ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0716.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nursing & Health Studies Keywords: meditation; burnout; interoception
Online: 29 December 2020 (08:28:50 CET)
Abstract: 1) Background. This research examined feasibility, acceptability and outcomes of delivering a 6-week yoga-based meditation intervention to clinical teams of hospice professionals (HPs) at a large non-profit hospice organization. The intervention was designed to increase mind-body integration and combat burnout. The manuscript was written for different audiences including research scientists who study interoception, burnout, meditation, or yoga, designers of meditation interventions, and hospice organizations looking for ways to mitigate HP burnout. 2) Methods. The intervention was launched within clinical teams, beginning with a half hour online introduction to the program and exposure to the week 1 meditation at each team’s monthly all-staff meeting. Throughout the program, HPs could access the meditations on their own via their workplace computers, tablets, and smartphones. Online pre- and post-intervention surveys with 151 HPs assessed burnout using the Professional Fulfillment Index and mind-body integration using the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness sub-scales. 3) Results. Half of HPs expressed a desire to continue to have access to the meditations after the 6-week program ended. Due to covid-19 work from home restrictions, three-fourth of HPs did a meditation at home, 29% in a car between patient visits (not while driving), and 23% at the office. Higher interoceptive awareness was significantly related to lower burnout, particularly lower work exhaustion. Meditation frequency was significantly related to higher interoceptive awareness but not to burnout. 4) Conclusions. Findings showed that yoga-based meditation intervention was feasible and acceptable and associated with higher interoceptive awareness. The results point to a role for interoceptive awareness in reducing the risk for burnout.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0352.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: HeartMath; Fitbit; COVID-19; Meditation; Physical Activity
Online: 17 August 2021 (08:32:16 CEST)
1. Background: The global COVID-19 lockdowns are unique psychological factors, requiring adjustment and coping. This illustrative, South African case study investigated the influence the COVID-19 lockdown context would have on meditation and physical activity. As these were lifestyle patterns the null hypothesis was of no change. 2. Method: The methodology consisted of quantitative and qualitative phases. The quantitative phase was an empirical, case study review of data from the author’s HeartMath and Fitbit electronic devices, as from 9 November 2019 to 31 July 2021. This consisted of coherence and achievement data from the HeartMath Inner Balance application (app), as well as distance and activity data from the Fitbit app. The qualitative phase consisted of the selection and illustration of meditation sessions documented over lockdown. 3. Results: The highly significant increases in physical activity and meditation coherence and achievement collectively indicated significant health promotion over the COVID-19 Lockdown period. Subtle energetic, experiential descriptions of meditation apprehensions resonated and supported these quantitative findings. 4. Conclusions: COVID-19 lockdown has meant transformation, humility, and reordering of priorities. The meditation descriptions amplified information from the HeartMath and Fitbit electronic devices, together co-creating conscious, embodied, relationship science for discussion, instruction, and further research.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0545.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pediatrics Keywords: qualitative, mindfulness, meditation, chronic illness, adolescents, eHealth
Online: 27 July 2018 (15:34:58 CEST)
Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been shown to improve health and well-being in adolescents with chronic illnesses. Because they are most often delivered in person in a group setting, there are several barriers that limit access to MBIs for youth with limited mobility or who cannot access in-person MBIs in their communities. The objective of this study was to determine if eHealth is a viable platform to increase accessibility to MBIs for teens with chronic illnesses. This study reports the qualitative results of a mixed method randomized trial describing the experience of the Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for Adolescents (MARS-A) program, an 8-week MBI, delivered either in person or via eHealth. Participants were adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 with a chronic illness recruited at a tertiary pediatric hospital in Toronto, Canada. Individual semi-structured post-participation audio-video interviews were conducted by a research assistant. A multiple-pass inductive process was used to review interview transcripts and interpret emergent themes from the participants’ lived experiences. Fifteen participants completed post-participation interviews. Four distinct themes emerged from participants in both the in-person and eHealth groups: creation of a safe space, fostering peer support and connection, integration of mindfulness skills into daily life and improved well-being through the application of mindfulness. Results from this study suggest that eHealth may be an acceptable and feasible mode of delivery for MBIs in adolescents with chronic illnesses. EHealth should be considered in future studies as a promising avenue to increase access to MBIs in this population.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0298.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: mindfulness; meditation; sexual satisfaction; sexual activity; sexual/erotic fantasies
Online: 15 January 2021 (14:15:18 CET)
The goal of this study is to better understand the relation between the practice of Mindfulness and the sexual activity, sexual satisfaction and erotic fantasies of Spanish-speaking participants. This research focuses on the comparison between people who practice Mindfulness versus naïve people, and explores the practice of Mindfulness and its relation with the following variables about sexuality: body awareness and bodily dissociation, personal sexual satisfaction, partner and relationship-related satisfaction, desire, subjective sexual arousal, genital arousal, orgasm, pain, attitudes towards sexual fantasies and types of sexual fantasies. The sample consisted of 106 selected adults, 32 men and 72 women, who completed six measures on an online survey platform: a) Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), b) Scale of Body Connection (SBC), c) New Sexual Satisfaction Scale (NSSS), d) Scale of Sexual Activity in Women (SSA-W) and Men (SSA-M), e) Hurlbert Index of Sexual Fantasy (HISF), f) Wilson's Sex Fantasy Questionnaire. In the MAAS, Body Awareness subscale (SBC), NSSS, SSA-W and SSA-M, HISF and intimate fantasies subscale (Wilson’s questionnaire), people in the Mindfulness condition showed higher scores and these differences were statistically significant. These results may have relevant implications in the sexuality of clinical and non-clinical samples.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0035.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: meditation; vagal nerve activity; high-burden caregivers; mental health.
Online: 1 December 2020 (15:11:39 CET)
Background: Caring for a loved one can be rewarding but also associated with substantial caregiver burden, developing mental outcomes and affecting happiness. Eventually, these physical and psychological disorders can lead to an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. Meditation has been found to offer multiple benefits to relieve these disorders and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a four-week 16-hour presential meditation program on physiological and psychological parameters and vagal nerve activity in high-burden caregivers, comparing the results with those not receiving this program. Methods: A non-randomized repeated-measures controlled clinical trial was conducted, dividing participants between intervention and control groups by convenience allocation because random assignment was ethically inappropriate. Results: After the meditation program, the experimental group showed a significant reduction in anxiety levels (F= 24.92, p<0.001), a non-significant amelioration of depression levels (F= 1.75, p=0.19), and significantly improved heart rate variability (F= 8.40, p<0.05) and SDNN (F=15.59, p<0.05). Conclusions: Meditation can be a useful therapy to enhance the mental health and autonomic nervous system balance of informal caregivers, improving symptoms of physical and mental overload.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0265.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: life habits; mindfulness; flow meditation; university students; controlled trial
Online: 21 June 2020 (11:33:25 CEST)
The present study explored the effects of a Second-generation mindfulness-based intervention known as Flow Meditation (Meditación-Fluir) in the improvement of life habits. A sample of university students (n = 51) in Spain were randomly assigned to a seven-week mindfulness treatment or a waiting list control group. Results showed that compared to the control group, individuals in the mindfulness group demonstrated significant improvements across all outcome measures, including healthy eating habits (balanced diet, intake rate, snacking between meals, decrease in consumption by emotional states negative, increased consumption by negative emotional states, amount of consumption, meal times, consumption of low-fat products), tobacco, alcohol and cannabis consumption, and resting habits. There were differences between males and females in some of these variables and a better effect of the treatment was evident in the females of the experimental group as compared to males. The Flow Meditation program shows promise for fostering healthy life habits, thus decreasing behaviors related to maladaptive eating, tobacco, alcohol and drug consumption, as well as negative resting habits, in university students. This mindfulness program can significantly contribute in the treatment of eating disorders and addictions, wherein negative emotional states and impulsivity are central features of the condition.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0451.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Psychiatry & Mental Health Studies Keywords: pain; depression; treatment; meditation; synaptic plasticity and homeostasis; nerve stimulation
Online: 31 May 2018 (09:56:35 CEST)
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common mental disorder, which results in seriously impaired condition in the patients and great global disability burden. In light of its quite diverse etiologies, comorbidity with many other diseases, and complex underlying pathology, it has been a great challenge to understand the physiological basis of MDD, which may be a complex of related diseases, rather than a single one. In addition to the partial understanding of MDD, the individual heterogeneities among patients may render the development of a universal treatment an elusive goal. But studying how each of currently available treatments affects the disease can generate useful information to stratify patients into different subtypes for individualized treatments. In this case report, we present the first report of repeated success of using meditation as the only treatment of MDD, compared to initial success but no remission with other conventional antidepressants on the same patient. We hypothesized that the short but continuous natural pain during one-hour meditation sittings has the therapeutic effect to treat depression in the case of this patient and potentially others with MDD. This special opportunity of eliminating tremendous heterogeneity among different individuals has enabled us to probe deeply into the potential mechanism of depression treatments and the complex physiology of depression itself, both of which have likely profound implications in the treatment of other MDD patients as well. More importantly, this case report helps us dissect one specific component of meditation for its long-known and well-established benefit against depression.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0411.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Psychiatry & Mental Health Studies Keywords: pain; depression; treatment; meditation; synaptic plasticity and homeostasis; DNA damage response
Online: 31 May 2018 (09:51:27 CEST)
The correlation and comorbidity between depression and chronic pain have been observed for a long time. Generally, it is considered that the two conditions reinforce each other, whereas the causal relationship between them is not clear. However, some evidence suggested that chronic pain may reverse the progression of depression in some cases. This article presents a selective review of clinical and pharmacological relationship between depression and pain, and their interactions at neurochemical and neurobiological levels. In addition, we open a discussion on a recent case report of repeated success of using short but continuous pain (SCP) during meditation as the only treatment for depression, compared to initial success but no remission with other conventional antidepressants on the same patient. Together this review proposes an updated model for depression and its various treatments that is based on synaptic and system homeostasis. More importantly, it suggests that SCP may benefit depression recovery through its properties that are different from either acute or chronic pain and represents a novel research area that has been largely neglected to date.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0092.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: breath; respiration; synchronization; coupling,; EEG; theta-beta ratio; pranayama; meditation; attention; citta vritti
Online: 6 September 2021 (12:49:41 CEST)
Yogic and meditative traditions have long held that the fluctuations of the breath and the mind are intimately related. While respiratory modulation of cortical activity and attentional switching are established, the extent to which electrophysiological markers of attention exhibit synchronization with respiration is unknown. To this end, we examined 1) frontal midline theta-beta ratio, an indicator of attentional control state known to correlate with mind wandering episodes and functional connectivity of the executive control network; 2) pupil diameter (PD), a known proxy measure of locus coeruleus (LC) noradrenergic activity; and 3) respiration for evidence of phase synchronization and information transfer (multivariate Granger causality) during quiet restful breathing. Our results indicate that both TBR and PD are simultaneously synchronized with the breath, suggesting an underlying oscillation of an attentionally relevant electrophysiological index that is phase-locked to the respiratory cycle which could have the potential to bias the attentional system into switching states. We highlight the LC’s pivotal role as a coupling mechanism between respiration and TBR, and elaborate on its dual functions as both a chemosensitive respiratory nucleus and a pacemaker of the attentional system. We further suggest that an appreciation of the dynamics of this weakly coupled oscillatory system could help deepen our understanding of the traditional claim of a relationship between breathing and attention.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0496.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: Intuitive Meditation; Consciousness; Inner Balance technology 3; Coherence; Feeling; Thinking; HeartMath; Wellbeing; Self; Qualitative
Online: 21 June 2021 (09:53:57 CEST)
An introductory course of Arka Dhyana, also known as Intuitive Meditation (IM), consisting of five sessions, was offered to an international audience via Zoom technology. Participants were shown how to connect to their deeper self, essence or soul by bringing their I-ego-awareness from the thinking mind, often associated with the frontal part of the brain, to 19 energetic stations in the body including the heart centre. In this limited study, evaluation was both process and outcome orientated and included HeartMath (HM) Inner Balance or emWave2 electronic technology to measure mean coherence and achievement before and after each session. A highly significant increase in both coherence and achievement in six participants was found, which was also reflected in a reported increase in wellbeing related to feelings in qualitative statements indicating changes in levels of consciousness and individual transformative experiences as predicted by the Theory of the Six Main Levels of Consciousness.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0202.v1
Subject: Biology, Physiology Keywords: relaxation response; meditation; music; serum; pH; electric conductivity; delayed luminescence; fractals; coherent states; self-similarity
Online: 12 April 2020 (17:12:29 CEST)
In our recent works we reported that physical and chemical characteristics of serum can vary in relation to the psychic activity of an individual depending on whether it is oriented to stress or relaxation. We wandered if these observations could be accompanied by an appreciable modification of the Ph, electric conductivity and Delayed Luminescence of the same serum samples. Our preliminary data may suggest that the serum pH could significantly increase during a Relaxation Response intervention while electric conductivity seems to decrease. Moreover, Delayed Luminescense could vary in the same subject according to the Relaxation Response practice. According to our proof of concept study, we postulate the appearance of a coherent system within the blood samples analyzed after the Relaxation Response. Further researches and some technical development are needed to support our preliminary findings.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0129.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: infectious disease; organizational justice; stress; loneliness; compassion fatigue; meditation; prayer; insomnia; mental health; perspective study; emergency
Online: 7 May 2021 (09:12:57 CEST)
The Covid-19 pandemic has severely tested the mental health of frontline health care workers. A repeated cross-sectional study can provide information on how their mental health evolved during the various phases of the pandemic. The intensivists of a COVID-19 hub hospital in Rome were investigated with a baseline survey during the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020 and were contacted again in December 2020, during the second wave. 152 of the 205 eligible workers responded to an online questionnaire designed to measure procedural justice, occupational stress (effort/reward imbalance), sleep quality, anxiety, depression, burnout, job satisfaction, happiness, and turnover intention. Workers reported a further increase in workload and compassion fatigue, which had already risen during the first wave, and a marked reduction in the time devoted to meditation and mental activities. A low level of confidence in the adequacy of safety procedures and the need to work in isolation, together with an increased workload and lack of time for meditation were the most significant predictors of occupational stress in a stepwise linear regression model. Occupational stress was, in turn, a significant predictor of insomnia, anxiety, low job satisfaction, burnout, and intention to leave the hospital. The number of workers manifesting symptoms of depression increased significantly to exceed 60%. Action to prevent occupational risks and enhance individual resilience cannot be postponed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0423.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Psychiatry & Mental Health Studies Keywords: longitudinal study; emergency; infectious disease; organizational justice; stress; loneliness; compassion fatigue; meditation; prayer; insomnia; mental health; anaesthetists
Online: 23 August 2021 (10:22:05 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the physical and mental health of health care workers (HCWs). The various stages of the epidemic have posed different problems; consequently, only a prospective study can effectively describe the changes in the workers’ health. This repeated cross-sectional study is based on a one-year investigation (spring 2020 to spring 2021) of intensive care physicians in one of the two COVID-19 hub hospitals in Central Italy. Changes in their work activity due to the pandemic were studied anonymously together with their perception of organizational justice, occupational stress, sleep quality, anxiety, depression, burnout, job satisfaction, happiness, and intention to quit. In May-June 2021, one year after the baseline, doctors reported an increased workload, isolation at work and in social life, lack of time for physical activity and meditation and compassion fatigue. Stress was inversely associated with the perception of justice in safety procedures and directly correlated with work isolation. Occupational stress was significantly associated with anxiety, depression, burnout, dissatisfaction, and intention to quit. Procedural justice was significantly associated with happiness. Doctors believed vaccinations would help control the problem; however, this positive attitude had not yet resulted in improved mental health. Doctors reported high levels of distress (73%), sleep problems (28%), anxiety (25%), depression (64%). Interventions to correct the situation are urgently needed.
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC); the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA); Survival Analysis; Optimal Cutoff; Surgical Margin; Holistic Cancer Care; Therapeutic Relationship; Mindfulness Meditation; Transcriptomic Analysis; Effect Size; CAMK2N1; CALML5; FCGBP
Online: 7 July 2021 (08:48:26 CEST)
The survival analysis of the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) dataset is a well-known method to discover the gene expression-based prognostic biomarkers of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). A cutoff point is usually used in survival analysis for the patients' dichotomization in the continuous gene expression. There is some optimization software for cutoff determination. However, the software's predetermined cutoffs are usually set at the median or quantiles of gene expression value to perform the analyses. There are also few clinicopathological features available on their pre-processed data sets. We applied an in-house workflow, including data retrieving and pre-processing, feature selection, sliding-window cutoff selection, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, and Cox proportional hazard modeling for biomarker discovery. In our approach for the TCGA HNSCC cohort, we scanned human protein-coding genes to find optimal cutoff values. After adjustment with confounders, the clinical tumor stage and the surgical margin involvement are independent risk factors for patients' prognosis. According to the resulting tables with Bonferroni-adjusted P value under the optimal cutoff and the hazard ratio, three biomarker candidates, CAMK2N1, CALML5, and FCGBP, are significantly associated with the patients' overall survival. We validated this discovery by using the other independent HNSCC dataset (GSE65858). Thus, we suggest the transcriptomic analysis could help for biomarker discovery.