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The effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction on disease activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised controlled trial
  1. Francesca A Fogarty1,
  2. Roger J Booth2,
  3. Gregory D Gamble3,
  4. Nicola Dalbeth3,
  5. Nathan S Consedine1
  1. 1 Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2 Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  3. 3 Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Francesca A Fogarty, Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, 85 Park Rd, Grafton, Auckland 1023, New Zealand; f.fogarty{at}

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Mindfulness training involves the cultivation of non-judgemental attention to unwanted thoughts, feelings and bodily experiences via meditation and may help ameliorate both psychological and physical symptoms of chronic disease.1 Clinical trials have shown that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).2–4 However, there is limited evidence for its efficacy on disease activity outcomes in RA. Given evidence linking increased mindfulness to improved immune markers,5 mindfulness training may reduce disease activity in patients with RA by enhancing their immune function. The aim of this randomised controlled trial was to examine the effects of a standardised mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention on RA disease activity.

Fifty-one patients with RA, according to the 1987 American College of Rheumatology classification criteria6 and without any prior meditation experience, were recruited from two public hospitals in Auckland, New Zealand. After completing baseline assessments, 26 and 25 participants were randomised to the MBSR and control groups, respectively. The MBSR …

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  • Contributors FAF (the guarantor) accepts full responsibility for the work and the conduct of the study, had access to the data and controlled the decision to publish. FAF conceived of the study, recruited participants and coordinated study visits, delivered the intervention, analysed the data, contributed to the data interpretation and drafted the manuscript. RJB conceived of the study and assisted with protocol development. GDG provided statistical advice. ND assisted with protocol development, supervised access to participants, guided data interpretation and helped draft the manuscript. NSC conceived of the study, supervised delivery of the protocol and data analysis and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Oakley Mental Health Research Foundation.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The NorthernXEthics Committee approved the study, and all patients provided written consent.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.