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A researcher from the canaries launches a program to “transform suffering into wisdom” by the means of cyberpsychology.

In order to combat stress, Mindfulness from “Challenge Mindfulnets”

bernardo sagastume @bersagastume  Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

 On 02/09/2012 at 15:50pm.  

A man from the canaries launches a program to “transform suffering into wisdom” by means of cyberpsychology.



Miguel Quintana, in front of the Google headquarters, where he presented his program. 

 Maybe it has something to do with advice from older generations: such as count to 10 before being angry or when faced with losing control. From Stockholm via telephone Miguel Quintana reflexes on this and with his program Mindfulnets proposes to improve people’s lives by the means of “mindfulness”.

From what he understands there is a strong tendency to integrate the latest technology with known techniques in order to achieve a healthy mind. The website offers a challenge: To transform suffering into wisdom and reduce stress by means of simple online exercises.

 “Welcome to the present”. Greet the visitor’s portal and then you will be invited to do an initial test and to register. Once registered you will be able to access regularly just like more than one thousand people have already done, with more than half a million of minutes of practice at the moment.

The idea of the click exercise is focused on breathing. Requiring the participant to be in a comfortable position and be as relaxed as possible. Along with releasing any tension and applying pressure to the mouse (or a finger if using a tablet or smartphone) each time they exhale. The results will determine the attention span and stress level of the individual. 

 “The techniques by mindfulness enable us to be present in the here and now, to observe with equanimity (evenness of mind) what occurs with a precautionary attitude for the psychoemotional wellbeing” explains Miguel Quintana, born in Las Palmas 1974, with a degree in physical education PhD in Psychology with “mindfulness for the psychological wellbeing” being the title of his thesis from the university of Computemse.

Quintana highlights the importance of breathing exercises as it is a way of being in contact with the body. “When we carry out breathing exercises, automatically any overwhelming thoughts disappear”, this is because “to be stressed depletes our capacity to respond”.

The results of the participants’ have been put forward in a conference on cyber-psychology and has even gone as far as google “which is financing projects that integrate meditation with the latest technology”. Remembering, also, that the Gates family support something similar, the development of the study of compassion from a scientific perspective.  


When facing possible critics, for example, those that say this is nothing more than pseudoscience, the response is that in the last 5 years “the importance of mindfulness has been proven” by neuroscience.” Studies have shown, for example, magnetic resonance demonstrates the benefits of higher concentration. At the same time higher concentration acts as a protection element, a way of combating stress”.  

Another criticism, is that its simple Buddhist techniques renamed. In which the response is that it contains traditions that are related with Buddhism because this discipline “is trans-confessional, it reunites certain elements that are in all religions”.

One of the most well-known beneficiaries of these techniques is Matthieu Ricard, the son of the philosopher Jean- François Revel, named the happiest man in the world from a study carried out by the university of Wisconsin-Madison about happiness, in which he appeared to have an enormous advantage over hundreds of volunteers that were part of the investigation. 

Miguel Quintana advises 10 minutes of daily meditation, throughout the course of less than six weeks, which will help “improve attention span and concentration”. From Sweden, where he found the necessary support for the program, he confides in “Crowdfunding”- small contributions from many people- in order to finance the growth of his site, in such a way to develop it, to create communities of users and achieve the largest number of people as possible.

Alzheimer's disease and non-pharmacological treatments: results of a longitudinal study in the area of cognition.

Communication presented at the 25th Congress of the Canarian Geriatrics and Gerontology Society, November 2012.

Domingo Jesús Quintana Hernández1,2,4, María Teresa Miró Barrachina2, Angelo Santana del Pino3, José Esteban Rojas Nieto4, Isabel Hernández Negrín4and Norka Aguilar Zerpa.

1 ICOT Healthcare Group. 2 University of La Laguna. 3 University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 4 Sense-tool & ““. 


The Canary longitudinal study on Alzheimer’s disease has tried to diagnose AD in its early stages, start up programs of traditional cognitive training and investigate a training based on mindfulness. 


To evaluate the effectiveness of therapy combined with donepezil and psychological treatment (cognitive stimulation, care plans based on mindfulness or Jacobson’s relaxation technique) in Alzheimer’s patients.


An initial evaluation was done with 495 people who wanted to participate in the study and those that fulfilled the NINDS– ADRDA criteria were selected. The patients were placed into experimental groups at random done as a single blind and the variables were measured biannually over two years. There were 161 elderly participants in the study, who were divided into three experimental groups and one control group. The tests applied in the area of cognition were MMSE, MEC, AMT and CANCOG.


We carried out Kruskal-Vallis non-parametric analyses (p<;0.05) for the 4 groups and Mann-Whitney tests with Bonferroni’s correction for peer groups (p<;0.008). Significant differences were found in all of the variables tested between 6 and 24 months. The differences have been significant in favor of the mindfulness and cognitive stimulation groups, where there were no significant differences between these groups. 


Non-pharmacological treatment based on mindfulness and the cognitive stimulation program have shown significant improvement in the control of cognitive deterioration than Jacobson’s progressive relaxation or the control group with standard treatment. It is necessary to continue this line of study to confirm these results.

Article in the open box: mindfulness in order to treat alzhemer?

Exercises on Attention to the present in the elderly home, El Pino, Gran Canaria. /
Mindfulness in order to treat Alzheimer?
A retired married couple generously started up in an elderly home in the Canary Islands a project on attention to the present.
By Open Box

THE OPEN BOX | The first time that Psychologist Domingo Quintana turned to a Buddhist meditation course recommended by a work colleague, in 2006, was not a very pleasant experience to begin with. During ten days, he got up at half past four in the morning to continue meditating until half past nine at night. He practically did nothing else.
Esteban Rojas`s experience was very different. At age 15, now is 63, he made his first solitary retreat in Mar de Ajó, a coastal city south of Buenos Aires. He remained somewhat thin due to the fasting, but that moment of inspiration had been with him throughout his life.
Fate decided that Domingo and Esteban met in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria after a year and a half. The first as a geriatric psychologist in El Pino, and the second as the son of an Alzheimer’s patient. Let’s say Maria to respect her privacy. When Domingo explained to Maria about a simple attention to the present or mindfulness exercise, Esteban discovered that was what he himself had been practising from the start, which could also serve his mother.
“It seemed a natural partnership. We started to meet each other every Saturday evening in a café, and the desire to form a project arose”, commentated Esteban, always with the support and work of his wife, Isabel Hernandez. Within a week they already had an outline of the plan with the exercises in PowerPoint. By the fourth week there was already a script prepared with more than 20 meetings. They started on 26th January 2012 and called it The great game of an attentive life.
Esteban put to use his personal experience as well as Domingo to a previous investigation with dementia patients, a study that just won first place in the 55th Congress of the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology.
Eight out of ten care workers participated voluntarily on the 11th floor of the resident’s home in El Pino, where the experiment was carried out. “We set the dates of meetings once a week for a year, with personal objectives. An initial evaluation was done to determine the level of stress of the care workers, diet, and if they slept well…The first couple of weeks they didn’t exceed more than 5 minutes of attention to the present per day. Progress was very slow and to them seemed difficult. By six months there were those doing one hour each day. Those that accomplished that level had overcome any sleeping problems, improved state of calmness and confessed in writing that it had changed their lives”, explained Esteban.
The disadvantage of the second part was that the patients, due to their illness, could not exercise any voluntary care. How was it done? “As they went walking from one room to another, the care worker reminded the patient: ‘Now feel the floor with the left foot’ and then ‘now with the right foot’. This way users were helped to keep aware that they were on the move” continues Esteban.
Domingo finds it interesting that his previous investigation did not produce any statistically significant involution. “All pharmacological treatments show improvements at six months. After, they begin losing progress. It has been achieved with a consistency of two years…. There is no other form of treatment that has managed this”, he commented. An experience that goes in the line of researches such as America Lucia Mcbee, a pioneer in the subject.
“It’s not an empirical contribution, but more observational. However, there is a clear indication, Domingo explains, on the 11th floor that there is harmony amongst patients. Conduct disorders are normal with dementia patients, which are also transmitted to workers. In the US, other studies show an improvement in behaviour and, instrumental abilities such as cleaning, cooking and handling money. There was not sufficient evidence of improved cognition and that’s what’s innovative.
What do the patients think? With logical limitations when communicating, they express a sense of wellbeing. In the therapy room Domingo and Eva Feblas, care worker, 36 years old, put classical music on the television, that also shows images of sunsets and sunrises. “look at the faces, to feel good helps a lot” commented Eva.
“One returns to their house at night feeling more optimistic” says Jovita, at the age of 88, after listening to the music for a while. Silvia, 86 years old, thinks the same “it helps me, because one is losing memory”. Sixto, 76 years of age, agrees with the fore mentioned. Sebastiana responds to the voice-over that comes from the television: “I am also happy to be here with you. I also attend and feel happy with life” she says in a friendly tone.

While the complete attention exercises are already integrated in this day centre as part of the daily routine. Isabel and Esteban continue spreading the great game…At the moment they find themselves working with educators from various schools and have created the Association for the Development of Health through Attention. However, Esteban makes it clear that “our motivation is the contribution and no other factor. All our productions are subject to Creative Commons. The manual is available on the web, in books and videos…. I never did business with anything related to Attention to the Present. I will always consider it something personal or in solidarity”, he explains.

Article the voice of teneriffe: a thesis of ull deomonstrates improvements in alzheimer patients when practising psychotherapy based on ‘mindfulness’

Journal/The voice of Tenerife

The faculty of psychology of the University of La Laguna hosted last Thursday 19th September the reading of a doctoral thesis that has obtained very important results about the psychological intervention in Alzheimer`s disease.  

The main findings show that it is possible to modify the course of this disease when the patient and their main care worker practice psychotherapy based on ‘mindfulness’ in the tasks of every day life.

 “This is an original and extraordinary result, not only on a national scope, but also internationally. Very few studies exist in specialised literature where correctly evaluated patients have been studied for two years and where the efficiency of innovative intervention has been compared with other interventions”. Assured Teresa Miró, professor at ULL and director of the thesis, written by authors Domingo J. Quintana Hernandez, who works for a day care centre for the elderly “El Pino” in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.   

 “The study has been carried out with the strictest scientific methodology” Miró continues. “And therefore, despite the results obtained, we dare to affirm that it is possible to reduce considerably what is technically known as ‘the overall rate of decline’ in cognitive functions that occurs with Alzheimer disease. Also, reducing the psychopathology (anxiety, depression, delirium, etc.) which is a relevant aspect of this disease. These results have many theoretical and practical implications” adds Miró. 


The original psychotherapy program based on ‘mindfulness’ has been carried out over two years, in sessions that lasted one hour and a half, in which the patient came together with the main care worker three times a week. All patients had been diagnosed with the type of dementia Alzheimer. In fact, of the 503 evaluated patients, only 168 met the criteria in order to be included in the study.

These subjects were assigned randomly to one of the four possible conditions (cognitive stimulation, relaxation, ‘mindfulness’ and control). Except in the control condition, in which there was no interventions. In the others, the structure of the interventions was always the same: three times a week, one and a half hours, patient and care worker.

All patients received the same medication and were all evaluated with the same tests in order to measure functionality (degree of autonomy), psychopathology (anxiety, depression, delirium, etc.) and cognitive functions. The evaluation was repeated every six months, so that it was possible to see the evolutions of the patients over two years. In every measure, the results speak in favour of the psychotherapy based on ‘mindfulness’ in everyday life activities.

The court that judged the doctoral thesis, which obtained outstanding Cum Laude, was presided by Manual de Vega, professor of cognitive psychology internationally recognized and director of the investigation Neurocog. Also, forming part of the court was Jose Luis Hernandez Fleta, director of the Mental Health area of the Canary Health Service and Domingo de Guzman Perez Hernandez, President of the Canarian Society of Gerontology.

What is ‘mindfulness’?

Learning to practise ‘mindfulness’ and using this technique to stimulate the Alzheimer`s patient is very different to habitual cognitive stimulation, explains the investigator from ULL. “This practice requires attention to the present and openness to the immediate experience, just as it is happening at the moment”.

It’s simple, but not easy and requires training, advices Miró “In the same sense that touching the keys of a Piano is simple and anyone can do it, but it requires practice to play the piano”. Today we know that the brain responds when it is correctly trained, including when there is a serious deterioration, as is the case in Alzheimer.

In concrete, she explains that the application of the methods from actual neuroscience to the practice of mindfulness enables understanding into why this practice, that consists in directing the attention to the present with curiosity and kindness has been chosen for the cultural evolution. The practise of mindfulness stimulates the neural centres which control the regulation of attention, the perception of the body itself and emotional modulation.

 “In summary”, explains Miró, “practicing mindfulness is practicing consciousness of being. It is something simple, although not easy because in the present world one does not tend to act from the conscience but more from false personality which consists of the characters from films that each has constructed with unexamined conditionings and dreams, that have not been experienced.

Early publications

A small part of the investigation was presented in the 55th congress of the Congress of the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology, last June in Valencia and received an award for best communication.

Also, an article has been sent to the Spanish Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology, which is currently in the press. In November, some partial data of this doctoral thesis in the Symposium Mind and Life will also be presented in November, which will take place in Berlin.

Beltrán báguena award for the best published work (mindfulness with older people with cognitive impairment) in the spanish journal of geriatrics and gerontology

The Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (SEGG) informed our research and broadcasting colleague at La Atención al Presente, Domingo Quintana Hernández, PhD, that he and his team (which includes our co-workers Javier Rodríguez García, MD, and Jaime Rojas Hernández, PhD) have won the BELTRÁN BÁGUENA AWARD for the Best Published Work (Mindfulness with older people with cognitive impairment) in the Spanish Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology in the year 2015, in the clinical field, biological sciences and social and behavioural sciences.

Medline first article

This is our first published work and is stored in Medline. The key is practice, as we have demonstrated in our investigation. Thank you to all those that have supported me during this laborious journey, that started recently. I hope that many practice attention to the present. As it is the path that leads us to “ourselves”.

Domingo Quintana

Presentation at the Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm.

Our humble Association has had the motivating opportunity to sponsor the software developed and executed by our colleague and friend Miguel Quintana, PhD, which we will be offering from the end of November in our virtual campus (

This program will allow us to offer, as a voluntary and free service, to all the participants of our campus, the opportunity to train their intentional attention and to ascertain how well we have done in each session, as well as their progress in the time…also, there is one more surprise in reserve for later.

Enclosed herewith is the presentation of Miguel Quintana, PhD delivered on October 12 last year on Mindfulnets and the Online Open Science in Mindfulness project at the Center for Social Sustainability: of the prestigious Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm.

Thank you, Miguel for your contribution as a volunteer.

Download Presentation ppt

The efficacy of mindfulness-based stimulation for alzheimer’s (mbsa) in the progression of cognitive deterioration: a double blind randomised clinical trial

Domingo Jesús Quintana Hernández, María del Pino Quintana Montesdeoca




We have carried out a controlled, randomised clinical trial, with a view to investigating the viability, security and effects of the practice of mindfulness in the cognitive evolution of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The efficacy of MBSA with Alzheimer’s patients was tested with a repeated measures design with the cognitive scales of CAMDEX-R (CAMCOG and MMSE) every six months for two years. The study involved 168 patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease, assessed according to NINCDS-ADRDA criteria, who were treated with donepezil. The subjects were randomly placed in 3 experimental groups (cognitive stimulation, muscular relaxation and MBSA) and 1 control group. Each experimental group worked in 90 minute sessions,3 times a week for 2 years (96 weeks). The results indicated that MBSA maintained stable cognitive function over two years. However, the other groups demonstrated a significant deterioration in cognitive capacity. Therefore, it seems that the practice of mindfulness, as it was applied in this programme, could play a role in the prevention of cognitive deterioration in AD. These results support the use of mindfulness as a non-pharmaceutical treatment. 

Key words:

Alzheimer’s disease; ageing; mindfulness; cognition; relaxation; cognitive stimulation CS; progressive muscular relaxation PMR. 

Full text:

Domingo Jesús Quintana Hernández, María del Pi no Quintana Montesdeoca

Training in Daily Life Skills based on Mindfulness in Alzheimer’s disease: Longitudinal Study in the Canaries

Communication presented in the 25th Congress of La Sociedad Canaria de Geriatría y Gerontología [The Canarian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology], November 2012

Domingo Jesús Quintana Hernández1,2,4, María Teresa Miró Barrachina2, Angelo Santana del Pino3, José Esteban Rojas Nieto4, Isabel Hernández Negrín4 y Catalina Osorio Orozco.

1 Healthcare group ICOT [Instituto Canario de Ortopedia y Traumatología – Canary Islands Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology] 2 The University of La Laguna 3 The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 4 Sense-tool & “”


The loss of functionality is the main criterion in diagnosing dementia. In this study an informal training programme based on mindfulness has been validated, for primary caregivers and patients of Alzheimer’s.


To evaluate the efficacy of combined therapy between donepezil and psychological treatments (cognitive stimulation, programme of care based on mindfulness or Jacobson relaxation) in maintaining functionality in Alzheimer’s disease.


An initial evaluation of 495 people who wanted to participate in the study was carried out, and those who fulfilled the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria (McKhan et al. 1984) were selected. The patients were randomly split into two single blind experimental groups and the variables were measured every six months for two years. The study population was formed of 161 elderly people, split into three experimental groups and one control group. The test used to measure the functionality was the Rapid Disability Rating Scale (RDRS-2).


We carried out nonparametric analyses (p<0.05): a Kruskal-Wallis analysis for the four groups and the Mann-Whitney test with the Bonferroni correction for peer groups (p<0.008). Significant differences in the functional capacity were found for the duration of the study, in favour of the treatment group based on mindfulness.


The treatment based on mindfulness has shown to be significantly better than the others for the duration of the study. It is necessary to continue research in this field to confirm these results.