Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing researchers and Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital are recruiting women veterans at risk for heart disease for a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) study. MBSR is a form of complementary medicine that combines yoga and meditation.
Women veterans between the ages of 18 and 70, who have at least two risk factors for heart disease, are eligible to enroll in the study. Risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, smoking and a family history of heart disease or stroke.
"Women veterans are a rapidly growing population with unique health needs," said Karen Saban, PhD, RN, APRN, CNRN, FAHA, associate professor, MNSON and health science researcher at the Hines VA. "Women who enroll in this study will help us study alternative methods to improve the health and quality of life of those who have served."
The eight-week study will determine the extent to which training in MBSR improves psychological well-being, decreases inflammation and reduces heart disease risk. Researchers also will evaluate protective measures and risk factors, such as prior life adversity, social support and health behaviors that may alter the positive effects of MBSR.
"This is the first study that will look at mindfulness-based stress-reduction techniques in women veterans at risk for heart disease," said Fran Weaver, PhD, director, Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Hines VA. "Given that heart disease is a major cause of death, this research also may have broader implications for the general population."