Last December I posted an announcement that I was going to look for participants for a pilot project, investigating clinical hypnosis and the immune system based on the cytokine Interleukin 1-beta. The aim was to recruit nine pancreatic cancer patients for this project. However time constraints did not allow for this to happen. So I looked to healthy volunteers to do this study.
I finally did write the study up and submitted abstracts for both, the pilot study and the extensive literature review to the Society of Clinical Hypnosis (SCEH) for presentation at the 64th Annual SCEH Scientific Session. I am happy to inform that I will be presenting both papers in October in Berkeley, CA at the 64th SCEH conference.
The following is a short excerpt from my Institutional Review Board application for the human subjects research project.
Introduction: Because of a lack of tests for early cancer screening of the general population, roughly half of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed at a late stage. Unfortunately, the median survival rate for advanced pancreatic cancer patients is six months, in comparison to two years for pancreatic cancer patients who were able to undergo surgery (National Cancer Institute, 2010).
Clinical hypnosis and guided imagery have been shown to affect a person’s immune function (here I refer to a literature review conducted as part of this project, I will get to this in just a moment). This project will look at clinical hypnosis and its impact on the immune system as it pertains to a person afflicted with pancreatic cancer.
Aim: Through an exploratory, randomized controlled study, I intend to investigate the effects of clinical hypnosis on the immune system of patients suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Challenge: To quantify immunological response via the pro-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin 1- beta (IL-1β) in research participants.
Approach: Study participants will be assigned into three groups, (1) Wait-List Control, (2) Treatment as usual plus clinical hypnosis administered face-to-face or (3) treatment as usual plus clinical hypnosis administered online.
As mentioned before, regrettably, there was not enough time to recruit enough pancreatic cancer patients, so I rounded up healthy volunteers. The volunteers allowed me to carry out the project on time, and I am ever so appreciative to them.
The paper “Is there a difference in the expression of interleukin-1 beta between hypnotherapy administered on-line, face-to-face or a waitlisted control group” will be presented during the poster session.
Here is the abstract for this paper:
Title: Is There A Difference In The Expression Of Interleukin-1 Beta Between Hypnotherapy Administered On-Line, Face-To-Face, Or A Waitlisted Control Group?
Objective: To investigate whether clinical hypnosis, administered either face-to-face or online, has modulatory effects on a person’s immune system, cytokine salivary interleukin-1 beta (IL-1ß) was quantified.
Methods: Nine healthy volunteers were recruited for this randomized intervention study quantifying salivary IL-1ß.
Results: All statistical tests were non-significant. However, even though, all tests were statistically non-significant, IL-1β Means decreased over time in the waitlisted control group 80% CI [-263.53, 457.28], whereas IL-1β levels in both the face-to-face intervention CI [320.48, 1041.29] and the online intervention 80% CI [195.76, 916.571] increased.
Conclusions: To the author’s best knowledge, this is the first exploration of hypnotherapy offered in an online group environment investigating the effects of hypnotherapy on the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1ß. While not statistically significant, a trend in the data seems to support the notion that hypnotherapy offered online might exert the same effects on IL-1ß as face-to-face hypnotherapy.
Scientific Significance: This research explored a new venue for the delivery of hypnotherapy: The World Wide Web. To the best of the author’s knowledge, the effects of online hypnotherapy on IL-1ß are investigated here for the first time.
Cancer related health disparities exist in the burden of illness and death experienced by minorities, low socioeconomic status (low- SES) populations and rural populations. Hypnotherapy has potential immunomodulatory effects via the modulation of cytokines. Sickness behavior in cancer patients is dependent on expression of cytokines. Underserved cancer populations could be served by combining hypnotherapy with the latest available communications technology to ameliorate the effects of sickness behavior.
The paper ”What are the effects of clinical hypnosis on the modulation of cytokines: A systematic review” will be presented in the form of a short presentation with a brief period for questions and answers.
Here is a short abstract for this paper:
Title: What are the effects of clinical hypnosis on the modulation of cytokines: A systematic review.
Abstract: To investigate whether clinical hypnosis has modulatory effects on a person’s immune system via the expression of cytokines a systematic review was undertaken.
Study Selection: Only hypnosis studies quantifying cytokines defined by nomenclature (e.g. Interleukin-1 [IL-1]) or descriptive nomenclature (e.g. Colony Stimulating Factors [CSF]) were included.
Data Synthesis: Six studies met the inclusion criteria (n=133). Primary outcome relevant to this review was immunomodulatory change from baseline to study end quantified via changes in expression of cytokines IL-1ß (n=57), IL-2 (n=16), IL-4 (n=16), IL-5 (n=9), LPS (n=36), Serum IL-6 (n=36), Serum IL-13 (n=36), sTNFαRII (n=24), TNFSF9 (n=9) and TNFα (n=45). A pooled effect sized of hypnosis intervention was calculated r = .64, 95% CI [0.13-0.34].
Conclusion: Clinical hypnosis appears to have modulatory effects on a person’s immune system as quantified via the expression of IL-1ß, IL-2, IL-5, IL-6, sTNFαRII, TNFSF9 and TNF-α.
Scientific Significance: A need exists for evidence-based integrative cancer therapies after diagnosis with cancer. This systematic review reveals a gap in hypnosis research. In the past decade, only four articles were published investigating immunomodulatory effects of hypnosis as expressed by cytokines.
Only one study published in the past 17 years was identified that investigated hypnosis and cytokines in patients suffering from a chronic health condition, the other studies utilized healthy volunteers. Cytokines play crucial immunomodulatory roles in patients afflicted by cancer. The potential immunomodulatory effects of clinical hypnosis as they pertain to sickness behavior in cancer patients need to be explored.
Again, the event is 64th Annual Meeting: The Future of Professional Hypnosis: Practice, Process & Outcomes. Please join us in Berkeley, California, October 2-6, 2013 at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton Berkeley Marina
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