Dr. Akshya Vasudev, a research assistant at the Lawson Medical Institute and associate professor at the Western Schulich School of Medicine and dentistry.
Meditation – not just a medicine – is effective treatment for elderly patients with a late life depression, say researchers in London in a new study of the elderly who are struggling with mood disorders.
In clinical trials, 83 men and women aged 60 to 85 years were involved in London, the Center for the Health Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia. Joseph's Health Care London and the community. In addition to standard depression therapy, one group carried out a meditation technique that could include medication or psychotherapy while the other received only the other one.
The participants learned a special kind of technique, meditation Sahaj Samadhi, developed by the international non-profit art of life. Trainers were trained to teach patients how to meditate.
The combination of calmening activity and standard depressive treatment was three times more effective than standard therapy alone.
"They came to remission much faster," said dr. Akshya Vasudev, a research assistant at the Lawson Medical Institute and associate professor at the Western Schulich School of Medicine and dentistry. "We know that meditation helps, but I was surprised at clinical patients with very poor depression … they came with sticks, they were happy with it."
Patients with moderate depression participated in the study group. Mood disorders affected their patterns of sleep and appetite, influenced the desire to leave their home or communicate with others, and many feel that their life is not worth living, Vasudev said.
The five-year study included researchers from the Lawson Medical Research Institute – the research arm of St. Joseph's Health Care London and the London Health Sciences Center – and the West University.
The study covered the autumn and appears in the latest edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Depression Late Life affects as many as 300,000 Canadians and is associated with an increased risk of heart problems.
The research team provided funding for a more extensive study of meditation and depression of late life, involving 160 patients in London and Montreal.
The next study will show how meditation helps depression that is resistant to traditional healing, and will also analyze in detail how the technique of calming mind influences the physical symptoms of depression, including whether it improves slow walking, cognition and the extent of the brain.