Mindfulness Application May Help Improve Asthma Symptoms and Quality of Life


September 30, 2021

2 minutes to read

Source / Disclosures

Disclosures: Ainsworth reports receiving speaker fees from AstraZeneca, serving on an advisory board for Roche and serving as a member of the Lung Health Working Group. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.

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A digital mindfulness intervention was feasible and associated with quality of life benefits in adults with asthma, according to data published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

“This is one of the first studies to determine whether digital mindfulness interventions, such as ‘Headspace’, can hold promise for the 12% of the UK population with asthma. ” Ben Ainsworth, Doctorate, associate professor of health psychology at the University of Bath, UK, said in an academic press release.

Data were derived from Ainsworth B, et al. J Med behavior. 2021; doi: 10.1007 / s10865-021-00249-3.

Ainsworth and colleagues conducted a prospective, randomized controlled feasibility trial that included 116 adults with asthma from 16 primary care practices in the UK (mean age, around 50). Participants were randomly assigned to a digital mindfulness intervention involving use of the Headspace app on their smartphone (n = 73) or to a control group who had access to the app after the end of the period study (n = 43). Participants were asked to complete questionnaires on asthma symptom control, asthma-related quality of life, anxiety and depression at baseline, 6 weeks and 3 months.

A total of 2,277 recorded individual sessions using the mindfulness intervention were recorded. The researchers observed variations in the use of the application; 26 participants never used the app, 26 used it one to nine times, 23 used it 10 to 49 times, and 18 used it 50 or more times. The average duration of the sessions was 7.2 minutes.

At 3 months, participants in the intervention group reported a significant improvement in asthma-related quality of life from baseline (mean difference = 0.15; 95% CI, -0.13 at 0.42).

There was no significant improvement in the asthma symptom and asthma control subdomain scores at 6 weeks and 3 months between groups. Additionally, there were no significant differences in scores for anxiety, conscious awareness, conscious acceptance, or medication adherence between groups. However, compared to the control group, participants in the intervention group reported significantly lower depression scores at 6 weeks (median = 1.34; 95% CI, -2.29 to -0.39) and at 3 months (median = 1.63; 95% CI, -2.48 to –0.77).

The researchers noted several limitations of the study, including its lack of exploration for long-term evidence of benefits; participants were not blinded by their group assignment and the remote nature of the study.

Moreover, according to the researchers, further research in this area should adapt generic mindfulness-based stress reduction to maximize its effectiveness and validate these results.

“Although these results need to be confirmed by a large-scale randomized controlled trial, our study suggests that some people may find it really helpful (while others may not),” Ainsworth said in the release. “It is important to recognize that mindfulness is not something to be used in place of medication; rather, it could be an effective adjunct therapy for people who are looking for something more to help.



About Shirley A. Tamayo

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