Tibetan Sound Meditation for Cognitive Dysfunction: Results of a randomized controlled pilot study

Psychooncology. 2013 Oct;22(10):2354-63. doi: 10.1002/pon.3296. Epub 2013 May 9.

Authors: Milbury K1, Chaoul A1, Biegler K2, Wangyal T3, Spelman A1, Meyers CA4, Arun B5, Palmer JL6, Taylor J4, Cohen L1.

Objective:

Although chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment is common among breast cancer patients, evidence for effective interventions addressing cognitive deficits is limited. This randomized controlled trial examined the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a Tibetan Sound Meditation (TSM) program to improve cognitive function and quality of life in breast cancer patients.

Methods:

Forty-seven breast cancer patients (mean age 56.3 years), who were staged I–III at diagnosis, 6–60 months post-chemotherapy, and reported cognitive impairment at study entry were recruited. Participants were randomized to either two weekly TSM sessions for 6 weeks or a wait list control group. Neuropsychological assessments were completed at baseline and 1 month post-treatment. Self-report measures of cognitive function (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT)-Cog), quality of life (SF-36), depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), sleep disturbance (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), fatigue (Brief Fatigue Inventory), and spirituality (FACT-Sp) were completed at baseline, the end of treatment, and 1 month later.

Results:

Relative to the control group, women in the TSM group performed better on the verbal memory test (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test trial 1) (p = 0.06) and the short-term memory and processing speed task (Digit Symbol) (p = 0.09) and reported improved cognitive function (p = 0.06), cognitive abilities (p = 0.08), mental health (p = 0.04), and spirituality (p = 0.05) at the end of treatment but not 1 month later.

Conclusions:

This randomized controlled trial revealed that TSM program appears to be a feasible and acceptable intervention and may be associated with short-term improvements in objective and subjective cognitive function as well as mental health and spirituality in breast cancer patients. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Article first published online: 9 MAY 2013 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23657969