Research Project Abstracts
Measurement of Immune Status in Patients Participating in Mindfulness
Based Stress Reduction
Diane Reibel, Ph.D
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a proven, clinical
group intervention that is patient centered and educational. The
core of the program involves training in mindfulness meditation,
a practice that calms the mind, relaxes the body and enables one
to respond skillfully to stress rather than react automatically.
Research performed at TJU and other institutions has shown that
MBSR reduces pain and other medical symptoms, lowers anxiety and
depression, and increases vitality and well-being among several
Beneficial effects of meditation on physical health outcomes
may also be mediated, in part, by immunologic pathways. For example,
participation in a MBSR intervention was associated with an increased
rate of resolution of lesions in patients with psoriasis (Psychosomatic
Medicine 60: 625-632, 1998), which is an immune-mediated disorder.
A recent study demonstrated that MBSR can lead to changes in cytokine
production among breast and prostate cancer patients (Psychosomatic
Medicine 65: 571-581, 2003). In another recent study, immune function
improved in a non-patient, corporate employee population after
participating in an MBSR program (Psychosomatic Medicine 65:564-570,
2003). However, to date, the effects of MBSR on immune functioning
in a heterogeneous patient population have not been examined.
Based on findings from prior studies, it is hypothesized that
changes in general markers of systemic immune function will be
observed following participation in a MBSR program.