Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors.
J Psychopharmacol. 2017 Sep 1:269881117731279. Epub 2017 Sep 1. PMID: 29020861
Roland R Griffiths, Matthew W Johnson, William A Richards, Brian D Richards, Robert Jesse, Katherine A MacLean, Frederick S Barrett, Mary P Cosimano, Maggie A Klinedinst
Roland R Griffiths
Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences with participant-attributed increases in well-being. However, little research has examined enduring changes in traits. This study administered psilocybin to participants who undertook a program of meditation/spiritual practices. Healthy participants were randomized to three groups (25 each): (1) very low-dose (1 mg/70 kg on sessions 1 and 2) with moderate-level ("standard") support for spiritual-practice (LD-SS); (2) high-dose (20 and 30 mg/70 kg on sessions 1 and 2, respectively) with standard support (HD-SS); and (3) high-dose (20 and 30 mg/70kg on sessions 1 and 2, respectively) with high support for spiritual practice (HD-HS). Psilocybin was administered double-blind and instructions to participants/staff minimized expectancy confounds. Psilocybin was administered 1 and 2 months after spiritual-practice initiation. Outcomes at 6 months included rates of spiritual practice and persisting effects of psilocybin. Compared with low-dose, high-dose psilocybin produced greater acute and persisting effects. At 6 months, compared with LD-SS, both high-dose groups showed large significant positive changes on longitudinal measures of interpersonal closeness, gratitude, life meaning/purpose, forgiveness, death transcendence, daily spiritual experiences, religious faith and coping, and community observer ratings. Determinants of enduring effects were psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience and rates of meditation/spiritual practices. Psilocybin can occasion enduring trait-level increases in prosocial attitudes/behaviors and in healthy psychological functioning. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00802282.
Article Published Date : Aug 31, 2017
Psilocybin-induced spiritual experiences and insightfulness are associated with synchronization of neuronal oscillations.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Aug 1. Epub 2015 Aug 1. PMID: 26231498
Michael Kometer, Thomas Pokorny, Erich Seifritz, Franz X Volleinweider
RATIONALE: During the last years, considerable progress has been made toward understanding the neuronal basis of consciousness by using sophisticated behavioral tasks, brain-imaging techniques, and various psychoactive drugs. Nevertheless, the neuronal mechanisms underlying some of the most intriguing states of consciousness, including spiritual experiences, remain unknown.
OBJECTIVES: To elucidate state of consciousness-related neuronal mechanisms, human subjects were given psilocybin, a naturally occurring serotonergic agonist and hallucinogen that has been used for centuries to induce spiritual experiences in religious and medical rituals.
METHODS: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 50 healthy human volunteers received a moderate dose of psilocybin, while high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings were taken during eyes-open and eyes-closed resting states. The current source density and the lagged phase synchronization of neuronal oscillations across distributed brain regions were computed and correlated with psilocybin-induced altered states of consciousness.
RESULTS: Psilocybin decreased the current source density of neuronal oscillations at 1.5-20 Hz within a neural network comprising the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices and the parahippocampal regions. Most intriguingly, the intensity levels of psilocybin-induced spiritual experience and insightfulness correlated with the lagged phase synchronization of delta oscillations (1.5-4 Hz) between the retrosplenial cortex, the parahippocampus, and the lateral orbitofrontal area.
CONCLUSIONS: These results provide systematic evidence for the direct association of a specific spatiotemporal neuronal mechanism with spiritual experiences and enhanced insight into life and existence. The identified mechanism may constitute a pathway for modulating mental health, as spiritual experiences can promote sustained well-being and psychological resilience.
Article Published Date : Jul 31, 2015
Religious involvement is associated with greater purpose, optimism, generosity and gratitude in persons with major depression and chronic medical illness.
J Psychosom Res. 2014 Aug ;77(2):135-43. Epub 2014 May 15. PMID: 25077855
Harold G Koenig, Lee S Berk, Noha S Daher, Michelle J Pearce, Denise L Bellinger, Clive J Robins, Bruce Nelson, Sally F Shaw, Harvey Jay Cohen, Michael B King
Harold G Koenig
OBJECTIVE: Religious involvement may help individuals with chronic medical illness cope better with physical disability and other life changes. We examine the relationships between religiosity, depressive symptoms, and positive emotions in persons with major depression and chronic illness.
METHODS: 129 persons who were at least somewhat religious/spiritual were recruited into a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of religious vs. secular cognitive behavioral therapy. Reported here are the relationships at baseline between religious involvement and depressive symptoms, purpose in life, optimism, generosity, and gratefulness using standard measures.
RESULTS: Although religiosity was unrelated to depressive symptoms (F=0.96, p=0.43) and did not buffer the disability-depression relationship (B=-1.56, SE 2.90, p=0.59), strong relationships were found between religious indicators and greater purpose, optimism, generosity, and gratefulness (F=7.08, p<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Although unrelated to depressive symptoms in the setting of major depression and chronic medical illness, higher religious involvement is associated with positive emotions, a finding which may influence the course of depression over time.
Article Published Date : Jul 31, 2014
Child mental illness and the help-seeking process: a qualitative study among parents in a Ugandan community.
Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2019;13:3
Authors: Skylstad V, Akol A, Ndeezi G, Nalugya J, Moland KM, Tumwine JK, Engebretsen IMS
Background: Child mental illness contributes significantly to the burden of disease worldwide, and many are left untreated due to factors on both the provider and user side. Recognising this, the Ugandan Ministry of Health recently released the Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) Policy Guidelines. However, for implementation to be successful the suggested policy changes must resonate with the service users. To better understand the sociocultural factors influencing parental mental help-seeking, we sought insights from parents in the Mbale district of eastern Uganda.
Method: In this qualitative study, eight focus group discussions were conducted with mothers and fathers in urban and rural communities. Parents of children younger than 10 years were purposively selected to discuss a vignette story about a child with symptoms of depression or ADHD as well as general themes relating to child mental illness. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Results: Descriptions of severe symptoms and epileptic seizures were emphasised when recognising problem behaviour as mental illness, as opposed to mere 'stubbornness' or challenging behaviour. A mixture of supernatural, biomedical, and environmental understandings as underlying causes was reflected in the help-seeking process, and different treatment providers and relevant institutions, such as schools, were contacted simultaneously. A notion of weakened community social support structures hampered access to care.
Conclusion: Awareness of symptoms closer to normal behaviour must be increased in order to improve the recognition of common mental illnesses in children. Stakeholders should capitalise on the common recognition of the importance of the school when planning the upscaling of and improved access to services. Multifactorial beliefs within the spiritual and biomedical realms about the causes of mental illness lead to multisectoral help-seeking, albeit without collaboration between the various disciplines. The CAMH Policy Guidelines do not address traditional service providers or provide a strategy for better integration of services, which might mean continued fragmentation and ineffective service provision of child mental health care.
PMID: 30651751 [PubMed]
What do patients really want? An in-depth examination of patient experience in four Australian hospitals.
BMC Health Serv Res. 2019 Jan 15;19(1):38
Authors: Rapport F, Hibbert P, Baysari M, Long JC, Seah R, Zheng WY, Jones C, Preece K, Braithwaite J
BACKGROUND: Patient satisfaction is an important outcome measure guiding quality improvement in the healthcare setting while the patient-centred care movement places increasing importance on patient engagement in clinical decision-making. However, the concept of patient satisfaction is not clearly defined, and beliefs of patients are not always evident in health surveys. Researchers rarely follow up on surveys to explore patient views and what they mean in greater depth. This study set out to examine perceptions of hospital care, through in-depth, qualitative data capture and as a result, to gather rich, patient-driven information on user experience and satisfaction in the Australian healthcare setting; and identify influencing factors.
METHODS: Focus groups were undertaken in four St Vincent's Health Australia (SVHA) hospitals in 2017 where participants discussed responses to eight questions from the Press Ganey Patient Experience Survey. Thirty people who were inpatients at SVHA.
RESULTS: Good communication and high-quality information at arrival and discharge were found to be important to patients. Communication breakdown was also evident, further exacerbated by a range of environmental factors such as sharing a room with others. Overall, patients' felt that while their spiritual needs were well-supported by the hospital staff at all SVHA hospitals, it was the clinical teams prioritised their emotional needs. Good communication and environments can improve patient experience and follow-up at home is vital.
CONCLUSIONS: Patient-centred care needs careful planning with patients involved at entry and exit from hospital. Focused communication, environmental changes, attending to complaints, and clearer discharge strategies are recommended.
PMID: 30646962 [PubMed - in process]
Rapid behavioral assessment of barriers and opportunities to improve vaccination coverage among displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh, January 2018.
Vaccine. 2019 Jan 11;:
Authors: Jalloh MF, Bennett SD, Alam D, Kouta P, Lourenço D, Alamgir M, Feldstein LR, Ehlman DC, Abad N, Kapil N, Vandenent M, Conklin L, Wolff B
BACKGROUND: In November 2017, the World Health Organization received initial reports of suspected diphtheria cases in camps established for displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh. By January 11, 2018, over 4,000 suspected cases of diphtheria and 30 deaths were reported. The Bangladesh government and partners implemented a diphtheria vaccination campaign in December 2017. Outbreak response staff reported anecdotal evidence of vaccine hesitancy. Our assessment aimed to understand vaccination barriers and opportunities to enhance vaccine demand among displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
METHODS: In January 2018, we conducted a qualitative assessment consisting of nine focus group discussions and 15 key informant interviews with displaced Rohingyas in three camps. Participants included mothers and fathers with under five-year-old children, community volunteers, majhis (camp leaders), Islamic religious leaders, traditional and spiritual healers, and teachers. We recruited participants using purposive sampling, and analyzed the data thematically.
RESULTS: Across focus groups and in-depth interviews, trusted information sources cited by participants included religious leaders, elders, village doctors, pharmacists, majhis, and mothers trained by non-governmental organizations to educate caregivers. Treatment of diphtheria and measles was usually sought from multiple sources including traditional and spiritual healers, village doctors, pharmacies, and health clinics. Major barriers to vaccination included: various beliefs about vaccination causing people to become Christian; concerns about multiple vaccines being received on the same day; worries about vaccination side effects; and, lack of sensitivity to cultural gender norms at the vaccination sites.
CONCLUSION: Although vaccination was understood as an important intervention to prevent childhood diseases, participants reported numerous barriers to vaccination. Strengthening vaccine demand and acceptance among displaced Rohingyas can be enhanced by improving vaccination delivery practices and engaging trusted leaders to address religious and cultural barriers using community-based channels.
PMID: 30642728 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Perspectives and experiences of patients with type 2 diabetes observing the Ramadan fast.
Ethn Health. 2018 05;23(4):380-396
Authors: Almansour HA, Chaar B, Saini B
INTRODUCTION: Diabetes is a common chronic disease among Australians. Culturally and linguistically diverse groups are observed to have higher prevalence rates of diabetes. Continuing management needs adherence to medication and diet regimens. Religious practices such as fasting can affect diabetes management and medication use. Pharmacists as medication specialists have a significant role in helping people observing religious practices such as the Ramadan fast, which involves month-long absolute abstinence from food during daylight hours, to maintain good control over their condition.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the perspective of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who undertake the fast of Ramadan, to understand their experiences, health-related needs and service preferences regarding diabetes management.
METHODS: A qualitative, exploratory design was used in this study. Data collection comprised the conduct of semi-structured interviews with a purposive convenient sample of patients in areas of ethnic diversity in Sydney, using a standardised interview guide. Interview data were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.
RESULTS: Twenty-five semi-structured interviews (68% males) among a heterogeneous sample of fasting T2D patients were conducted. Themes emerging from analysis of transcripts included issues relating to sociocultural pressure for T2D patients to fast; lack of awareness about the role of pharmacists and, most importantly, the need to train pharmacists in cultural sensitivity and clinical implications thereof.
CONCLUSIONS: Community awareness about the role of the pharmacists in assisting medication use and adjustment during fasting periods should be enhanced. Furthermore, community pharmacists need to be trained about the unique religious and sociocultural issues of patients with diabetes opting to observe spiritual rituals such as the Ramadan fast. Clinical education in this area should up-skill pharmacists to inculcate self-management behaviours in fasting T2D patients.
PMID: 27998181 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]