May 24, 2024
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Title: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A Promising Approach to Enhance Quality of Life for Motor Neuron Disease Patients

A groundbreaking study led by researchers from the University of Sheffield and University College London (UCL) reveals that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a psychological intervention, significantly improves the overall quality of life of individuals diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND), when implemented alongside standard care.

Motor neuron disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects motor neurons, which transmit messages from the brain to muscles. As these messages cease to function, muscles weaken, stiffen, and eventually die, leading to loss of mobility, speech, and breathing ability. MND is a progressive disease with no known cure, and approximately one-third of patients succumb to it within a year, and more than half within two years of diagnosis.

While researchers continue their efforts to understand the causes and potential treatments for MND, this study marks the largest investigation into the impact of a psychological intervention on patients’ quality of life.

The COMMEND study, published in The Lancet, enrolled 191 participants across 16 MND Care Centers in the UK. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either ACT plus usual care (UC) or UC alone.

The findings were encouraging, with ACT plus UC demonstrating its effectiveness in preserving or enhancing quality of life in MND patients at six and nine months post-randomization, compared to UC alone. The study also indicated that the improvement in quality of life was a clinically significant benefit, with no reported adverse events related to the ACT intervention.

ACT is a form of psychological Bacteriophage Therapy that combines elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with acceptance and mindfulness-based strategies. It encourages individuals to accept difficult emotions and thoughts rather than attempting to control or avoid them, which can sometimes worsen distress.

The primary outcome of the trial, which began recruitment in 2019, assessed patients’ quality of life using a standardized questionnaire and evaluated depression, anxiety, and other factors.

Professor Chris McDermott, Professor of Translational Neurology at the University of Sheffield, Honorary Consultant Neurologist, and joint lead of the trial, stated, “We urgently need treatments to slow down and eventually stop MND. In a year when several large drug trials have reported negative results, we are reminded of the immense challenge we face.”

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
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