Posts Tagged ‘Col.Brian Rees’

Second study to show Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in African Refugees—in just 10 days

February 10, 2014

Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces PTSD in African refugees within 10 days

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

African civilians in war-torn countries have experienced the threat of violence or death, and many have witnessed the abuse, torture, rape and even murder of loved ones. Many Congolese living in Ugandan refugee camps are suffering from severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

New research shows that Congolese war refugees who learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique showed a significant reduction in posttraumatic stress disorder in just 10 days, according to a study published today in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 1–119).

In the study, “Significant Reductions in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees within 10 days Transcendental Meditation Practice,” 11 subjects were tested after 10-days and 30-days TM practice. After just 10-days PTSD symptoms dropped almost 30 points.

“An earlier study found a similar result after 30 days where 90% of TM subjects dropped to a non-symptomatic level. But we were surprised to see such a significant reduction with this group after just 10 days,” said study author Brian Rees, MD, MPH.

The subjects were assessed using the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Civilians, (PCL-C), which rates the severity of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85. A score below 35 means the symptoms of PTSD have abated.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

The subjects in the study initially tested with an average score of 77.9. After just 10 days of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, their PTSD test scores dropped to an average of 48, which was highly significant clinically.

Thirty days later the subjects were tested again with their PTSD scores falling to an average of 35.3 — meaning that they were nearly without symptoms of PTSD.

“What makes this study interesting is when we tested them in the 90 days before they began the TM technique, their PTSD scores kept going up,” said coauthor Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management. “During that period their scores were rising, from 68.5 at the beginning to 77.9 after 90 days. But once they started the Transcendental Meditation technique, their PTSD scores plummeted.”

According to the researchers, during this particular meditation technique one experiences a deep state of restful alertness. Repeated experience of this state for 20 minutes twice a day cultures the nervous system to maintain settled mental and physical functioning the rest of the day. This helps to minimize disturbing thoughts, sleep difficulties, and other adverse PTSD symptoms.

In this video, Dr. Travis explains the neurophysiology of trauma and how TM relieves it. He says, “Something very profound is happening. Because experience changes the brain, and trauma locks in a specific brain functioning (the over stimulated amygdala), you’re stuck in a specific way of thinking and feeling, (vigilance, fear and mistrust) and appreciating the world.” He further explains how the experience of transcending, with Transcendental Meditation, calms the amygdala, relieves PTS symptoms and frees the individual “to see more possibilities.”

Congolese refugee Esperance Ndozi and her 5 children

Congolese refugee Esperance Ndozi and her 5 children

Esperance Ndozi was one of the Congolese refugees traumatized by the civil war. The 35-year old mother of 5 was part of the group of refugees that learned TM. Before learning the effortless technique, Esperance couldn’t find relief from a flood of dark disturbing memories. She could hardly sleep. After a week of meditating 20-minutes twice a day she describes increasing relaxation and relief from PTSD symptoms. “Your mind, your body relaxes. You feel you are out of the outside world. You are just in your peaceful world. No negativity. It doesn’t come near me now.” Like other refugees in the study the calm and peace grew to last throughout the day. Watch the video.

A previous study of Congolese refugees, which involved 42 subjects found that the Transcendental Meditation group had an average Checklist score of below 35 after 30 days, a non-symptomatic level, while the average score of the control group actually worsened over the same period.

“This is now the fourth study to show an improvement in PTSD,” said Dr. Rees, a colonel in the US Army Reserve Medical Corps. “The Transcendental Meditation technique is increasingly being seen as a viable treatment by the US military.”*

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Study co-author Dr Fred Travis is a professor of neurophysiology at Maharishi University of Management, an accredited university to the PhD level, where Transcendental Meditation is incorporated into its curriculum and practiced by faculty and students. This provides a way for students, including veterans, to reduce the effects of past stress and trauma, and make learning easier and more enjoyable. www.mum.edu

This study was funded in part by the David Lynch Foundation. www.davidlynchfoundation.org/africa

The Journal of Traumatic Stress is published on behalf of International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Source: EurekAlert!

*Two earlier studies have shown the Transcendental Meditation (TM®) technique to effectively lower post-traumatic stress in veterans of Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan wars.

See first refugee study: New study shows Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces PTS in African refugees

Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide Epidemic

October 4, 2012

 Military Leaders Promote Meditation to Reduce Suicide
Epidemic Among Veterans

VA Funds Studies on PTSD; Iowa Summit to Showcase Benefits

Eighteen veterans commit suicide every day—
a horrific consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
More veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New York, NY — October 4, 2012: America’s veterans and their families are turning to meditation to ease the trauma of combat and pave the way to a healthier life.

The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity founded by iconic filmmaker David Lynch to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations, will hold an Iowa Veterans Summit on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the West Des Moines Marriott. A press avail will take place at 10:00 A.M., followed by the Veterans Summit from 1:00 P.M. to 2:30 P.M.

The Summit will present the research and clinical applications of Transcendental Meditation for reducing stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and suicide, depression and enhancing resilience and performance.

The Washington Post reported in May that the Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking new ways to treat PTSD, is studying the use of Transcendental Meditation to help returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of veterans have learned Transcendental Meditation. Research on veterans who meditate has shown that the technique not only reduces the psychosocial symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, but also balances serotonin and norepinephrine, and regulates the sympathetic nervous system. Transcendental Meditation is used on the oldest private military campus, Norwich University.

Panelists at The Iowa Veterans Summit include: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and Operation Warrior Wellness (OWW)–Iowa Advisory Board Member. All panelists have extensive experience in using Transcendental Meditation.        

Bob Roth, the Executive Director of The David Lynch Foundation, stated, “It is imperative that we help veterans and the brave men and women still in active-duty deal with the stress that stays with them long after they have returned home. Transcendental Meditation is a wonderful tool that can help those overcome the stress and anxiety from the theater of war, allowing them to lead healthier, more resilient lives.”

Todd M. Jacobus, the Chair of the Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs, also stated, “Reducing the number of suicides among our Army personnel and veterans today is a top priority of the Army community. Commanders and leaders at all levels of our U.S. Armed Forces are making efforts to remain engaged in the lives of our Soldiers in order to be responsive to their needs and issues, and to get them help. However, these efforts can’t succeed without the involvement of the greater community, including programs like Operation Warrior Wellness, and the Resilient Warrior Program.”

WHAT: Presentations will highlight program outcomes for active-duty military personnel, veterans, cadets and their families. Those invited include military and Veterans Affairs leadership, behavioral health officers, mental health professionals caring for veterans and their families, policy makers, medical researchers and educators.

WHO: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, OEF veteran and OWW–Iowa Advisory Board Member   

WHERE: West Des Moines Marriott, 1250 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, Iowa

WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 2012

10:00 A.M.: Press avail

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.: Lunch

1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.: Veterans Summit

You can view the event brochure by visiting, http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa_summit.

To arrange an interview with Bob Roth or Jerry Yellin, please contact Ken Chawkin at 641-470-1314 or kchawkin@mum.edu.

About The David Lynch Foundation
The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2005 to fund the implementation of scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities including Transcendental Meditation, for at-risk populations such as underserved inner-city students; veterans with PTSD and their families; American Indians suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high suicide rates; homeless men participating in reentry programs striving to overcome addictions; and incarcerated juveniles and adults. For more information, please visit www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

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Reported in The Gazette: Summit in Iowa to promote meditation to reduce suicide among veterans. Radio Iowa: Veteran shares story in hopes of helping others deal with impact of war and Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

Here is a newly published Letter to the Editor of the Air Force Times by Dr. Leffler and Dr. Schneider: TM CAN SLOW AGING EFFECT. Also see: Norwich University Studies the Benefits of TM on Cadets.

See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation

Watch David Lynch Foundation Press Conference and the Change Begins Within Benefit Celebration

December 14, 2010

Watch livestream rebroadcasts of two extraordinary events: the David Lynch Foundation Press Conference to launch Operation Warrior Wellness, from the Paley Center for Media, and the Change Begins Within Gala Event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, Monday, December 13, 2010. See David Lynch Foundation’s Photos – Change Begins Within and Broadway World photo coverage of the 2nd Annual David Lynch Foundation’s Change Begins Within Benefit Celebration. Watch highlights of both events: the press conference and the second annual benefit gala.


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