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Mindful Meditation Can Benefit Teen Cancer Patients

May 2, 2014

While much research has supported the benefits of meditation for pain, anxiety, and depression, a study at the University of Montreal looked at the benefits of meditation for teenage cancer patients. This study suggests that mindfulness-based mediation may improve mood and sleep quality for teenage cancer patients.

In this study conducted at the University of Montreal in Canada, 13 teenage cancer patients were required to complete a questionnaire that asked about any positive and negative emotions, feelings of anxiety and depression, sleep quality and overall quality of life. Out of the 13 patients, 8 were then required to carry out a 90-minute mindfulness-based mediation session once a week for 8 weeks. The other 5 patients were placed on a waiting list to serve as the control group. All patients were required to complete an identical second questionnaire at the end of the 8-week period. The researchers then assessed differences in mood, sleep and quality of life for each patient and assigned scores. The results revealed that patients who took part in the mindfulness-based mediation sessions had lower depression scores than those who were put on the waiting list. Furthermore, girls in the mindfulness-base mediation group reported sleeping better than those in the control and developed better mindfulness skills than boys during the sessions. While investigators point out that the differences between each group were not big enough to attribute all benefits to the mindfulness aspect of each session, according to Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise of the Department of Psychology, “mindfulness-based intervention for teenagers with cancer [nonetheless] appears as a promising option to lighten psychological inconveniences of living with cancer.”

To access the article on NEJM click here.

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