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TagMindfulness research

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Science: Mindfulness Makes a Measurable Difference — a Small One

Many mindfulness practitioners don’t take it seriously enough to change their lifestyle so as to gain the available benefit

Researcher Kevin Dickinson reminds us that there is science behind mindfulness meditation but that crazes are crazes — and the nearly $9 billion dollar market for mindfulness wares is no substitute for serious, regular practice. Here’s what he found that the science tells us: A systematic review and meta-analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at 47 randomized clinical trials with active controls (totaling 3,515 participants). It found moderate evidence of mindfulness easing anxiety, depression, and pain; low evidence for assuaged stress; insufficient evidence of reduced substance abuse and poor eating habits; and no evidence that mindfulness was better than other treatment options. Similar results can be found across the scientific literature. Another meta-analysis found slightly larger but still moderate…

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Study: Eight-week Mindfulness Courses Do Not Change the Brain

Earlier studies may have been hampered by a small, self-selected, particularly needy participant base and by the fact that any intervention can succeed at first

In recent years, as mindfulness meditation began to catch on, research, including this open-access paper, claimed that eight weeks of mindfulness could change the structure of the brain. The neuroplasticity on which such studies relied is real enough. But a just-released study has found no evidence that eight-week courses like “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” make so radical a difference: In new research, a team from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, led by Richard J. Davidson, found no evidence of structural brain changes with short-term mindfulness training. Published May 20 in Science Advances, the team’s study is the largest and most rigorously controlled to date. In two novel trials, over 200 healthy participants with no meditation experience…