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BACKGROUND: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract affected by stress, which may benefit from a biopsychosocial treatment approach such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).PURPOSE: A treatment as usual (TAU) wait-list controlled trial was conducted in Calgary, Canada to investigate the impact of MBSR on IBS symptoms. It was hypothesized that MBSR patients would experience greater reduction in overall IBS symptom severity and self-reported symptoms of stress relative to control patients. METHOD: Ninety patients diagnosed with IBS using the Rome III criteria were randomized to either an immediate MBSR program (nā€‰=ā€‰43) or to wait for the next available program (nā€‰=ā€‰47). Patients completed IBS symptom severity, stress, mood, quality of life (QOL), and spirituality scales pre- and post-intervention or waiting period and at 6-month follow-up. Intent-to-treat linear mixed model analyses for repeated measures were conducted, followed by completers analyses. RESULTS: While both groups exhibited a decrease in IBS symptom severity scores over time, the improvement in the MBSR group was greater than the controls and was clinically meaningful, with symptom severity decreasing from constantly to occasionally present. Pre- to post-intervention dropout rates of 44 and 23 % for the MBSR and control groups, respectively, were observed. At 6-month follow-up, the MBSR group maintained a clinically meaningful improvement in overall IBS symptoms compared to the wait-list group, who also improved marginally, resulting in no statistically significant differences between groups at follow-up. Improvements in overall mood, QOL, and spirituality were observed for both groups over time. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this trial provide preliminary evidence for the feasibility and efficacy of a mindfulness intervention for the reduction of IBS symptom severity and symptoms of stress and the maintenance of these improvements at 6 months post-intervention. Attention and self-monitoring and/or anticipation of MBSR participation may account for smaller improvements observed in TAU patients.

PURPOSE: A growing number of cancer survivors suffer high levels of distress, depression and stress, as well as sleep disturbance, pain and fatigue. Two different mind-body interventions helpful for treating these problems are Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) and Tai Chi/Qigong (TCQ). However, while both interventions show efficacy compared to usual care, they have never been evaluated in the same study or directly compared. This study will be the first to incorporate innovative design features including patient choice while evaluating two interventions to treat distressed cancer survivors. It will also allow for secondary analyses of which program best targets specific symptoms in particular groups of survivors, based on preferences and baseline characteristics.METHODS AND SIGNIFICANCE: The design is a preference-based multi-site randomized comparative effectiveness trial. Participants (N=600) with a preference for either MBCR or TCQ will receive their preferred intervention; while those without a preference will be randomized into either intervention. Further, within the preference and non-preference groups, participants will be randomized into immediate intervention or wait-list control. Total mood disturbance on the Profile of mood states (POMS) post-intervention is the primary outcome. Other measures taken pre- and post-intervention and at 6-month follow-up include quality of life, psychological functioning, cancer-related symptoms and physical functioning. Exploratory analyses investigate biomarkers (cortisol, cytokines, blood pressure/Heart Rate Variability, telomere length, gene expression), which may uncover potentially important effects on key biological regulatory and antineoplastic functions. Health economic measures will determine potential savings to the health system.