Research Results

Research Results


Attention to the Present

After 6 years of research on the causes of human suffering and the benefits of the practice of attention to the present, we have compiled much information which we make available to you on this page. We also offer you research results related to the work of intentional care presented worldwide by contributing friends of the association.

We expose the results of the practice of the attention to the present, presented by members of the association, in diverse national and international events,  to know more

Result of research presented by collaborators of the association, in different parts of the world, with international recognition to the work carried out, among others to know more

Our Research
Episode 1 - Attention, Music and Education: Conversation with Jaime Rojas

Conversation held in the Jardín Viera Y Clavijo/Jardín Canario (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) between Lucas F. Borkel and the researcher of the Asociación Canaria para el Desarrollo de la Salud a través de la Atención, Jaime Rojas on the role of attention and epistemic virtues in education and personal development.

Lucas F. Borkel: Graduated in Philosophy with a Master in Neuropsychology. He is an educator, lecturer, musician and scriptwriter. Founder of PÓRTICO.


Interview: How to reduce the causes of human suffering? With: Ph.D Jaime Rojas Hernández and Isabel Hernández Negrín

Presentation at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm

Our humble Association has had the motivating opportunity to sponsor the software created and carried out by our colleague and friend Miguel Quintana PhD and that we will offer from the end of November in our virtual campus solidarity and free of charge, to all the participants of our campus the opportunity to train their intentional attention and to verify that we have done so in each session as well as their progress in time…plus some more surprises that we reserve for ourselves for later. Please find attached Miguel Quintana PhD’s presentation on mindfulnets and the Online Open Science in Mindfulness project at the Center for Social Sustainability: of the prestigious Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Thank you Miguel for your solidary contribution. Download PPT

Beltrán Báguena Award

The Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (SEGG) communicated to our research and outreach partner, Domingo Quintana Hernandez, PhD, that he and his team (including our partners Javier Rodriguez Garcia, MD, and Jaime Rojas Hernandez, PhD) have won the BELTRÁN BÁGUENA AWARD to the best work published (Mindfulness with elderly with cognitive impairment) in the Spanish Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology in 2015, in the clinical areas, biological sciences and social and behavioural sciences.


The efficacy of Mindfulness Based Alzheimer's Stimulation (MBAS)


We have conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial to investigate the feasibility, safety, and effects of the practice of mindfulness on the cognitive progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The efficacy of MBAS with Alzheimer’s patients was tested with a design of repeated measurements with CAMDEX-R cognitive scales (CAMCOG and MMSE) every six months for two years. The study included 168 patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease according to the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria treated with donepecies. Subjects were randomized into three experimental groups (cognitive stimulation, progressive muscle relaxation and MBAS) and a control group.

Each experimental group worked in 90-minute sessions, three times a week for two years (96 weeks). The results indicated that MBAS maintained stable cognitive function over two years. However, the rest of the groups showed a significant deterioration in cognitive capacity. Therefore, it appears that the practice of mindfulness, as applied in this program, may have a preventive role in the progression of cognitive impairment in AD. These results support the use of mindfulness as a non-pharmacological treatment.


Alzheimer’s disease;aging;mindfulness;cognition;relaxation;ECA;Alzheimer Disease;Ageing;Mindfulness;Cognitive Stimulation;Progressive Muscular Relaxation;RCT
Medline first article

This is our first work published and archived on medline. The key is practice, as we have demonstrated in our research. Thank you to all who have supported me on this laborious path, which is just beginning. I hope that many will practice attention to the present. It is the path that only leads us to: “ourselves”. Sunday Quintana Download 

Neuropsychological intervention program based on mindfulness on Alzheimer's disease

Double-blind randomized clinical trial.

Our first scientific contribution to the field of mental health with attention to the present is already available online in the Spanish Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology Domingo Jesús Quintana Hernández, María Teresa Miró Barrachina, Ignacio Ibáñez Fernández, Angelo Santana del Pino, Javie r García Rodríguez, Jaime Rojas Hernández.Read more  

Video for caregivers and patients with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease (GDS 3 and 4)
Program to "transform suffering into wisdom" through cyberpsychology


To combat stress, the mindfulness of the “Mindfulnets Challenge”

bernardo sagastume@bersagastume / las palmas de gran canaria
Día 02/09/2013 – 03.50h
A Canarian promotes a program to “transform suffering into wisdom” through cyberpsychology.
Para combatir el estrés, la atención plena del «Desafío Mindfulnets»

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

Maybe it has something to do with that old advice, which our grandmothers sometimes gave: count up to ten before when you are angry or lose control”, reflects from Stockholm via telephone Miguel Quintana canary, who with his project Mindfulnets aims to improve people’s lives through “full attention”.

As part of what he understands is a strong tendency to integrate new technologies with techniques to achieve a healthy mind, the website offers a “challenge”: transform suffering into wisdom and combat stress through simple online exercises.

“Welcome to the present”, greets the portal to the visitor and invites him to perform a test exercise or to register, so as to be able to submit to it regularly, as they have done through more than a thousand people, in the more than half a million minutes of practice they have so far.
The “click exercise” procedure focuses on breathing and asks the visitor, in a comfortable position and as relaxed as possible, to release tension and squeeze with the mouse (or with his finger if he does it through a tablet or smartphone) every time he exhales. The result will determine the degree of attention and stress of each person.

Read more
Alzheimer's, mindfulness-based life skills training

La enfermedad de Alzheimer, tratamientos no farmacológicos, estudio longitudinal Canarias.Comunicación presentada en el XXV Congreso de la Sociedad Canaria de Geriatría y Gerontología, November 2012.

Hernández1,2,4, María Teresa Miró Barrachina2, Angelo Santana del Pino3, José Esteban Rojas Nieto4, Isabel Hernández Negrín4 and Catalina Osorio Orozco. 1 ICOT Healthcare Group. 2 University of La Laguna. 3 University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 4 Sense-tool & ““.

INTRODUCTION Loss of function is the primary criterion in the diagnosis of dementia. An informal minfulness-based training program for primary caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients has been validated in this study. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the efficacy of the combined therapy between donepezil and psychological treatments (cognitive stimulation, mindfulness based care program or Jacobson type relaxation) in the maintenance of functionality in Alzheimer’s disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS An initial evaluation was performed on 495 people who wanted to participate in the study and those who met the NINCDS-ADRA criteria were selected (McKhan et al. 1984). Patients were randomized in the single-blind experimental groups and variables were measured semi-annually for two years. The study population consisted of 161 elderly people, distributed in three experimental groups and one control group. The test applied to measure functionality was the Rapid Disability Assessment Scale-2 (RDRS-2). RESULTS We performed non-parametric analysis (p<0.05) of Kruskal-Vallis for the 4 groups and Mann-Whitney with Bonferroni correction for group pairs (p<0.008). Significant differences in functional ability were found throughout the study in favour of the mindfulness-based treatment group. CONCLUSIONS Mindfulness-based treatment has been shown to be significantly better than the rest throughout the study. Further study in this line is needed to confirm these results.

Other Investigations
People who do meditation have more gray matter in the brain.

A research article on Meditation and Neuroscience that has been published this month in the scientific journal ‘Plos One’ endorses the benefits of the exercise of meditation. The study is carried out by researchers from the University of La Laguna (ULL) Sergio Elías Hernández Alonso – as principal author – and José Luis González-Mora, although experts from other centres collaborate on it. Plos One’ covers all the disciplines of science and is also the magazine with the largest volume of scientific publications in the world, reports the ULL in a note. Read more

Create maps to decipher how emotions manifest in the body

We can all imagine that emotional changes alter functions or sensations in our body, but it has been Finnish researchers who have decided to study it more systematically and find the changes that represent each emotion and the body area in which they are represented. The study of which we will speak today was published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences” and concluded that emotions do seem to have a similar pattern of response (perceived) that is repeated in different people. The experiment consisted in the subjects indicating on leaves with body silhouettes the areas in which they detected an increase or decrease in activity before the different stimuli (words, stories, facial expressions or videos). It is clear that we are referring to the sensations at the moment. They had to colour the areas where sensations became stronger with red and yellow and the areas where sensations weakened with blue and black. What was measured does NOT represent the heart rate, blood flow, temperature or anything similar, but represented the subjective sensation of each subject to the areas more or less activated as a result of the emotion. In fact when we measure the variables in an objective way taking into account psychophysiological aspects the correlations between subjects are very low finding few stable inter-subject patterns. In this experiment the correlation between the body maps of the different subjects was high (0.71) for each different stimulus. After evaluating the results of the 701 subjects included in the study, it was found that it was possible to delimit a specific pattern more or less similar for all subjects who drew the sensations associated with a given emotion. Happiness was represented with a totally red or yellow body from head to toe, depression with a blue and black body. Almost all sensations involved activation of the head, while joy and anger manifested activation in the extremities (probably because they are associated with the performance of actions). Activation of sensations in the stomach and chest area were mostly found in feelings related to disgust or displeasure. Read more

Stress Reduction based on Mindfulness
Scientific Research and Results. Since its inception in 1979, thousands of people have completed the MBSR Program, developed at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, USA, created by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. The Stress Reduction program has become the most prominent intervention model studied in Mind-Body Medicine for 22 years and best represents Integrative or Participatory Medicine.
Scientific publications of medical effects on people who participated in MBSR programs have shown a 35% reduction in medical symptoms and a 40% reduction in psychological symptoms (stable over four years) (Kabat-Zinn, 1982, 1986, 1992, 1998, Millar et al 1995, etc.). The results found in different diagnoses are presented here. Read more  
ULL Thesis Demonstrates Alzheimer's Improvement by Practicing Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy
Newsroom/Voice of Tenerife. Digital Newspaper

The Faculty of Psychology of the University of La Laguna hosted last Thursday 19 September the reading of a doctoral thesis that has obtained some very important results on the psychological intervention in Alzheimer’s disease. The main finding shows that it is possible to modify the course of this pathology when the patient and his main caregiver practice a psychotherapy based on ‘mindfulness’ in the tasks of daily life. “This is an original and extraordinary result, not only nationally but also internationally; there are very few studies in the specialist literature in which patients correctly evaluated have been studied for two years and the effectiveness of the innovative intervention has been compared with other interventions”, assures ULL professor Mª Teresa Miró, director of the thesis, whose author is Domingo Jesús Quintana Hernández, who runs a day care centre for the elderly, “El Pino”, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. “The study has been carried out using the strictest scientific methodology”, continues Miró. “For this reason, on the basis of the results obtained, we dare to state that it is possible to considerably reduce what is technically known as the ‘global rate of decline’ in cognitive functions produced in Alzheimer’s disease. It also reduces psychopathology (anxiety, depression, delirium, etc.) which is a very relevant aspect of this disease. These results have many theoretical as well as practical implications”, continues Miró. Methodology The innovative psychotherapy programme based on ‘mindfulness’ has been carried out over a period of two years, in hour and a half long sessions attended by the patient together with the main carer, three times a week. All the patients had been well diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type dementia. In fact, out of 502 patients evaluated, only 168 patients met the criteria to be included in the study. These subjects were randomly assigned to one of four possible conditions (cognitive stimulation, relaxation, mindfulness and control). Except in the control condition, for which there was no intervention, in the others the structure of the intervention was always the same: three times a week, one and a half hours, patient and caregiver. All received the same medication and all were evaluated with the same tests 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 evolution of the patients over two years. In all measures, the results speak in favour of psychotherapy based on ‘mindfulness’ in the activities of daily living. The tribunal that judged the doctoral thesis, which was awarded Sobresaliente Cum Laude, was presided over by Manuel de Vega, internationally known professor of Cognitive Psychology and director of the Neurocog research project. José Luis Hernández Fleta, director of the Mental Health area of the Canary Islands Health Service, and Domingo de Guzmán Pérez Hernández, president of the Canary Islands Society of Gerontology, also formed part of the tribunal. What is ‘mindfulness’ Learning to practice ‘mindfulness’ and using this learning to stimulate the Alzheimer’s patient is something very different from usual cognitive stimulation, explains the ULL researcher. “This practice requires attention to the present and openness to immediate experience, as is happening at the moment. It’s simple, but it’s not easy and requires training, warns Miró, “in the same sense that playing the piano keys is simple and anyone can do it, but playing music on the piano requires training. We know today that the brain responds when it is properly trained, even when there is a deterioration as severe as in Alzheimer’s disease,” he says. Specifically, the expert explains that the application of current neuroscience methods to the practice of mindfulness allows us to understand why this millenary practice, which consists of directing attention to the present with curiosity and kindness, has been selected by cultural evolution. The practice of mindfulness stimulates the neural centers that control the regulation of attention, the perception of one’s own body and emotional modulation. “In synthesis”, explains Miró, “to practice mindfulness is to practice the consciousness of being. It is something simple, although it is not easy because in today’s world we do not tend to act from the consciousness that we are, but from the false personality, which consists of the character that only exists in the mental film that each one constructs with unexamined conditioning and unlived dreams”. First publications  A small part of the research was presented at the 55th Congress of the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology, which took place last June in Valencia and received an award for best communication. An article has also been sent to the Revista Española de Geriatría y Gerontología, which is currently in press. In November, some partial data from this doctoral thesis will also be presented at the Symposium Mind and Life, which will take place in Berlin.

The Open Box Mindfulness to Treat Alzheimer's?

Mindfulness to treat Alzheimer’s?

A retired couple set up an altruistic present care project in a geriatric hospital in the Canary Islands By La Caja Abierta 17/06/2013 Social Innovation, Reports LA CAJA ABIERTA | The first time that psychologist Domingo Quintana attended a Buddhist meditation course on the recommendation of a colleague at work, in 2006, it was not very pleasant at first. For ten days he woke up at four thirty in the morning to stay meditating until nine thirty at night. He did practically nothing else. Esteban Rojas’ experience was very different. At the age of 15 – now 63 – he made his first solitary retreat in Mar de Ajó, a coastal area south of Buenos Aires. He was a bit thin due to fasting, but that moment of inspiration has accompanied him all his life. Destiny wanted Domingo and Esteban to meet in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria a year and a half ago. The first as a psychologist of the geriatric hospital El Pino, and the second as the son of an Alzheimer’s patient, let’s say Maria to respect their privacy. When Domingo explained a simple mindfulness exercise to Maria, Esteban discovered that what he himself had always been practicing could also serve his mother. “It seemed like a natural conjunction. We started meeting on Saturday afternoons in a cafeteria, and the will arose to give shape to a project,” says Esteban, always with the support and work of his wife, Isabel Hernandez. After a week, they already had a draft of the plan. On the other hand, the powerpoint exercises. By the fourth week there was a script prepared with more than 20 meetings. They started on January 26, 2012 and called it The Great Game of Attentive Life. Esteban put his personal experience, and Sunday a previous research with dementia patients, a study that just won first prize at the 55th Congress of the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology. Eight of the ten gerocultoras of the 11th floor of the El Pino geriatric hospital, where the experiment was carried out, participated voluntarily. “We set a calendar of meetings once a week for a year, with personal work objectives. An initial evaluation was made to determine the stress level of the gerocultores, food, if they slept well … The first weeks were not exceeded the five minutes of attention to the present per day. The progress was very slow, and to them it appeared as difficult. At six months there were those who did an hour a day. Those who reached those heights had overcome their sleep problems, improved their level of calm and confessed in writing that it had really changed their lives,” explains Esteban. The disadvantage of the second part was that the patients, due to their illness, could not exercise voluntary care. How was it done? “When they were walking from one room to another, the gerocultor reminded the patient: ‘Now I feel like I’m walking on my left foot. And then, ‘Now I feel like I’m on my right foot. This helped users stay aware that they were stepping,” continues Esteban. For Domingo it is interesting that in his previous study there was no statistically significant involution. “All the pharmacological treatments show an improvement at six months, and then the score is lost. That it has been achieved with a consistency of two years… There is no other treatment that proves that,” he says. An experience that goes in the line of researchers like the American Lucia McBee, pioneer in the matter. “It is not an empirical contribution, but an observational one. But there is a clear indicator -explains Domingo-, in plant 11 there is harmony. What is normal in patients with dementia are behavioral disorders, which are also transmitted to workers. In the U.S., other studies show improvement in behavior and within instrumental capacities, cleaning, cooking, handling money. What wasn’t there was enough evidence that it improved cognition, and that’s what’s innovative. What do patients think? With logical limitations when it comes to communicating, they express a feeling of well-being. In the therapy room, Domingo and Eva Febles, a 36-year-old gerocultora, play classical music on the television of the room, while it projects images of sunsets or dawns. “Look at their faces, feeling good helps them a lot,” says Eva. One arrives home at night and thinks more optimistically,” says 88-year-old Jovita, after listening to the music for a few minutes. Silvia, 86, thinks the same way. “It helps, because you lose your memory. Sixto, 76, agrees. Sebastiana responds to the off-screen voice on television: “I’m happy to be here with you, too. I also attend and I feel happy with life”, he says with a sympathetic tone. While mindfulness exercises are already integrated into this day centre as part of the daily routine, Isabel and Esteban continue to spread The Big Game… They are currently working with teachers from a couple of schools, and have created the Canarian Association for the Development of Health through Mindfulness. But Esteban makes it clear: “Our motivation is the contribution, no other factor. All our productions are subject to Creative Commons. The manual that is being disseminated on the web, writings, videos … I never did business with things linked to attention to the present. I’ve always considered it something personal, or in a dynamic of solidarity,” he explains.

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