Mindfulness-based interventions in epilepsy: a systematic review

Karen Wood, Maggie Lawrence, Bhautesh Jani, Robert Simpson, Stewart Mercer

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly used to help patients cope with physical and mental long-term conditions (LTCs). Epilepsy is associated with a range of mental and physical comorbidities that have a detrimental effect on quality of life (QOL), but it is not clear whether MBIs can help. We systematically reviewed the literature to determine the effectiveness of MBIs in people with epilepsy.

Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, CINAHL, Allied and Complimentary Medicine Database, and PsychInfo were searched in March 2016. These databases were searched using a combination of subject headings where available and keywords in the title and abstracts. We also searched the reference lists of related reviews. Study quality was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration risk of bias tool.

Three randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with a total of 231 participants were included. The interventions were tested in the USA (n¿=¿171) and China (Hong Kong) (n¿=¿60). Significant improvements were reported in depression symptoms, quality of life, anxiety, and depression knowledge and skills. Two of the included studies were assessed as being at unclear/high risk of bias - with randomisation and allocation procedures, as well as adverse events and reasons for drop-outs poorly reported. There was no reporting on intervention costs/benefits or how they affected health service utilisation.

This systematic review found limited evidence for the effectiveness of MBIs in epilepsy, however preliminary evidence suggests it may lead to some improvement in anxiety, depression and quality of life. Further trials with larger sample sizes, active control groups and longer follow-ups are needed before the evidence for MBIs in epilepsy can be conclusively determined.
Original languageEnglish
Article number52
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017


  • mindfulness-based stress reduction
  • stroke
  • systematic review
  • epilepsy
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression


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