Statement of Work (NIH CRISP abstract) The goal of this K99/R00 application is to understand how mindfulness training may impact biobehavioral factors implicated in increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). These factors include sleep (quality and quantity), psychological distress, and stress reactivity, including markers of inflammation. The candidate's training plan includes focused, mentored training in the areas of (a) sleep and its relation to CVD risk and pathophysiological mechanisms;(b) clinical trials methodology;and (c) structural linear modeling to guide translation of experimental data into novel interventions for CVD risk reduction. The K99 research project proposes to model individual differences in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) treatment outcomes, with a focus on examining intervention-related changes in mindfulness as a predictor of self-reported changes in cognitive and emotional functioning and sleep quality and duration. In addition, the K99 phase includes mentorship in statistical modeling of mechanisms linking psychological distress, sleep disturbance, inflammation and increased CVD risk. The R00 research project proposes a study of 50 men and women to test the hypothesis that MBSR-related increases in mindfulness predict improvements in sleep quality and quantity and decreases in physiological responses to an acute laboratory stressor, including inflammation. It is further hypothesized that improvements in sleep quality and quantity and attenuated stress physiology will be mediated, in part, by adaptive changes in cognitive and emotional processes, including less perseveration and increased emotion regulation. Finally, we hypothesize a bidirectional relationship between improved sleep and attenuated stress physiology following MBSR training. Modeling analyses will be translated into the development of an innovative brief intervention aimed at reducing biobehavioral risk for CVD by improving sleep quality, ameliorating psychological distress, and attenuating stress reactivity. This translational research program will extend existing knowledge by innovatively integrating work in psychology, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), sleep, psychophysiology, immunology and CVD. This award will establish the candidate's career in the study of mindfulness as a mechanism of mind-body health and CVD risk reduction. Relevance to Public Health: This project aims to reduce CVD risk by informing novel treatment approaches to poor sleep quality, emotional distress, and excessive stress reactivity, three factors associated with increased risk of CVD.

Public Health Relevance

This project aims to reduce CVD risk by informing novel treatment approaches to poor sleep quality, emotional distress, and excessive stress reactivity, three factors associated with increased risk of CVD.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Research Transition Award (R00)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1)
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Alekel, D Lee
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Medicine
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