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Professor Gitte Moos Knudsen has received 2.6 million kr. from Nordea-fonden for a research project on the neurobiological basis for mindfulness and the potential effects of mindfulness meditation on health.


The project is carried out as a PhD-study for cand.psych Christian Gaden Jensen, supervised by professor Steen G. Hasselbalch and in collaboration with one of the leading research centres in this field, The Benson-Henry Institute of Mind-Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School, as well as the Center for Humanistic Health Research, Copenhagen University. Results are expected to be ready in February, 2014.


Nordea-fonden also supports:

•Lunch for children’s institutions, Bent E. Mikkelsen, Aalborg Universitet

•Health of children and adolescents, Bjørn Holstein, SDU

•Ph.d.-project on therapeutic gardens for women and children who are victims of violience, Ulrika Stigsdottir.

•Mental training for pregnant women, Anette Werner, Århus Universitetshospital

•OPUS centret – Children’s health and well-being, Arne Astrup, Københavns Universitet m.fl. 100 mio. kr. 2008-2013

•Center for Healthy Aging, Ulla Wewer, Københavns Universitet 150 mio. kr. 2008-2013


Facts on the research Project

The PhD-project is comprised of two main projects


Part 1 is a population survey with 700 participants recruited from a larger sample of 3000 invited participants. It investigates relationships between mindfulness, genetic vulnerability factors and the psychological profile for mental and physical health. The main hypothesis is, that mindfulness and other measures, which have also been related to healthy emotional coping, will be more important for people with a genetic vulnerability towards larger reactions on stressful stimuli and severe life events. Other factors, such as parental relationships during childhood as well as recent severe life events are also considered.


Part 2 examines whether three types of mindfulness-based interventions could be applied in the Danish health sector for people in distress, but do not qualify as regular patients. Through 25 general practitioners on Sealand 320 people presenting with sadness, stress or pain are recruited, none of which would be included in regular treatment (e.g. antidepressive or psychological treatment) under normal circumstances. Two meditation-based group courses as well as a bibliotherapeutic course consisting of a self-help book, an audio compact disc with guided practices, and one telephone interview with an authorized psychologist are used as interventions. An inactive control group is also included. As in Part 1, genetic and psychological factors are considered and changes in symptomatology, health, and also cortisol secretion, is measured immediately before and after the treatment, as well as 3-months later.