Nav: Home

Tai chi relieves insomnia in breast cancer survivors

May 10, 2017

If you've ever had insomnia, you know worrying about sleep makes it even harder to fall asleep. For the 30 percent of breast cancer survivors who have insomnia, sleepless nights can lead to depression, fatigue and a heightened risk of disease.

Now, new UCLA research shows that tai chi, a form of slow-moving meditation, is just as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been considered the "gold standard" treatment, with both showing enduring benefits over one year.

The results, published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show that tai chi promotes robust improvements in sleep health in breast cancer survivors with insomnia, with additional benefits of improving depressive symptoms and fatigue. Furthermore, both tai chi and cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a form of talk therapy, showed similar rates of clinically significant improvements in symptoms or remission of insomnia.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers cognitive behavioral therapy the treatment of choice for insomnia. This approach involves identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviors that are affecting the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

While cognitive behavioral therapy treats insomnia, it's too expensive for some people and there is a shortage of trained professionals in the field, said Dr. Michael Irwin, the study's lead author and a UCLA professor of psychiatry and director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

"Because of those limitations, we need community-based interventions like tai chi," Irwin said. Free or low-cost tai chi classes are often offered at libraries, community centers or outdoors in parks. Do-it-yourselfers can find instructional videos on YouTube and smartphone apps.

In previous research, Irwin and colleagues found that tai chi, which relaxes the body and slows breathing, reduced inflammation in breast cancer survivors with the potential to lower risk for disease including cancer recurrence.

To test tai chi's effect on insomnia, researchers recruited 90 breast cancer survivors, who had trouble sleeping three or more times per week and who also reported feeling depressed and fatigue during the daytime. The participants ranged in age from 42 to 83 and were randomly assigned to weekly cognitive behavioral therapy sessions or weekly tai chi instruction for three months. The tai chi group learned a Westernized form of the practice called tai chi chih.

The researchers evaluated the participants at intervals for the next 12 months to determine if they were having insomnia symptoms, as well as symptoms of fatigue and depression, and determined whether they showed improvement.

At 15 months, nearly half of the participants in both groups (46.7 percent in the tai chi group; 43.7 percent in the behavioral therapy group) continued to show robust, clinically significant improvement in their insomnia symptoms.

"Breast cancer survivors often don't just come to physicians with insomnia. They have insomnia, fatigue and depression," said Irwin, who is also a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. "And this intervention, tai chi, impacted all those outcomes in a similar way, with benefits that were as robust as the gold standard treatment for insomnia."

Many of the tai chi participants continued to practice on their own after the study concluded, reflecting the motivation he's observed among breast cancer survivor, Irwin said. "They often are seeking health-promoting activities because they recognize that the mindfulness approach, or health-based lifestyle interventions, may actually protect them," he said.
-end-
The study's other authors include Carmen Carrillo, Perry Nicassio, Richard Olmstead and Nina Sadeghi, all of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology; Dr. Patricia Ganz of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and JCCC; and Julienne Bower professor of psychology and a member of the JCCC.

The study was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (R01 CA 119159), the National Institutes of Health (R01-AG034588, R01-AG026364, R01 CA160245-01, CA195637-01) and the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA's Semel Institute.

University of California - Los Angeles

Related Depression Articles:

Tackling depression by changing the way you think
A thought is a thought. It does not reflect reality.
How depression can muddle thinking
Depression is associated with sadness, fatigue and a lack of motivation.
Neuroimaging categorizes 4 depression subtypes
Patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine.
Studies suggest inflammatory cytokines are associated with depression and psychosis, and that anti-cytokine treatment can reduce depression symptoms
Studies presented at this year's International Early Psychosis Association meeting in Milan, Italy, (Oct.
Is depression in parents, grandparents linked to grandchildren's depression?
Having both parents and grandparents with major depressive disorder was associated with higher risk of MDD for grandchildren, which could help identify those who may benefit from early intervention, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Postpartum depression least severe form of depression in mothers
Postpartum depression -- a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it -- is indeed serious.
Tropical Depression 1E dissipates
Tropical Depression 1E or TD1E didn't get far from the time it was born to the time it weakened to a remnant low pressure area along the southwestern coast of Mexico.
Diagnosing depression before it starts
MIT researchers have found that brain scans may identify children who are vulnerable to depression, before symptoms appear.
Men actually recommend getting help for depression
Participants in a national survey read a scenario describing someone who had depressed symptoms.
Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms
How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- the 'bible' of psychiatry -- diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist.

Related Depression Reading:

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
by Stephen S. Ilardi (Author)

In the past decade, depression rates have skyrocketed, and one in four Americans will suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. Where have we gone wrong? Dr. Stephen Ilardi sheds light on our current predicament and reminds us that our bodies were never designed for the sleep-deprived, poorly nourished, frenzied pace of twenty-first century life.

Inspired by the extraordinary resilience of aboriginal groups like the Kaluli of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Ilardi prescribes an easy-to-follow, clinically proven program that harks back to what our bodies were originally made for and... View Details


The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time
by Alex Korb PhD (Author), Daniel J. Siegel MD (Foreword)

Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. In The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the intricate brain processes that cause depression and offers a practical and effective approach to getting better. Based on the latest research in neuroscience, this book provides dozens of straightforward tips you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life.
 
Whether you suffer from depression or just want a better understanding of the brain, this book... View Details


The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)
by Mark Williams (Author), John Teasdale (Author), Zindel Segal (Author), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Author)

If you’ve ever struggled with depression, take heart. Mindfulness, a simple yet powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences, can help you break the cycle of chronic unhappiness once and for all.

In The Mindful Way through Depression, four uniquely qualified experts explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of it” lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, they demonstrate how to... View Details


Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
by David D. Burns (Author)

The good news is that anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem, and other "black holes" of depression can be cured without drugs. In Feeling Good, eminent psychiatrist, David D. Burns, M.D., outlines the remarkable, scientifically proven techniques that will immediately lift your spirits and help you develop a positive outlook on life. Now, in this updated edition, Dr. Burns adds an All-New Consumer′s Guide To Anti-depressant Drugs as well as a new introduction to help answer your questions about the many options available for treating depression.

-... View Details


Depression & Other Magic Tricks
by Sabrina Benaim (Author)

Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem "Explaining My Depression to My Mother" has become a cultural phenomenon with over 50,000,000 views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Andrea Gibson, author of Pansy, writes "I read this book on a day I couldn't get out of bed and it made me feel like I had a friend in the world...Simply put, this book disappears... View Details


Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression (Volume 2)
by Robert Duff Ph.D. (Author)

Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression is the follow up to the best-selling F**K Anxiety. In this book I take the information, tips, and insights that I have gained as a psychologist and translate them into language that doesn’t suck. This is the self-help book for people that don’t usually like self-help books. In Hardcore Self Help: F**K Depression, I talk to you like a friend. That means I speak directly to you without psychobabble. Instead I tell you why your brain is such a troll. I explain why you have literally no energy or motivation. I tell you why people are so terrible at offering... View Details


How to Be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad): A Creative Workbook
by Lee Crutchley (Author), Oliver Burkeman (Foreword)

Author and illustrator Lee Crutchley brings his lively interactive approach to a little-discussed but very common issue: the struggle with depression and anxiety.
 
Through a series of supportive, surprising, and engaging prompts, HOW TO BE HAPPY (OR AT LEAST LESS SAD) helps readers see things in a new light, and rediscover simple pleasures and everyday joy…or at least feel a little less sad. By turns a workbook, trusted friend, creative outlet, security blanket, and secret diary, the pages of this book will offer solace, distraction, engagement, a fresh perspective, and... View Details


The No-Bullshit Guide to Depression
by Steven Skoczen (Author)

The manual for living with depression that everyone should have been given. 
Funny, insightful, and relentlessly honest, The No-Bullshit Guide to Depression sets down the stigma and talks through every aspect of living with depression and building a life you love.
Broken down into bite-sized chapters, this book is packed full with everything you need to know about depression, and 60+ research-backed tools to take it on.  
The book doesn't shy away from anything. 
It covers day-to-day truths like how food, sleep, and sex get weird and practical insights like how... View Details


The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
by Andrew Solomon (Author)

Andrew Solomon’s National Book Award-winning, bestselling, and transformative masterpiece on depression—“the book for a generation, elegantly written, meticulously researched, empathetic, and enlightening” (Time)—now with a major new chapter covering recently introduced and novel treatments, suicide and anti-depressants, pregnancy and depression, and much more.

The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policy makers... View Details


Rainbows, the coolest book about beating depression
by Buddy Valentine (Author)

This is the black chapter, the first in the collection, of Rainbows, the coolest, funnest book series about fighting depression Rainbows is a vibrant, visual tour of over 100 mood turnaround tips you won't find anywhere else. This is a let's–repaint–everything look at managing depression, stress and anxiety, full of ideas you haven't yet considered. I won't recommend something that I myself haven't tried and also I'll jazz this up with great contributions from today's talented writers, artists and designers plus oddball activities and music playlists and secret codes and downloads and... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Big Five
What are the five biggest global challenges we face right now — and what can we do about them? This hour, TED speakers explore some radical solutions to these enduring problems. Guests include geoengineer Tim Kruger, president of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband, political scientist Ian Bremmer, global data analyst Sarah Menker, and historian Rutger Bregman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#456 Inside a Conservation NGO
This week we take a close look at conservation NGOS: what they do, how they work, and - most importantly - why we need them. We'll be speaking with Shyla Raghav, the Climate Change Lead at Conservation International, about using strategy and policy to tackle climate change. Then we'll speak with Rebecca Shaw, Lead Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, about how and why you should get involved with conservation initiatives.