After my first year in Saybrook’s Mind-Body Medicine Ph.D. program (research track) my mission becomes a little clearer. I am still not quite clear on what my dissertation will be about.
The past year was very exciting. I wrapped up several intensive residential requirements, and participated in the Initial Professional Training Program (PTP) and the Advanced Professional Training Program (ATP) at Dr. Gordon’s (who just happens to be the Dean of College of Mind-Body Medicine) Center for Mind Body Medicine. I also had the opportunity to take the Center’s model of Mind Body Skills Groups into the workplace, where it received rave reviews from my participants.
So, anyway, after a sabbatical from blogging, I am going to narrow my focus to Mind-Body modalities and cancer. There is good research emerging in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, a field I hope to have the opportunity to conduct research myself.
My first article I present is by Pace et. al (2010) who published a paper titled “Innate immune, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress do not predict subsequent compassion meditation practice time.” Pace et al. showed that plasma levels of the cytokine IL-6 were significantly reduced by a practice called compassion meditation. This group showed that the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) was capable of increasing plasma IL-6 in high practice and low practice meditation participants who were challenged with the TSST. In a prior study, the same researchers used a protocol in which meditation occurred before the TSST was administered, raising a very interesting point of prophylactic effect of compassionate meditation on immune system.
The significance of IL-6 reduction will become apparent in future posts. Right now, it is important to note that stress was significantly reduced via meditation in this study by Emory University School of Medicine researchers.
Pace, T. W. W., Negi, L. T., Sivilli, T. I., Issa, M. J., Cole, S. P., Adame, D. D., & Raison, C. L. (2010). Innate immune, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress do not predict subsequent compassion meditation practice time. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(2), 310-315. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.06.008