Newsletter – May 2016

Mindfulness Therapy Effective in Dealing with Recurrent Depression: Study



Writer: Tanya Campbell

Date: 30 Apr 2016


Researchers have reported that mindfulness therapy could help decrease the risk of repeated bouts of depression. Depression isn’t easy to deal with but with mindfulness therapy, the research team has noticed better control among individuals. Mindfulness therapy also offers long term benefits for individuals in controlling their mind and deal with negative thoughts which could eventually lead to depression.

A team headed by Willem Kuyken, of the University of Oxford in England, conducted a new study wherein they examined the results of nine published studies. The research involved around 1,300 patients with depression history. The researchers compared the efficiency of mindfulness therapy against usual depression care and other existing treatments, which includes antidepressants.

The team reported that they found that post 60 weeks of follow-up, the participants who had have undergone mindfulness therapy had lesser chances of experiencing a relapse of depression as compared to the ones who received normal care, and possessed nearly same risk for the ones who received other active treatments.

According to the study authors, mindfulness therapy could provide more benefits as compared to other treatments for patients suffering from severe depression. The study has appeared online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on April 27.

An expert not linked to the study described the mindfulness approach. Dr. Ami Baxi, a psychiatrist who directs adult inpatient services at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) improves awareness of thoughts and emotions that an individual has experienced and allows development of skills to deal with them in a better way.

In an accompanying editorial, Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison informed that mindfulness practices were in initially created as therapeutic treatments, and have originally emerged in thoughtful traditions to cultivate well-being and virtue.

As per Davidson, “The questions of whether and how they might be helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression and other related psychopathologies are quite new, and the evidence base is in its embryonic stage”.

A report published in Healio revealed, “As an update to a previous meta-analysis assessing efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for prevention of depressive relapse in recurrent depression, researchers identified four additional trials suitable for inclusion, yielding 10 studies for qualitative analysis. Study participants (n = 1,258) had a mean age of 47.1 years, and 75% were female.”

Participants who received mindfulness-based cognitive therapy had lower risk for depressive relapse within a 60-week follow-up period, compared with those who did not receive mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (HR = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.58-0.82).

“Inspired in part by Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness involves training the brain to deal with negative emotions using techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and yoga,” according to a news report published by Independent.

But the new study – the largest-ever analysis of research on the subject – found mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) helped people just as much as commonly prescribed anti-depressant drugs and that there was no evidence of any harmful effects.

According to a report in Livescience by Sara G. Miller, “In the analysis, the researchers looked at nine studies that included a total of about 1,300 people. After 60 weeks, the researchers looked at whether or not the participants experienced a relapse in their depression symptoms. They found that, compared with people receiving other types of treatment for depression, those who received MBCT were less likely to experience a relapse of symptoms. In addition, the effects were similar among people of different age groups, educational levels, marital status and sex, according to the study.”

The new meta-analysis “provides strong evidence that MBCT is effective in reducing risk of depressive relapse and is particularly effective for patients with higher levels of depressive severity before treatment,” said Richard Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in an editorial that was published alongside the study in the journal.

Vihara News

Meeting at the Vihara on Saturday May 14th at 6:00 p.m.

The Vihara will hold a meeting at its premises on May 14, Saturday, at 6:00 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to:

1.    Plan the organization of the Vesak ceremony (which is on May 28 & 29)

2.   Discuss the future programs for the progress of the Vihara and community.

The meeting will end strictly at 7:30 p.m.. Refreshments will be served afterwards.

You are cordially invited to attend!


Vesak on May 28th & 29th

Vesak ceremony at the Vihara will be held on May 28th & 29th (Saturday & Sunday).  On 28th, the program will begin with a Bodi Puja at 6:00 p.m. followed by Buddhist devotional hymns sung by the students of children’s Dhamma classes.

On Sunday 29th, the program will begin at 6:00 a.m. with the observance of the Eight Precepts. There will be a Dhamma talk for Sila observers in Sinhala at 10:00 a.m.

After Buddha Puja, Dana, and lunch for the attendees, a Dhamma talk will be given in English for all the participants.

The Vihara has invited several Bhikkhus from distant temples to participate and conduct some services. You will also receive the invitation card by mail during mid-May.