Research: GROSS and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 104


GROSS and co-workers, College of Pharmacy and School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, USA, have conducted a pilot study on the use of mindfulness meditation to reduce symptoms after organ transplant.


People who have undergone a solid organ transplant require lifelong immune suppression with all its potentially distressing side effects and complications. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction to decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance, and to improve quality of life in these patients.


In this longitudinal study, 20 patients who had received a transplant of kidney, lung, or pancreas were enrolled. They attended a mindfulness-based stress reduction class for 2.5 hours weekly for 8 weeks. Home practice, targeted to be 45 minutes daily for 5 days a week, was monitored. Depression, anxiety, and sleep dysfunction were assessed at baseline, post treatment and at 3-months follow-up.


Symptoms of depression and sleep disturbance were improved post treatment (p = 0.006 and 0.011, respectively). At 3 months, improvements in sleep continued, and a significant improvement in anxiety was seen (p = 0.043). The scores for both anxiety and sleep disturbance showed a linear dose-response curve with practice time. Depression scores showed a quadratic relationship with practice time and at 3 months were back to baseline. Global and health-related quality of life measures were not affected.


A randomized trial should be done to collect better data and correct for effects of group support and instructor attention and overcome the limitations of sample size and follow-up time. It seems justified to conduct such a trial as symptom distress in transplant recipients appears to respond to mindfulness-based stress reduction.


Gross CR, Kreitzer MJ, Russas V, Treesak C, Frazier PA, Hertz MI. Mindfulness meditation to reduce symptoms after organ transplant: a pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 10 (3): 58-66, May-Jun 2004.

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