Mindfulness meditation effects on CD4 + T lymphocytes in HIV-1 infected adults: a small, randomized controlled trial. Brain Behavior and Immunity, 23, 184-188

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, University of California, Los Angeles, 300 Medical Plaza, Suite 3109, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
Brain Behavior and Immunity (Impact Factor: 5.89). 08/2008; 23(2):184-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2008.07.004
Source: PubMed


Mindfulness meditation training has stress reduction benefits in various patient populations, but its effects on biological markers of HIV-1 progression are unknown. The present study tested the efficacy of an 8-week Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) meditation program compared to a 1-day control seminar on CD4+ T lymphocyte counts in stressed HIV infected adults. A single-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted with enrollment and follow-up occurring between November 2005 and December 2007. A diverse community sample of 48 HIV-1 infected adults was randomized and entered treatment in either an 8-week MBSR or a 1-day control stress reduction education seminar. The primary outcome was circulating counts of CD4+ T lymphocytes. Participants in the 1-day control seminar showed declines in CD4+ T lymphocyte counts whereas counts among participants in the 8-week MBSR program were unchanged from baseline to post-intervention (time x treatment condition interaction, p=.02). This effect was independent of antiretroviral (ARV) medication use. Additional analyses indicated that treatment adherence to the mindfulness meditation program, as measured by class attendance, mediated the effects of mindfulness meditation training on buffering CD4+ T lymphocyte declines. These findings provide an initial indication that mindfulness meditation training can buffer CD4+ T lymphocyte declines in HIV-1 infected adults. Clinical Trials Registration: clinicaltrials.gov, Identifier: NCT00600561.

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    • "A mounting body of literature points to the positive benefits of mindfulness based interventions in the promotion of subjective and objective measures of physical health (Baer, 2003; Brown et al., 2007; Epel et al., 2009). Training in mindfulness based interventions has been associated with increased antibody titer response to influenza vaccination (Davidson et al., 2003), buffering of CD4+ lymphocyte declines in HIV-1 infected individuals (Creswell et al., 2009), reduced interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) levels in response to an acute stressor (Pace et al., 2009, 2010) and blood pressure (BP) reductions in individuals with hypertension (Paul-Labrador et al., 2006; Schneider et al., 2005). Despite research linking mindfulness training to changes in physiological variables, the mechanisms driving the relationship remain unclear. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mindfulness based interventions have been associated with improvements in physical health; however, the mechanisms underlying these changes are unclear. The current study explored relationships between trait mindfulness, blood pressure (BP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Relationships between physical health variables and (1) a composite score of mindfulness, (2) individual facets of mindfulness and (3) interactions between theoretically relevant pairs of mindfulness subscales were investigated. One hundred and thirty healthy, young adults [M (SD) age = 21.7(2.7) years] reported trait levels of mindfulness (Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, subscales include: observing, describing, acting with awareness (AWA), nonjudging and nonreactivity), had their resting BP measured and underwent a blood draw to assesses circulating IL-6 levels. Age, gender, body mass index, race/ethnicity, depression and perceived stress were obtained and used as covariates. A composite score of trait mindfulness was associated with lower BP and a trend suggested that it was also associated with lower IL-6. Investigation of individual facets of mindfulness revealed interactions between the subscales AWA and nonjudging, such that higher endorsement of AWA was associated with lower BP only when nonjudging was also high. A second interaction was observed between the subscales observing and nonreactivity, such that higher endorsement of observing was associated with lower IL-6 only when levels of nonreactivity were also high. Trait mindfulness was associated with both BP and IL-6. Examining interactions between facets of mindfulness variables may be important in understanding how mindfulness based interventions influence physiology.
    Journal of Behavioral Medicine 06/2014; 38(1). DOI:10.1007/s10865-014-9575-4 · 3.10 Impact Factor
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    • "An alternate to CBSM which has garnered increasing attention as a plausible HIV intervention is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). In addition to positive changes in mindfulness, several studies have reported increases in psychoimmune function and decrease in HIV symptomology following an eight week intervention (Creswell et al., 2009; Duncan et al., 2012; Gayner et al., 2012; SeyedAlinaghi et al., 2012). Hence, interventions focusing on cognitive regulation of emotional appraisals may be a plausible option for restoration of neurocognitive, behavioral and immune function for individuals demonstrating poor assimilation of feelings and emotions (Davidson et al., 2003; Hölzel et al., 2011; Paul et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: The neuropathological changes which result from infection of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection may manifest in alexithymia (AL), a multidimensional trait characterized by impairments in affective and cognitive emotional processing. A sample of 93 HIV survivors scoring high, i.e., ⩾ 74 on the 26-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-26) were compared to 79 low AL (TAS-26 ⩽ 54) survivors on measures of neurocognitive, psychological, neuroendocrine and immune function. Neurocognitive measures probed visual attention and task switching, levels of HIV Dementia and general cognitive status. Patients were also screened for levels of depression, anxiety and psychological stress. A 24-hr urinary norepinephrine (NE) and cortisol (CORT) collection was taken and blood drawn for T lymphocyte subset counts (CD4+CD3+) and HIV-1 viral load. Alexithymic patients exhibited greater executive dysfunction, psychological distress, norepinephrine-to-cortisol (NE/CORT) ratios and viral load. Linear regression models accounting for sociodemographic and disease-related variables within the entire sample revealed two AL subscales, difficulties identifying and describing feelings, predicted and explained a significant proportion of variance in the outcome measures. Specifically, poorer executive task-switching ability was associated with greater difficulty describing feelings; dysregulated autonomic response (high NE/CORT ratio) and depressive symptoms were predicted by level of difficulty identifying feelings; higher levels of anxiety and psychological stress were predicted by greater difficulty describing and identifying feelings. The psychoneuroimmunological profile of alexithymia in HIV positive persons at mid-stage of infection suggests a greater vulnerability for disease progression.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 10/2013; 36. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2013.10.024 · 5.89 Impact Factor
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    • "The few studies that have investigated mind-body interventions for HIV show positive results. In three recent randomized control trials, Tai Chi(9) and mindfulness meditation(21) showed immune dysfunction attenuation compared to controls; a mindfulness-based stress reduction study showed reduced antiretroviral therapy (ART) symptoms and distress.(22) A Cochrane review of massage studies for HIV found that interventions that combined massage and mind-body approaches, such as stress reduction or meditation, were superior to massage alone for improved quality of life.(23) "
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