This is a special Grand Rounds that consists of 3 15-minute mini lectures from the Osher Research Fellows about their current projects.
EunMee (Amy) Yang, PhD: Research postdoctoral fellow, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Presentation Title: What is the Point? – Exploring the Physiological Basis of Acupuncture Points
Presentation Description: The field of acupuncture research has grown and progressed significantly over the past few decades. However, fundamental gaps in knowledge and methodological issues substantially hinder further progress. One major barrier to progress is a lack of clarity on the scientific basis of acupuncture points or acupoints. Although the concept of acupoints is central to the theory and practice of acupuncture, it is largely unclear whether acupoints “exist” and what physiological effects are induced locally at the site of needling. In this presentation, Dr. Yang will share an overview of prior literature, recent developments from animal research, and her own clinical and translational research work focused on the physiological basis of acupoints.
Michael Datko, PhD: T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance
Presentation Title: Changes in Interoception and Emotion Regulation Drive Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Patients with Anxiety and Depression
Presentation Description: Mindfulness Training for Primary Care (MTPC) is an 8-week, trauma-informed, mindfulness-based program designed for primary care patients to enhance chronic illness self-management, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while motivating health behavior change. We hypothesized that MTPC would lead to increased brain response in brain areas that process interoception and emotion regulation in patients with anxiety and depression. We used two functional MRI tasks before and after the MTPC intervention to study neural mechanisms of mindfulness-induced behavior change. In one task, participants were asked to focus on an interoceptive sensation (i.e. their heartbeat) or an exteroceptive stimulus. In another task, we measured the brain response to the anticipation of an incoming evoked cuff pressure pain stimulus. We found that changes in brain response to these tasks were linked with clinically relevant behavioral changes. We also found that mindfulness affected these brain mechanisms differently in patients with moderate to severe depression compared to those with primarily anxiety symptoms. This finding that mindfulness works through different mechanisms depending on the symptom profiles of each patient has implications for the design of future mindfulness-based interventions.
Jacklyn D. Foley, PhD: Research Fellow in Integrative Medicine (T32), Clinical Fellow in Psychology, Behavioral Medicine Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Presentation Title: Developing Integrative Behavioral Interventions to Promote the Health of Older People with HIV
Presentation Description: This presentation will highlight research in progress and in development aimed at developing integrative behavioral interventions to promote the health of older people with HIV. This includes a pilot trial of a third-wave cognitive behavioral therapy group intervention to reduce inflammation among older people with HIV; and a multi-stage (mixed-methods data collection, open pilot, and pilot randomized controlled trial) of an integrative behavioral intervention to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among older people with HIV.