Mindfulness Intervention Decreases Frequency and Severity of Flares in Inactive Ulcerative Colitis Patients: Results of a Phase II, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2022 Dec 1;28(12):1872-1892. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izac036.


Sharon Jedel 1Todd Beck 2Garth Swanson 2Megan M Hood 3Robin M Voigt 1Annika Gorenz 4Shriram Jakate 1Shohreh Raeisi 1Stevan Hobfoll 3Ali Keshavarzian 1


Author information

1Division of Digestive Diseases, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.

2Bioinformatics and Biostatics Core, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.

3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.

4Rush University Medical Center, College of Nursing, Chicago, IL, USA.


Background: Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a chronic, inflammatory disease, characterized by symptomatic periods (flare) interspersed with asymptomatic periods (remission). Evidence suggests that psychological stress can trigger flare. Studies have shown that mindfulness interventions (MI) reduce stress, foster more adaptive coping, and improve quality of life, but have been minimally used for UC patients. The objective of this study was to determine whether participation in an MI results in improvements in UC disease course and inflammatory cascades, mindfulness, perceived stress, and other psychological outcomes in inactive UC patients with limited or no exposure to past MI.

Methods: Participants were randomized to an 8-week MI or control group. Biological and psychological assessments were performed at baseline, post 8-week course, and at 6- and 12-months.

Results: Forty-three participants enrolled. The MI increased the state of mindfulness and mindfulness skills, decreased perceived stress and stress response in patients with inactive UC. The MI intervention significantly decreased the incidence of flare over 12 months (P < .05). None of the UC patients in the MI flared during 12 months, while 5 of 23 (22%) control group participants flared during the same period.

Conclusions: MIs could be considered as adjuvant treatment for a subset of UC patients with high perceived stress and low state of mindfulness.The trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01491997.


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