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1.  A Randomized Pilot Trial of a Moderate Carbohydrate Diet Compared to a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet in Overweight or Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Prediabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e91027.
We compared the effects of two diets on glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and other health-related outcomes in overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes (HbA1c>6%). We randomized participants to either a medium carbohydrate, low fat, calorie-restricted, carbohydrate counting diet (MCCR) consistent with guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (n = 18) or a very low carbohydrate, high fat, non calorie-restricted diet whose goal was to induce nutritional ketosis (LCK, n = 16). We excluded participants receiving insulin; 74% were taking oral diabetes medications. Groups met for 13 sessions over 3 months and were taught diet information and psychological skills to promote behavior change and maintenance. At 3 months, mean HbA1c level was unchanged from baseline in the MCCR diet group, while it decreased 0.6% in the LCK group; there was a significant between group difference in HbA1c change favoring the LCK group (−0.6%, 95% CI, −1.1% to −0.03%, p = 0.04). Forty-four percent of the LCK group discontinued one or more diabetes medications, compared to 11% of the MCCR group (p = 0.03); 31% discontinued sulfonylureas in the LCK group, compared to 5% in the MCCR group (p = 0.05). The LCK group lost 5.5 kg vs. 2.6 kg lost in MCCR group (p = 0.09). Our results suggest that a very low carbohydrate diet coupled with skills to promote behavior change may improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes while allowing decreases in diabetes medications.
This clinical trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01713764.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091027
PMCID: PMC3981696  PMID: 24717684
2.  Self-reported interoceptive awareness in primary care patients with past or current low back pain 
Journal of Pain Research  2013;6:403-418.
Background
Mind–body interactions play a major role in the prognosis of chronic pain, and mind–body therapies such as meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, and Feldenkrais presumably provide benefits for pain patients. The Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) scales, designed to measure key aspects of mind–body interaction, were developed and validated with individuals practicing mind–body therapies, but have never been used in pain patients.
Methods
We administered the MAIA to primary care patients with past or current low back pain and explored differences in the performance of the MAIA scales between this and the original validation sample. We compared scale means, exploratory item cluster and confirmatory factor analyses, scale–scale correlations, and internal-consistency reliability between the two samples and explored correlations with validity measures.
Results
Responses were analyzed from 435 patients, of whom 40% reported current pain. Cross-sectional comparison between the two groups showed marked differences in eight aspects of interoceptive awareness. Factor and cluster analyses generally confirmed the conceptual model with its eight dimensions in a pain population. Correlations with validity measures were in the expected direction. Internal-consistency reliability was good for six of eight MAIA scales. We provided specific suggestions for their further development.
Conclusion
Self-reported aspects of interoceptive awareness differ between primary care patients with past or current low back pain and mind–body trained individuals, suggesting further research is warranted on the question whether mind–body therapies can alter interoceptive attentional styles with pain. The MAIA may be useful in assessing changes in aspects of interoceptive awareness and in exploring the mechanism of action in trials of mind–body interventions in pain patients.
doi:10.2147/JPR.S42418
PMCID: PMC3677847  PMID: 23766657
interoception; body awareness; low back pain; questionnaire
3.  The Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48230.
This paper describes the development of a multidimensional self-report measure of interoceptive body awareness. The systematic mixed-methods process involved reviewing the current literature, specifying a multidimensional conceptual framework, evaluating prior instruments, developing items, and analyzing focus group responses to scale items by instructors and patients of body awareness-enhancing therapies. Following refinement by cognitive testing, items were field-tested in students and instructors of mind-body approaches. Final item selection was achieved by submitting the field test data to an iterative process using multiple validation methods, including exploratory cluster and confirmatory factor analyses, comparison between known groups, and correlations with established measures of related constructs. The resulting 32-item multidimensional instrument assesses eight concepts. The psychometric properties of these final scales suggest that the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) may serve as a starting point for research and further collaborative refinement.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048230
PMCID: PMC3486814  PMID: 23133619
4.  Changes in stress, eating, and metabolic factors are related to changes in telomerase activity in a randomized mindfulness intervention pilot study 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2011;37(7):917-928.
Summary
Background
Psychological distress and metabolic dysregulation are associated with markers of accelerated cellular aging, including reduced telomerase activity and shortened telomere length. We examined whether participation in a mindfulness-based intervention, and, secondarily, improvements in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic factors are associated with increases in telomerase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Methods
We enrolled 47 overweight/obese women in a randomized waitlist-controlled pilot trial (n = 47) of a mindfulness-based intervention for stress eating and examined changes in telomerase activity from pre- to post-intervention. In secondary analyses, changes in telomerase activity across the sample were examined in relation to pre- to post-intervention changes in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic factors (weight, serum cortisol, fasting glucose and insulin, and insulin resistance).
Results
Both groups increased in mean telomerase activity over 4 months in intent-to-treat and treatment efficacy analyses (p < 0.001). Nonsignificant trends showed that greater attendance was associated with increases in telomerase, and telomerase increases were 18% higher among ‘as treated’ participants compared to controls. Across groups, changes in chronic stress, anxiety, dietary restraint, dietary fat intake, cortisol, and glucose were negatively correlated with changes in telomerase activity. In exploratory analyses, decreases in dietary fat intake partially mediated the association between dietary restraint and telomerase activity with marginal significance.
Conclusions
While there was no clear effect of the intervention on telomerase activity, there was a striking pattern of correlations between improvements in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic health and increases in telomerase activity. These findings suggest that telomerase activity may be in part regulated by levels of both psychological and metabolic stress.
doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.10.008
PMCID: PMC3384690  PMID: 22169588
Stress; Anxiety; Mindfulness; Dietary restraint; Telomerase; Cell aging; Cortisol
5.  Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study 
Journal of Obesity  2011;2011:651936.
Psychological distress and elevated cortisol secretion promote abdominal fat, a feature of the Metabolic Syndrome. Effects of stress reduction interventions on abdominal fat are unknown. Forty-seven overweight/obese women (mean BMI = 31.2) were randomly assigned to a 4-month intervention or waitlist group to explore effects of a mindfulness program for stress eating. We assessed mindfulness, psychological distress, eating behavior, weight, cortisol awakening response (CAR), and abdominal fat (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) pre- and posttreatment. Treatment participants improved in mindfulness, anxiety, and external-based eating compared to control participants. Groups did not differ on average CAR, weight, or abdominal fat over time. However, obese treatment participants showed significant reductions in CAR and maintained body weight, while obese control participants had stable CAR and gained weight. Improvements in mindfulness, chronic stress, and CAR were associated with reductions in abdominal fat. This proof of concept study suggests that mindfulness training shows promise for improving eating patterns and the CAR, which may reduce abdominal fat over time.
doi:10.1155/2011/651936
PMCID: PMC3184496  PMID: 21977314
6.  Body Awareness: a phenomenological inquiry into the common ground of mind-body therapies 
Enhancing body awareness has been described as a key element or a mechanism of action for therapeutic approaches often categorized as mind-body approaches, such as yoga, TaiChi, Body-Oriented Psychotherapy, Body Awareness Therapy, mindfulness based therapies/meditation, Feldenkrais, Alexander Method, Breath Therapy and others with reported benefits for a variety of health conditions. To better understand the conceptualization of body awareness in mind-body therapies, leading practitioners and teaching faculty of these approaches were invited as well as their patients to participate in focus groups. The qualitative analysis of these focus groups with representative practitioners of body awareness practices, and the perspectives of their patients, elucidated the common ground of their understanding of body awareness. For them body awareness is an inseparable aspect of embodied self awareness realized in action and interaction with the environment and world. It is the awareness of embodiment as an innate tendency of our organism for emergent self-organization and wholeness. The process that patients undergo in these therapies was seen as a progression towards greater unity between body and self, very similar to the conceptualization of embodiment as dialectic of body and self described by some philosophers as being experienced in distinct developmental levels.
doi:10.1186/1747-5341-6-6
PMCID: PMC3096919  PMID: 21473781
7.  Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres 
Understanding the malleable determinants of cellular aging is critical to understanding human longevity. Telomeres may provide a pathway for exploring this question. Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes. The length of telomeres offers insight into mitotic cell and possibly organismal longevity. Telomere length has now been linked to chronic stress exposure and depression. This raises the question of how might cellular aging be modulated by psychological functioning.
We consider two psychological processes or states that are in opposition to one another--threat cognition and mindfulness--and their effects on cellular aging. Psychological stress cognitions, particularly appraisals of threat and ruminative thoughts, can lead to prolonged states of reactivity. In contrast, mindfulness meditation techniques appear to shift cognitive appraisals from threat to challenge, decrease ruminative thought, and reduce stress arousal. Mindfulness may also directly increase positive arousal states.
We review data linking telomere length to cognitive stress and stress arousal and present new data linking cognitive appraisal to telomere length. Given the pattern of associations revealed so far, we propose that some forms of meditation may have salutary effects on telomere length by reducing cognitive stress and stress arousal and increasing positive states of mind and hormonal factors that may promote telomere maintenance. Aspects of this model are currently being tested in ongoing trials of mindfulness meditation.
doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04414.x
PMCID: PMC3057175  PMID: 19735238
meditation; mindfulness; stress; appraisal; rumination; telomere length; telomerase
8.  Body Awareness: Construct and Self-Report Measures 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5614.
Objectives
Heightened body awareness can be adaptive and maladaptive. Improving body awareness has been suggested as an approach for treating patients with conditions such as chronic pain, obesity and post-traumatic stress disorder. We assessed the psychometric quality of selected self-report measures and examined their items for underlying definitions of the construct.
Data sources
PubMed, PsychINFO, HaPI, Embase, Digital Dissertations Database.
Review methods
Abstracts were screened; potentially relevant instruments were obtained and systematically reviewed. Instruments were excluded if they exclusively measured anxiety, covered emotions without related physical sensations, used observer ratings only, or were unobtainable. We restricted our study to the proprioceptive and interoceptive channels of body awareness. The psychometric properties of each scale were rated using a structured evaluation according to the method of McDowell. Following a working definition of the multi-dimensional construct, an inter-disciplinary team systematically examined the items of existing body awareness instruments, identified the dimensions queried and used an iterative qualitative process to refine the dimensions of the construct.
Results
From 1,825 abstracts, 39 instruments were screened. 12 were included for psychometric evaluation. Only two were rated as high standard for reliability, four for validity. Four domains of body awareness with 11 sub-domains emerged. Neither a single nor a compilation of several instruments covered all dimensions. Key domains that might potentially differentiate adaptive and maladaptive aspects of body awareness were missing in the reviewed instruments.
Conclusion
Existing self-report instruments do not address important domains of the construct of body awareness, are unable to discern between adaptive and maladaptive aspects of body awareness, or exhibit other psychometric limitations. Restricting the construct to its proprio- and interoceptive channels, we explore the current understanding of the multi-dimensional construct and suggest next steps for further research.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005614
PMCID: PMC2680990  PMID: 19440300

Results 1-8 (8)