Self-compassion in medical students: a pilot study of its association with professionalism pressure

To be a “good doctor” and have “good medical practices” are apparent goals for both medical students and medical faculties. However, the associated implicit and explicit standards could be a source of distress in the form of pressure to achieve professionalism. Self-compassion has been identified as a transtherapeutic factor that plays a crucial role in developing and maintaining mental health. It seems to be an essential meta-skill to learn, especially for medical students who often perceive imperfection as failure. In this pilot study, we investigated the qualities that medical students attribute to the “good doctor” concept, how they perceive themselves compared to this concept, and whether any possible discrepancy between these two perspectives could be associated with self-compassion. [Link]

Reference: Světlák M, Daňhelová Š, Kóša B, Slezáčková A, Šumec R (2021). Self-compassion in medical students: a pilot study of its association with professionalism pressure. BMC Med Educ 21, 500 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-021-02930-2


 

Being Mindful at University: A Pilot Evaluation of the Feasibility of an Online Mindfulness-Based Mental Health Support Program for Students

University study can be a life period of heightened psychological distress for many students. We designed an 8-week online mindfulness-based program (eMBP) combining a face-to-face approach, text, audio, video components, and support psychotherapy principles with a unique intensive reminder system using the Facebook Messenger and Slack applications in two separate runs (N = 692). We assessed the program’s effect on mindful experiencing, perceived stress, emotion regulation strategies, self-compassion, negative affect, and quality of life. The results of the presented pilot study confirmed that eMBP is a feasible and effective tool in university students’ mental health support. The study affirms that mindfulness-based interventions can be effectively delivered in an eHealth form to university students. [Link]

Reference: Světlák M, Linhartová P, Knejzlíková T, Knejzlík J, Kóša B, Horníčková V, Jarolínová K, Lučanská K, Slezáčková A and Šumec R (2021) Being Mindful at University: A Pilot evaluation of the Feasibility of an Online Mindfulness-Based Mental Health Support Program for Students. Front. Psychol. 11:581086. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.581086


 

Mindfulness-Based Programs for Patients With Cancer via eHealth and Mobile Health: Systematic Review and Synthesis of Quantitative Research

eHealth mindfulness-based programs (eMBPs) are on the rise in complex oncology and palliative care. However, we are still at the beginning of answering the questions of how effective eMBPs are and for whom, and what kinds of delivery modes are the most efficient. This systematic review aims to examine the feasibility and efficacy of eMBPs in improving the mental health and well-being of patients with cancer, to describe intervention characteristics and delivery modes of these programs, and to summarize the results of the included studies in terms of moderators, mediators, and predictors of efficacy, adherence, and attrition. Although the effects of the reviewed studies were highly heterogeneous, the review provides evidence that eMBPs are an appropriate way for mindfulness practice to be delivered to patients with cancer. Thus far, existing eMBPs have mostly attempted to convert proven face-to-face mindfulness programs to the eHealth mode. They have not yet fully exploited the potential of eHealth technology. [Link]

Reference: Matis J, Svetlak M, Slezackova A, Svoboda M, Šumec R. Mindfulness-Based Programs for Patients With Cancer via eHealth and Mobile Health: Systematic Review and Synthesis of Quantitative Research. J Med Internet Res 2020;22(11):e20709. doi: 10.2196/20709. PMID: 33196452. PMCID: 7704284.


 

Mindfulness/všímavost v paliativní péči - léčivý efekt přítomného okamžiku

Paliativní péče je multidisciplinární přístup, jehož cílem je zlepšení kvality života pacientů a jejich rodin, které čelí život ohrožujícím onemocněním, a to prostřednictvím prevence a mírněním jejich utrpení. Abychom mohli lidem účinně s utrpením pomáhat, je třeba dobře chápat jeho podstatu, dynamiku a to, jak vzniká. Výzkum účinku přístupů založených na mindfulness/všímavosti opakovaně dokládá, že jde o velmi efektivní nástroj v pomoci pacientům v modulování a mírnění jejich utrpení spojeného s nemocí. Prostřednictvím tréninku schopnosti záměrně věnovat pozornost tomu, co se děje v přítomném okamžiku, a to bez posuzování, hodnocení a očekávání, získáváme hluboký vhled do dynamiky utrpení a následně také svobodu nad tím, jak budeme na strasti života reagovat. Rozvíjení naší schopnosti být v přítomném okamžiku představuje jeden ze základních pilířů podpory životní spokojenosti a duševního zdraví a intervence založené na mindfulness/všímavosti by měly být nedílnou součástí komplexní onkologické a paliativní péče. [Link]

Reference: Světlák M. Mindfulness/všímavost v paliativní péči - léčivý efekt přítomného okamžiku. Klin Onkol 2020; 33(Suppl 2): 138-141.


 

The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Depression, Cognition, and Immunity in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Feasibility Study

Mindfulness-based programs have shown a promising effect on several health factors associated with increased risk of dementia and the conversion from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia such as depression, stress, cognitive decline, immune system and brain structural and functional changes. This study's objective was to determine the feasibility and the effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) practice on depression, cognition and immunity in MCI compared to cognitive training. Results have shown that MBSR is well-accepted potentially promising intervention with positive effect on cognition, depressive symptoms and immunological profile. [Link]

Reference: Marciniak R, Šumec R, Vyhnálek M, Bendíčková K, Lázničková P, Forte G, Jeleník A, Římalová V, Frič J, Hort J, Sheardová K. The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Depression, Cognition, and Immunity in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Feasibility Study. Clin Interv Aging. 2020 Aug 12;15:1365-1381. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S249196. PMID: 32848377; PMCID: PMC7429186.


 

Neuroscience of a Wandering Mind: Neural Basis, Changes in Neurodegeneration and a Role of Mindfulness

Average mind wanders half of a daily life, often engaging in mental activities seemingly unrelated to events happening in the present moment. This spontaneous phenomenon, with its underlying complex neural activity, seems to be a central aspect of normal neurocognitive functioning. Disrupted integrity of brain regions involved in mind-wandering, observed in neurodegeneration, can have catastrophic consequences for spontaneous task-unrelated cognition. The present paper discusses neural basis of MW, it's disruption in neurodegenerative process and relevant evidence on the impact of mindfulness in this context. [Link]

Reference: Šumec R, Sheardová K, Dorjee D, Lošák J, Bareš M, Hort J. Neuroscience of a wandering mind: neural basis, changes in neurodegeneration and a role of mindfulness. International conference MINDfulness. 2018.


 

Meditation’s impact on cognitive functions in mild cognitive impairment: A pilot study

Effect of meditation on various domains of cognition in aging and patients at risk of dementia is receiving growing attention. The aim of this study was to examine effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program on cognitive functions in 14 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Results showed that, when comparing values before and after completing MBSR, MCI patients significantly improved in cognitive task assessing psychomotor functions, but not in tasks assessing attention, visual learning, or working memory. Data suggest that mindfulness may positively influence certain cognitive domains in MCI patients. [Link]

Reference: Šumec R, Sheardová K, Marciniak R, Jeleník A, Janošová M, Hort J. Meditation's impact on cognitive functions in mild cognitive impairment: a pilot study. Annual FNUSA-ICRC conference. 2017.


 

Mindful Response to Cognitive Decline: In Search of Prevention of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Effect of mindfulness-based interventions on various domains of cognition is receiving growing attention. The role of mindfulness as a preventive tool against cognitive deterioration has been curious topic of discussion in multiple studies. However, effect of this mental training in patients suffering from an impairment of cognition, such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), is very poorly explored. The present paper discusses the evidence on the effects of several mindfulness programs on cognitive functions in healthy adults, elderly and MCI and hypotheses how could mindfulness-based interventions help in prevention of cognitive decline. It also discusses essential topics of mindfulness research in patients with MCI, it’s possible future directions and informs about initiation of a clinical research project assessing this topic. [Link]

Reference: Šumec R, Sheardová K, Marciniak R, Jeleník A, Bareš M, Hort J. Mindful response to cognitive decline: in search of prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. International conference MINDfulness. 2017.


 

Effect of Meditation on Cognitive Functions in Context of Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases

The present paper reviews evidence on the effects of several mediation practices on cognitive functions in the context of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Overall, reviewed studies suggested a positive effect of meditation techniques, particularly in the area of attention, as well as memory, verbal fluency, and cognitive flexibility. These findings are discussed in the context of MRI studies suggesting structural correlates of the effects. Meditation can be a potentially suitable non-pharmacological intervention aimed at the prevention of cognitive decline in the elderly. However, the conclusions of these studies are limited by their methodological flaws and differences of various types of meditation techniques. Further research in this direction could help to verify the validity of the findings and clarify the problematic aspects. [Link]

Reference: Marciniak R, Sheardova K, Cermáková P, Hudeček D, Šumec R, Hort J. Effect of meditation on cognitive functions in context of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Front Behav Neurosci. 2014;8:17. Published 2014 Jan 27. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00017


 

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