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The evolution of altruism, a behaviour that benefits others at one's own fitness expense, poses a darwinian paradox. The paradox is resolved if many interactions are with related individuals so that the benefits of altruism are reaped by copies of the altruistic gene in other individuals1, a mechanism called kin selection2. However, recognition of altruists could provide an alternative route towards the evolution of altruism1,3,4,5. Arguably the simplest recognition system is a conspicuous, heritable tag, such as a green beard1,3. Despite the fact that such genes have been reported6,7,8, the ‘green beard effect’3 has often been dismissed because it is unlikely that a single gene can code for altruism and a recognizable tag1,3,9. Here we model the green beard effect and find that if recognition and altruism are always inherited together, the dynamics are highly unstable, leading to the loss of altruism. In contrast, if the effect is caused by loosely coupled separate genes, altruism is facilitated through beard chromodynamics in which many beard colours co-occur. This allows altruism to persist even in weakly structured populations and implies that the green beard effect, in the form of a fluid association of altruistic traits with a recognition tag, can be much more prevalent than hitherto assumed.


BackgroundCognitive problems frequently occur in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and profoundly affect their quality of life. So far, the best cognitive treatment options for MS patients are a matter of debate. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the effectiveness of two promising non-pharmacological treatments: cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Furthermore, this study aims to gain additional knowledge about the aetiology of cognitive problems among MS patients, since this may help to develop and guide effective cognitive treatments. Methods/design In a dual-centre, single-blind randomised controlled trial (RCT), 120 MS patients will be randomised into one of three parallel groups: CRT, MBCT or enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU). Both CRT and MBCT consist of a structured 9-week program. ETAU consists of one appointment with an MS specialist nurse. Measurements will be performed at baseline, post-intervention and 6 months after the interventions. The primary outcome measure is the level of subjective cognitive complaints. Secondary outcome measures are objective cognitive function, functional brain network measures (using magnetoencephalography), psychological symptoms, well-being, quality of life and daily life functioning. Discussion To our knowledge, this will be the first RCT that investigates the effect of MBCT on cognitive function among MS patients. In addition, studying the effect of CRT on cognitive function may provide direction to the contradictory evidence that is currently available. This study will also provide information on changes in functional brain networks in relation to cognitive function. To conclude, this study may help to understand and treat cognitive problems among MS patients.

This study evaluated the effectiveness of an eight-session mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) group intervention programme for treating depression in coronary heart disease (CHD) patients. Thirty-two depressed CHD patients were assigned to an MBCT treatment group, and a demographically and clinically similar group of 30 cases were assigned to a waiting list control group. Participants were evaluated at baseline, 8 weeks, and 6-month follow-up with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), Profile of Mood States (POMS), Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale (PAIS) and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). After each session, MBCT participants completed the post-session Questionnaire on helpful aspects of therapy and after the programme, completed the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire. At follow-up, 71 % of the MBCT group was clinically recovered from depression compared with 50 % of the control group. The MBCT group showed significantly greater improvement than the control group on all measures with effect sizes at follow-up of d = 0.43–1.0. Increases in mindfulness on the MAAS correlated significantly with improvements on the HADS, BSI, POMS and PAIS. Key helpful aspects of therapy identified by MBCT participants included learning meditation, obtaining group support and developing optimism. There was a high level of satisfaction with the MBCT programme. These results indicate that a randomized controlled trial of MBCT for depressed CHD patients is now warranted.

BackgroundPsychological distress is prevalent among people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and aggravates their motor symptoms, thereby leading to increased disability, high healthcare costs, and poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The under-recognition and adverse effects of the pharmacological management of anxiety and depression among the PD population are considerable. Thus, adopting a Complementary and Alternative Management (CAM) approach to address this problem is important. Yoga, one of the most common “mind-body” CAM therapies, can improve the psychological wellbeing of people with chronic illnesses. However, limited research on the effects of yoga in people with PD has been conducted. This study will determine the effects of yoga on the psychological wellbeing of people with mild-to-moderate PD and will compare these effects with those of stretching and resistance training exercises. Methods A community-based, single-blind, randomized trial will be conducted. A total of 126 subjects will be recruited and randomly divided into yoga (n = 63) or stretching and resistance exercise (n = 63) groups. For 8 weeks, the yoga group will receive a weekly 90-min session of yoga, and the control group will receive a weekly 60-min session of stretching and resistance exercises. The primary outcome will be the level of psychological distress measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. The secondary outcomes will include the severity of motor symptoms measured by the Movement Disorders Society – Unified Parkinson’s Disease Scale − Part III Motor Examination; mobility, balance, and fall risk measured by the Timed Up and Go test; spiritual wellbeing measured by the Holistic Wellbeing Scale; and HRQoL measured by the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-8. Assessment will be conducted at baseline, 8th, and 20th weeks of follow-ups. Discussion This study will be the first randomized trial to compare the effect of yoga versus stretching and resistance training exercises in a PD population. Results will contribute to the value of yoga as a therapeutic option for managing psychological distress in PD patients. Multiple outcomes including psychological, physiological, and spiritual and HRQoL will also be measured to elucidate the potential mechanisms of yoga. The effect of yoga on people with chronic illnesses will further be elucidated. This information should contribute to future research, practice, and policy related to PD management.

OBJECTIVE:To assess whether a self-directed, computer-guided meditation training program is useful for stress reduction in hospital nurses. DESIGN: We prospectively evaluated participants before and after a month-long meditation program. The meditation program consisted of 15 computer sessions that used biofeedback to reinforce training. Participants were instructed to practice the intervention for 30 minutes per session, four times a week, for four weeks. Visual analogue scales were used to measure stress, anxiety, and quality of life (assessments were performed using Linear Analogue Self-Assessment [LASA], State Trait Anxiety Inventory [STAI], and Short-Form 36 [SF-36] questionnaires). Differences in scores from baseline to the study's end were compared using the paired t test. RESULTS: Eleven registered nurses not previously engaged in meditation were enrolled; eight completed the study. Intent-to-treat analysis showed significant improvement in stress management, as measured by SF-36 vitality subscale (P = .04), STAI (P = .03), LASA stress (P = .01), and LASA anxiety (P = .01). Nurses were highly satisfied with the meditation program, rating it 8.6 out of 10. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this pilot study suggest the feasibility and efficacy of a biofeedback-assisted, self-directed, meditation training program to help hospital nurses reduce their stress and anxiety. Optimal frequency of use of the program, as well as the duration of effects, should be addressed in future studies.

Clinical studies of MBSR have reported efficacy in treating pain, mood disorders, arthritis, sleep disturbances, and stress. Several academic medical institutions in the United States offer MBSR to their patients, but it has never been offered at Mayo Clinic. The objective of this study was to collect quality-of-life data from subjects who participated in the first MBSR program offered at Mayo Clinic. The class was taught as a collaborative effort with the University of Minnesota that had an established MBSR program. Sixteen participants completed a validated, 12-question, linear analogue self-assessment instrument, administered at the beginning and end of the program. Comparison of assessment scores using paired t-tests showed statistically significant improvement in overall quality of life (P = 0.04), mental well-being (P = 0.005), physical well-being (P < 0.001), emotional well-being (P < 0.001), level of social activity (P = .02), and spiritual well-being (P = 0.006). Although positive changes also were observed for frequency of pain, severity of pain, level of fatigue, level of support from friends and family, and financial and legal concerns, they were not statistically significant. A short intervention in the education of mindfulness significantly improved quality of life for participants.

This chapter explores various methods for incorporating yoga into a psychotherapy treatment regimen to help psychotherapists achieve short-term symptom relief for their clients as well as long-term solutions for mental health and balance. The philosophical underpinnings of yoga, as they relate to the therapeutic process, are briefly described before current research on the psychological effects of yoga is addressed. Methods for using yoga classes in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy to enrich the therapeutic process and facilitate growth (e.g., enhanced self-awareness, self-understanding, self-acceptance), along with guidelines for its introduction to clients, are outlined. Next, the methods of Iyengar yoga, kundalini yoga meditation, and Sudarshan Kriya yoga are explored as potential techniques psychotherapists can learn to use during and in between psychotherapy sessions to help clients reduce anxiety and depression and address other psychological and psychiatric disorders. Finally, this chapter examines the utility of yoga for psychotherapists seeking professional development and burnout prevention strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

This chapter explores various methods for incorporating yoga into a psychotherapy treatment regimen to help psychotherapists achieve short-term symptom relief for their clients as well as long-term solutions for mental health and balance. The philosophical underpinnings of yoga, as they relate to the therapeutic process, are briefly described before current research on the psychological effects of yoga is addressed. Methods for using yoga classes in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy to enrich the therapeutic process and facilitate growth (e.g., enhanced self-awareness, self-understanding, self-acceptance), along with guidelines for its introduction to clients, are outlined. Next, the methods of Iyengar yoga, kundalini yoga meditation, and Sudarshan Kriya yoga are explored as potential techniques psychotherapists can learn to use during and in between psychotherapy sessions to help clients reduce anxiety and depression and address other psychological and psychiatric disorders. Finally, this chapter examines the utility of yoga for psychotherapists seeking professional development and burnout prevention strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

This study sought to investigate whether washing dishes could be used as an informal contemplative practice, promoting the state of mindfulness along with attendant emotional and attentional phenomena. We hypothesized that, relative to a control condition, participants receiving mindful dishwashing instruction would evidence greater state mindfulness, attentional awareness, and positive affect, as well as reduce negative affect and lead to overestimations of time spent dishwashing. A sample of 51 college students engaged in either a mindful or control dishwashing practice before completing measures of mindfulness, affect, and experiential recall. Mindful dishwashers evidenced greater state mindfulness, increases in elements of positive affect (i.e., inspiration), decreases in elements of negative affect (i.e., nervousness), and overestimations of dishwashing time. Implications for these findings are diverse and suggest that mindfulness as well as positive affect could be cultivated through intentionally engaging in a broad range of activities.