronic neurological disease that will last the rest of their lives,” Morrow said in a statement.

“They don’t know what’s going to happen next. Will they be deactivated? When is the next relapse? It can cause a lot of worry and stress, and we see a majority of MS patients suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. “


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Multiple sclerosis has been described as a complex and unpredictable autoimmune disease, causing inflammation of the central nervous system, resulting in damage to myelin, the protective sheath that covers the nerves. The damage can lead to physical disability and cognitive impairment.

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Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, according to the organization. On average, 12 people in Canada are diagnosed with MS every day, often between the ages of 20 and 49. Women are three times more likely to be affected.

There is currently no cure for MS, but several treatments exist to manage it, and many more are in development. According to the MS Society, 17 disease-modifying therapies have been approved to date by Health Canada.

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“This pilot study demonstrates that a (mindfulness-based intervention) can improve short-term coping, depression and perceived stress in people newly diagnosed (within one year) with RMS”, indicates the conclusion of the study.

The researchers say more research is needed to investigate measures to extend benefits beyond immediate intervention. According to Lawson, the research team is working to examine whether using mindfulness would help people in the more progressive stages of MS.

Mindfulness meditation has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, with hundreds of apps aimed at helping people achieve calm and relaxation. The most popular of these apps include Headspace and Calm, which each have millions of users.

A 2018 study by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that meditation was the fastest growing health trend among adults in the United States.

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– With files from Olivia Bowden

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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