Mindfulness meditation training has been found to reduce stress in different patient populations. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles studied the effects of meditation on CD4+ T lymphocyte counts in stressed HIV-infected adults (Creswell et al., 2009). In the study, the patients had training in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) meditation program.
A total of 48 HIV-1 infected adults were involved in either the 8-week MBSR training or a 1-day stress reduction education seminar as the control (Creswell et al., 2009). The researchers observed that the participants in the 1-day control seminar had reductions in CD4+ T lymphocyte counts. In contrast, the counts among participants in the 8-week MBSR program were not changed. The study also found that treatment adherence to the meditation program was related to the effects on buffering CD4+ T lymphocyte declines.
These findings suggest that mindfulness meditation training may buffer CD4+ T lymphocyte reductions in HIV-infected adults (Creswell et al., 2009). Further studies would be necessary to find out the effects of such meditation training on other aspects of the immune function, and how long such effects may maintain.
Creswell, J. D., Myers, H. F., et al. (2009) Mindfulness meditation training effects on CD4+ T lymphocytes in HIV-1 infected adults: a small randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun 23, 184-188.