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Monday, April 9, 2018

Online Meditation Course Seen to Help MS Patients Manage Symptoms in Clinical Trial

Online training in  meditation based on mindfulness can improve the quality of life for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients while easing depression, anxiety, and sleep problems, a study conducted in Italy reports.
These findings add to the growing body of evidence that interventions able to improve overall well-being can help patients in managing their symptoms. But such benefits are likely not sustained if training is not practiced regularly. 
A clinical trial (NCT02364505), that concluded in 2016, recruited 139 MS patients at Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation Hospital in Milan. They were randomly assigned to either an eight-week online meditation course as part of the “mindfulness-based intervention” group (54 patients), or an online educational course as part of the “online psychoeducation” group that served as a control arm (67 patients). Eighteen patients withdrew at the beginning of the study.
Participants had either relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive MS; patients with severe co-morbidities, severe neuropsychological impairment, psychosis, dissociative disorders, or who were pregnant were excluded.
Those on meditation training were given an telemedicine mindfulness-based stress reduction course, which included music meditations, discussions about symptom acceptance, video conferences with a trainer, and live sessions via video-chat. A specific website was created to encourage the sharing of content among group members.
Control group patients took an online course that included informational videos and home exercises.

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