Evolution of the Meta-Analytic Verdict on Mindfulness Interventions
Meta-analysis is a method for systematically reviewing a large number of outcomes in an area of research and boiling the findings down to an easy to understand metric of benefit. One of the first studies to apply this statistical lens to the field of meditation was Goyal et al. in 2014
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142584/. The Goyal et al. study attracted a lot of attention, not only because it was published in JAMA, but because its conclusions were somewhat sobering. Meditation was not terribly effective across a wide range of medical conditions and showed its greatest promise in the regulation of mood disorders. Fast forward to 2017 and a recent meta-analysis by Goldberg et al.,
provides a slightly different take on things. The virtues of the Goldberg et al. paper is that it narrowed its definition of what was being studied, and in this way, rather than see meditation as a panacea, sough to find impact in contexts better suited to the practice. For example, their focus was on mindfulness based interventions, rather than meditation in general. They also looked at impacts in psychiatric populations, rather than across all internal and mental health conditions. Some cause for hope for sure, but also reminder that more focused work on the mechanisms behind these findings still needs to carried out.
The province will spend $35-million a year so that people, referred by their family doctors, can access free psychotherapy from licensed professionals such as social workers and psychologists, whose fees will now be covered by the province's health-care system.
"Another potential insight of the research is on the basic mechanisms of meditation or focused breathing. “When you inhale, you are in a sense synchronizing brain oscillations across the limbic network,” Zelano noted." ... See MoreSee Less