The research entitled ‘The effect of mindfulness-based interventions on immunity-related biomarkers: a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials’ was conducted by Dr Thomas Dunn (Bishop Grosseteste University) and Dr Mirena Dimolareva (Bath Spa University) and is currently in press in Clinical Psychology Review.
MBI techniques focus on the concept of mindfulness, defined as the ability to observe thoughts, bodily sensations, or feelings in the present moment nonjudgmentally. According to the researchers, “Although evidence suggests such practices can be beneficial for psychological functioning, the role of MBIs in treating physiological disorders is less clear. As such, we conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis of 48 randomised controlled trials examining the effect of MBIs on three immune parameters (and associated biomarkers): inflammation (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, nuclear factor KB), infection response (CD4+ cells) and biological aging (telomere length, telomerase activity) at post-intervention and follow up.”
The researchers highlight that “it’s important to understand the connection between engaging in such practices as mindfulness meditation and changes to immune-related biological markers in the body as they have been linked to multiple psychological disorders and physiological diseases including chronic stress, depression, breast and prostate cancer, tumor growth, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and HIV.”
MBIs were shown to positively impact the immune system by producing reduced levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, which are linked to levels of inflammation in the body; longer and more active telomeres, which are protective DNA sequences that ensure chromosomal stability and DNA replication; and improved maintenance of CD4+ t-cell counts, which help to improve effective response to pathogens.
Dr Thomas Dunn, said: “Understanding the link between psychology and immunity is crucial to advancing human wellbeing. Our analysis suggests that mindfulness-based interventions may reduce inflammation in the body as well as protect against cell ageing. These findings are in line with the idea that mindfulness-based therapeutic techniques, such as meditation, may have the potential to impact somatic disorders by reducing the adverse effect of psychological and oxidative stress processes on immune function.”
The full article can be viewed online at: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1eSna%7E0r1oQ-V