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IMPORTANCE:Relapse prevention in recurrent depression is a significant public health problem, and antidepressants are the current first-line treatment approach. Identifying an equally efficacious nonpharmacological intervention would be an important development. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a meta-analysis on individual patient data to examine the efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) compared with usual care and other active treatments, including antidepressants, in treating those with recurrent depression. DATA SOURCES: English-language studies published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals identified from EMBASE, PubMed/Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Scopus, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register from the first available year to November 22, 2014. Searches were conducted from November 2010 to November 2014. STUDY SELECTION: Randomized trials of manualized MBCT for relapse prevention in recurrent depression in full or partial remission that compared MBCT with at least 1 non-MBCT treatment, including usual care. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: This was an update to a previous meta-analysis. We screened 2555 new records after removing duplicates. Abstracts were screened for full-text extraction (S.S.) and checked by another researcher (T.D.). There were no disagreements. Of the original 2555 studies, 766 were evaluated against full study inclusion criteria, and we acquired full text for 8. Of these, 4 studies were excluded, and the remaining 4 were combined with the 6 studies identified from the previous meta-analysis, yielding 10 studies for qualitative synthesis. Full patient data were not available for 1 of these studies, resulting in 9 studies with individual patient data, which were included in the quantitative synthesis. RESULTS: Of the 1258 patients included, the mean (SD) age was 47.1 (11.9) years, and 944 (75.0%) were female. A 2-stage random effects approach showed that patients receiving MBCT had a reduced risk of depressive relapse within a 60-week follow-up period compared with those who did not receive MBCT (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.58-0.82). Furthermore, comparisons with active treatments suggest a reduced risk of depressive relapse within a 60-week follow-up period (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.97). Using a 1-stage approach, sociodemographic (ie, age, sex, education, and relationship status) and psychiatric (ie, age at onset and number of previous episodes of depression) variables showed no statistically significant interaction with MBCT treatment. However, there was some evidence to suggest that a greater severity of depressive symptoms prior to treatment was associated with a larger effect of MBCT compared with other treatments. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy appears efficacious as a treatment for relapse prevention for those with recurrent depression, particularly those with more pronounced residual symptoms. Recommendations are made concerning how future trials can address remaining uncertainties and improve the rigor of the field.

Few studies have examined changes of diurnal cortisol profiles prospectively, in relation to non-pharmacological interventions such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Fifty-six patients remitted from recurrent depression (≥3 episodes) were included in an 8-week randomized controlled trial comparing MBCT plus treatment as usual (TAU) with TAU for depression relapse prophylaxis. Saliva samples (0, 15, 30, 45, 60 min post-awakening, 3 PM, 8 PM) were collected on six occasions (pre- and post-intervention, 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-month follow-up). Cortisol awakening response (CAR), average day exposure (AUCday) and diurnal slope were analyzed with mixed effects models (248 profiles, 1-6 per patient). MBCT (n = 28) and TAU groups (n = 28) did not significantly differ with respect to baseline variables. Intra-individual variability exceeded inter-individual variability for the CAR (62.2% vs. 32.5%), AUC(day) (30.9% vs. 23.6%) and diurnal slope (51.0% vs. 34.2%). No time, group and time by group effect was observed for the CAR and diurnal slope. A significant time effect (p = 0.003) was detected for AUCday, which was explained by seasonal variations (p = 0.012). Later wake-up was associated with lower CAR (-11.7% per 1-hour later awakening, p < 0.001) and lower AUCday (-4.5%, p = 0.014). Longer depression history was associated with dampened CAR (-15.2% per 10-year longer illness, p = 0.003) and lower AUCday (-8.8%, p = 0.011). Unchanged cortisol secretion patterns following participation in MBCT should be interpreted with regard to large unexplained variability, similar relapse rates in both groups and study limitations. Further research is needed to address the scar hypothesis of diminished HPA activity with a longer, chronic course of depression.

Objectives: This study focused on patients with bipolar disorder (BD), several years after their participation in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). It aimed at documenting sustained mindfulness practice, perceived long-term benefit from the program, and changes regarded as direct consequences of the intervention.Design: This cross-sectional survey took place at least 2 years after MBCT for 70.4% of participants. Location: It was conducted in two specialized outpatient units for BDs that are part of the Geneva University Hospitals (Switzerland) and the Sainte-Anne Hospital in Paris (France). Subjects: Eligibility criteria were a diagnosis of BD according to DSM-IV and participation in at least four MBCT sessions. Response rate was 66.4%. The final sample included 71 outpatients (71.8% bipolar I, 28.2% bipolar II). Outcome measures: A questionnaire retrospectively assessed patient-perceived change, benefit from MBCT, and current mindfulness practice. Results: Proportions of respondents who practiced mindfulness at least once a week were 54.9% for formal practice (body scan, sitting meditation, mindful walking, or movements) and 57.7% for informal practice (mindful daily activities). Perceived benefit for the prevention of relapse was moderate, but patients acknowledged long-lasting effects and persistent changes in their way of life. Formal mindfulness practice at least once a week tended to be associated with increased long-lasting effects (p = 0.052), whereas regular informal practice and mindful breathing were significantly associated with persistent changes in daily life (p = 0.038) and better prevention of depressive relapse (p = 0.035), respectively. The most frequently reported positive change was increased awareness of being able to improve one's health. Conclusions: Despite methodological limitations, this survey allowed documenting mindfulness practice and perceived sustained benefit from MBCT in patients with BD. Participants particularly valued increased awareness that they can influence their own health. Both informal and formal practices, when sustained in the long term, might promote long-lasting changes.