Researchers of the Universitat de València collaborate in a clinical trial to reduce chronic stress thanks to mindfulness

  • February 21st, 2017

Researchers of the Universitat de València, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera and the Hospital de Sagunto will carry out a clinical trial with Crohn and ulcerative colitis patients in March. This study will take place in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Unit (IBD) of the Department of Internal Medicine of the Hospital de Sagunto.

It is focus on testing the effectiveness of a novel and non-invasive procedure based on Mindfulness to reduce the level of chronic stress among patients of this unit. Stress is a variable that possibly has influence in this type of chronic-inflammatory diseases and their control can improve the living standards and avoid outbreaks of this disease.

To carry out this clinical trial, the IBD of the Hospital de Sagunto has signed a collaboration agreement with the research group Labpsitec-Valencia of the Universitat de València, international example in Mindfulness practice; and with the Department of Health Sciences of the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera in Valencia, international example in neuroprotection and neuroinflammation.

Symptoms and stress

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Unit (IBD) is a group of autoimmune diseases that are characterised by being chronic inflammatory processes that affects fundamentally, but not exclusively, the gut. The IBD is emerging as a global epidemic and there is a clear relation between the increase in the influence of IBD and environmental factors related to the socioeconomic development.

Ulcerative colitis as well as Chron disease are diagnosed at an early age and have a great impact on living standards of the patient. This is because they tend to have symptoms such as diarrhoea, fecal incontinence, abdominal pain which involves hospital admissions, surgical operations and chronic treatments. The latter could be hospital intravenous treatments in some occasions. Furthermore, these inflammatory diseases tend to produce outbreaks or periods with inflammatory activity that aggravate these incapacitating symptoms, merged with other asymptomatic periods. Among young patients, these outbreaks can cause emotional anxious-depressive response.

According to Rosa Baños, professor of the Universitat de València, and Juan Fco. Lisón, this project is a clear example of how the union and synergies can lead to important research, which could have an impact on society, and how three model institutions in different fields of the Region of Valencia, join forces to develop new therapeutic tool useful to improve the health and living standards of the patients.

Controlled the stress, controlled the disease

According to Xavier Cortés, assistant doctor of the Hospital de Sagunto and professor of the Department of Medicine of the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, there’s a relation between the stress and the existence of outbreaks of IBD or a bad control of the disease, so the patient receives the stress conditions as “triggers” of the disease. Therefore, regarding the IBD treatment, it’s important to pay attention to the stress factor, with the double aim of improving the living standards of the patients as well as a better control of the disease.

Since the training based on mindfulness has proved to be an effective psychologic treatment for the reduction of stress in patients with limiting chronic diseases, the research team has decided to carry out this clinical trial for the inflammatory bowel disease. “We think that the training based on mindfulness can reduce the levels of chronic stress and consequently, not only can improve the anxiety and depression scores, but also it can contribute to reduce the pro-inflammatory synthesis of cytokines, whereas reducing the outbreaks in the activity of this disease, promoting a long-term clinical remission”, has claimed José Miguel Soria, professor of the Department of Biomedical Sciences of CEU and expert in neuroprotection and neuroinflammation.  

An online application for the therapy

Patients of the Hospital de Sagunto who participates in this clinical trial, will receive four collective face-to-face sessions by a specialised therapist in hospital. Also, they will constantly receive online support sessions in a practical way from their homes in March, has said Ausiàs Cebolla, professor of the Universitat de València and researcher in mindfulness and member of the group Labpsitec. Apart from these sessions, the study is supported by an application carried out specifically by the group Labpsitec (in collaboration with the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón) in order to provide the patients with an easy access to the therapy whenever and wherever.

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