Influence
March 15, 2021

Regenstrief researcher explores benefits of mindfulness for cancer patients and survivors

Regenstrief Institute Research Scientist Shelley Johns, PsyD, is exploring the potential benefits of mindfulness practice for cancer patients and survivors through her research.

In March 2021, she published the most comprehensive and rigorous examination to-date of the existing evidence regarding mindfulness-based interventions for fatigue in cancer survivors. The analysis included 23 research papers from 21 independent randomized clinical trials. Results suggest that mindfulness interventions show promise in reducing fatigue and improving vitality and vigor. However, the quality of the existing evidence is low. Dr. Johns and coauthors recommend more methodologically robust trials to determine the long-term efficacy of these interventions.

Dr. Johns has also studied the impact of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to treat fear of cancer recurrence in breast cancer survivors. ACT includes elements of mindfulness and being aware of the present moment. In a pilot trial, patients who received that therapy showed significantly larger improvements compared to those who received other treatment approaches.

In a recent episode of The Problem podcast from Regenstrief Institute, Dr. Johns discussed the benefits of practicing mindfulness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Fatigue in Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials” was published in Critical Review in Oncology and Hematology.

Other authors on the paper from Regenstrief are Jennifer Carnahan, M.D., MPH, M.A.; Patrick V. Stutz and Micah T. Faidley.  Will L. Tarver, PhD, of The Ohio State University College of Medicine; Ekin Secinti, Mackenzie L. Shanahan, Catherine E. Mosher, PhD, and Kevin L. Rand, PhD of IUPUI; Tasneem L. Talib, PhD, of Indiana University School of Nursing and Kelley M. Kidwell, PhD, of University of Michigan School of Public Health were also authors on the paper.

About Shelley A. Johns, PsyD

In addition to her role as a research scientist at Regenstrief Institute, Shelley A. Johns, PsyD, is a board-certified clinical health psychologist for the Eskenazi Health Palliative Care Program. Dr. Johns also serves as an associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

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