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PURPOSE: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a distressing consequence of cancer and its treatment. CRF impacts many young adult (YA) survivors of childhood cancer, compromising work, social relationships, and daily activities. No satisfactory treatment exists. This pilot study aimed to assess the feasibility, safety, and preliminary efficacy of an 8-week twice/week Iyengar yoga (IY) intervention for treating persistent fatigue in YA survivors of childhood cancer.METHODS: Using a single-arm mixed-methods design, adult childhood cancer survivors aged between 18 and 39 years were recruited from a survivorship clinic at a single institution. Quantitative: The primary outcome was fatigue as measured by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue. Secondary outcomes included vitality, social functioning, multidimensional fatigue, mood, and sleep. Weekly self-report monitoring data were collected. Qualitative: Participants also completed a post-intervention interview, major themes evaluated. RESULTS: Five participants enrolled into the study and four completed the intervention. Attendance was 92% and there were no adverse events. Baseline mobility was highly varied, with one YA having had a hemipelvectomy. Quantitative data revealed significantly improved fatigue, social functioning, somatization, and general and emotional manifestations of fatigue following yoga. Qualitative data cross validated, clarified, and expanded upon the quantitative findings. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that a brief IY intervention is safe for YA survivors of childhood cancer, even for those with physical disabilities. Preliminary efficacy was demonstrated for the primary outcome of fatigue. Qualitative data elucidated additional improvements, such as work-related social functioning, and a sense of calm and relaxation.
Meditation-based interventions such as mindfulness and yoga are commonly practiced in the general community to improve mental and physical health. Parents, teachers and healthcare providers are also increasingly using such interventions with children. This review examines the use of meditation-based interventions in the treatment of children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Electronic databases searched included PsycINFO, Medline, CINAHL, and AMED. Inclusion criteria involved children (aged to 18 years) diagnosed with ADHD, delivery of a meditation-based intervention to children and/or parents, and publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Studies were identified and coded using standard criteria, risk of bias was assessed using Risk of Bias in Non-randomised Studies- of interventions (ROBINS-I), and effect sizes were calculated. A total of 16 studies were identified (8 that included children in treatment, and 8 that included combined parent-child treatment). Results indicated that risk of bias was high across studies. At this stage, no definitive conclusions can be offered regarding the utility of meditation-based interventions for children with ADHD and/or their parents, since the methodological quality of the studies reviewed is low. Future well designed research is needed to establish the efficacy of meditation-based interventions, including commonly used practices such as mindfulness, before recommendations can be made for children with ADHD and their families.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition associated with recurrent abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. It is particularly pernicious to youth, who may withdraw from life tasks due to pain, diarrhea, and/or fear of symptoms. Emotional stress exacerbates IBS symptoms, and mind-body interventions may be beneficial. In this mixed-methods study of 18 teens aged 14 to 17 years undertaking a 6-week Iyengar yoga intervention, we aimed to identify treatment responders and to explore differences between responders and nonresponders on a range of quantitative outcomes and qualitative themes related to yoga impact, goodness of fit, and barriers to treatment. Half of the teens responded successfully to yoga, defined as a clinically meaningful reduction in abdominal pain. Responders differed from nonresponders on postintervention quantitative outcomes, including reduced abdominal pain, improved sleep, and increased visceral sensitivity. Qualitative outcomes revealed that responders reported generalized benefits early in treatment and that their parents were supportive and committed to the intervention. Responders and nonresponders alike noted the importance of home practice to achieve maximal, sustained benefits. This study reveals the need for developmentally sensitive yoga programs that increase accessibility of yoga for all patients.
Children, adolescents, and young adults do not typically feature in clinics, studies, and mainstream notions of chronic pain. Yet many young people experience debilitating pain for extended periods of time. Chronic pain in these formative years may be especially important to treat in order for young patients to maintain life tasks and to prevent protracted disability. The Pediatric Pain Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a multidisciplinary treatment program designed for young people with chronic pain and their families. We offer both conventional and complementary medicine to treat the whole individual. This article describes the work undertaken in the clinic and our newly developed Yoga for Youth Research Program. The clinical and research programs fill a critical need to provide service to youth with chronic pain and to scientifically study one of the more popular complementary treatments we offer, Iyengar yoga.