Posts Tagged ‘CVD’

Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk: WebMD Heart Disease Health Center

November 13, 2012

Heart Disease Health Center

Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk

By 
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 13, 2012 — Transcendental Meditation is good for the heart, according to a new study.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. It found that African-Americans with heart disease who regularly practiced TM reduced their risk of death, heart attack, and stroke by 48%.

Researcher Robert Schneider, MD, says those results should apply to the general population. Schneider is director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa.

“This taps into a universal physical phenomenon that is not related to race, age, culture, etc.,” Schneider says. “This state of restful alertness has restorative benefits for everyone. It’s a way to utilize the body’s own internal pharmacy.”

TM is a trademarked form of meditation. It requires training by a certified teacher to “settle inward” to a place called “transcendental consciousness.” The technique is one of the two pillars underlying education at the Maharishi University of Management, according to the school’s web site.

Health Benefits of TM

The study was a collaboration between MUM and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Researchers recruited 201 African-American men and women whose average age was 59 and who were generally considered obese.

All of the participants previously had been diagnosed with heart disease. Many of them were current smokers. African-Americans, says Schneider, have a 35% higher risk of dying from heart disease than the general population.

The people in the study were divided into two groups. While both groups continued to receive standard care and medication for heart disease, the study group attended a seven-step course in TM. The people in that group were then instructed to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes for the duration of the study.

Schneider says that the program was standard for TM practitioners and had not been modified for the study.

The comparison group received conventional health education. The people in that group were told to spend at least 20 minutes a day on heart-healthy activities.

Members of both groups were followed for as long as nine years.

In addition to reducing the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke by nearly half, TM also significantly lowered systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading.

Anger control and overall anger also improved. Those who entered the study with either high blood pressure or high stress benefited the most from meditation.

“What this is saying is that mind-body interventions can have an effect as big as conventional medications, such as statins,” says Schneider.

The TM group was expected to meditate 14 times per week. But the researchers found that on average participants only practiced the technique 8.5 times.

They would have done well to stick to their instructions. Those who followed the study guidelines more strictly, Schneider says, had even greater benefits. Their risk reduction was 66%.

Second Opinion

“In cardiology, we are always impressed when we see any effective intervention,” says cardiologist Michael Shapiro, DO, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. “But to actually show a reduction in overall mortality — that is really impressive.”

Shapiro, who reviewed the study for WebMD, says that its design appears scientifically rigorous and that its results are likely valid. But he says the study was too small to draw any definite conclusions.

“I am enthusiastic and cautiously optimistic,” says Shapiro. “Overall, I like the study, and it provides justification for a much larger study.”

Shapiro, who practices a different form of meditation, also says that more needs to be learned about what drives these results. He says the reduction in blood pressure, while significant, is likely not enough to account for all of the study’s positive outcomes.

“Meditation can do a whole host of positive things: reduce anger and stress, encourage happiness,” he says. “Who is to say that these are not the most important factors? This study can’t get at the mechanism involved. We don’t know how it works.”

A Cost-Effective Means of Prevention

Transcendental Meditation, says Schneider, is “a simple, effortless, and natural way to settle down to a quiet state of mind.”

But it is not free. According to the Maharishi Foundation USA’s web site, the seven-part introductory TM course that the study participants attended costs $1,500. Financial aid and sliding scale fees are available to those who can’t afford the full amount.

To Schneider, this study shows that TM is a cost-effective means of prevention.

“This is the strongest study ever done on meditation or any mind-body intervention for cardiovascular disease,” he says.

In July 2011, the study was pulled from publication in Archives of Internal Medicine, a last-minute decision made when one of the journal’s reviewers raised questions about the data. Schneider says that in the intervening time, the data was re-analyzed. Also, new data was added and the study underwent an independent review.

“This is the new and improved version,” Schneider says. It appears in the current issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Note: Check November 20 when the next issue comes out in print: http://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org.

Also see: Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA

Science Codex: Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

Meditation could slash the risk of heart attack and stroke (and make you less angry) — Daily Mail

Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA

November 13, 2012

Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

November 13, 2012

Study Highlights:

  • Twice-a-day Transcendental Meditation helped African Americans with heart disease reduce risk of death, heart attack and stroke.
  • Meditation helped patients lower their blood pressure, stress and anger compared with patients who attended a health education class.
  • Regular Transcendental Meditation may improve long-term heart health.

DALLAS, Nov. 13, 2012 — African Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with African Americans who attended a health education class over more than five years, according to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Those practicing meditation also lowered their blood pressure and reported less stress and anger. And the more regularly patients meditated, the greater their survival, said researchers who conducted the study at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Robert Schneider, M.D., director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention and dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health in Fairfield, Iowa. Courtesy MAPI

“We hypothesized that reducing stress by managing the mind-body connection would help improve rates of this epidemic disease,” said Robert Schneider, M.D., lead researcher and director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa. “It appears that Transcendental Meditation is a technique that turns on the body’s own pharmacy — to repair and maintain itself.”

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 201 people to participate in a Transcendental Meditation stress-reducing program or a health education class about lifestyle modification for diet and exercise.

  • Forty-two percent of the participants were women, average age 59, and half reported earning less than $10,000 per year.
  • Average body mass index was about 32, which is clinically obese.
  • Nearly 60 percent in both treatment groups took cholesterol-lowering drugs; 41 percent of the meditation group and 31 percent of the health education group took aspirin; and 38 percent of the meditation group and 43 percent of the health education group smoked.

Those in the meditation program sat with eyes closed for about 20 minutes twice a day practicing the technique, allowing their minds and bodies to rest deeply while remaining alert.

 Participants in the health education group were advised, under the instruction of professional health educators, to spend at least 20 minutes a day at home practicing heart-healthy behaviors such as exercise, healthy meal preparation and nonspecific relaxation.
Researchers evaluated participants at the start of the study, at three months and every six months thereafter for body mass index, diet, program adherence, blood pressure and cardiovascular hospitalizations. They found:
  • There were 52 primary end point events, which included death, heart attack or stroke. Of these, 20 events occurred in the meditation group and 32 in the health education group.
  • Blood pressure was reduced by 5 mm Hg and anger decreased significantly among Transcendental Meditation participants compared to controls.
  • Both groups showed beneficial changes in exercise and alcohol consumption, and the meditation group showed a trend towards reduced smoking. Although, there were no significant differences between the groups in weight, exercise or diet.
  • Regular meditation was correlated with reduced death, heart attack and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Death from heart disease is about 50 percent higher in black adults compared to whites in the United States. Researchers focused on African Americans because of health disparities in America.

“Transcendental Meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions,” said Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health in Fairfield, Iowa.

“The research on Transcendental Meditation and cardiovascular disease is established well enough that physicians may safely and routinely prescribe stress reduction for their patients with this easy to implement, standardized and practical program,”he said.

Co-authors are: Theodore Kotchen, M.D.; John W. Salerno, Ph.D.; Clarence E. Grim, M.D.; Sanford I. Nidich, Ed.D.; Jane Morley Kotchen, M.D., M.P.H.; Maxwell V. Rainforth, Ph.D.; Carolyn Gaylord-King, Ph.D.; and Charles N. Alexander, Ph.D. Author disclosures are available on the manuscript.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute funded the study.

Follow @HeartNews on Twitter for the latest heart and stroke news.

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Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding .

Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2012; 5: 750-758. Published online before print November 13, 2012, doi: 10.1161/ CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406. November 2012 issue. Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Randomized, Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Blacks. Abstract | Full Text | PDF | Figures Only

Also posted on EurekAlert! http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-11/aha-mmr110812.php

Also see: Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk: WebMD Heart Disease Health Center

Science Codex: Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

Meditation could slash the risk of heart attack and stroke (and make you less angry) — Daily Mail

TIME Strongest Study Yet Shows Meditation Can Lower Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Excellent article by Tom Jacobs on Meditation: Strong Preventative Medicine for Heart Patients

AHA Newsletter: News from the Heart: Update from CEO Nancy Brown for AHA Volunteers (11/15/12) features Dr. Schneider’s study, “meditation reduces cardiovascular risk”

And many major articles around the world, including reports by CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC.

I also included a review of some of the global news coverage and the report in our university paper the Review: New Study Shows Reduced Mortality, Heart Attack, Stroke (Vol. 28, #6, November 28, 2012). You can also read it in this news post: Results of American Heart Association publishing landmark TM study.

Can stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation help CHD patients prevent future heart attacks?

November 6, 2009

EurekAlert! Banner

Public Release: 6-Nov-2009

Can stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation help CHD patients prevent future heart attacks?

The National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will fund a $1 million collaborative study by the Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management Research Institute and Columbia University Medical Center to determine whether the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique can help patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) prevent future heart attacks, strokes and death.

The 12-week “Randomized Controlled Trial of Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in African Americans,” will be conducted at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. The trial will examine 56 patients who have had a heart attack or bypass surgery, angioplasty, or chronic angina.

“For decades, stress has been implicated in the cause and progression of heart disease,” said Robert Schneider, M.D., F.A.C.C., lead author and director of the NIH-funded Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention. “And while standard cardiac rehabilitation usually includes supervised exercise and lifestyle education, it does not usually include a formal stress reduction program.

“Now, for the first time, this study will evaluate whether adding stress reduction through the Transcendental Meditation technique to conventional cardiac rehabilitation will aid in the treatment of serious CHD compared to conventional cardiac rehabilitation alone,” Dr. Schneider said.

Patients will be carefully evaluated before and after the study for changes in their coronary artery disease with the most advanced noninvasive methods for measuring cardiac function—PET or positron emission tomography. According to Sabahat Bokhari, MD, Director of Nuclear Cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center and study co-director, “PET is an innovative imaging technology that allows us to visually and non-invasively study blood flow to the heart. With this state-of-the-art technology, doctors can now measure the blood flow to the heart and thus quantify the full impact of stress reduction on CHD.”

The NIH funding allocation is part of the Obama Administration’s American Reinvestment and Recovery Act—or economic stimulus bill. Competition for the funding was fierce with more than 20,000 applications for the Challenge Grants category and only 840 awarded. “In the current climate of health care reform, the purpose of this grant is to find more effective treatments for heart disease and thereby find more effective ways to reduce health care costs,” Dr. Schneider said.

“The NHLBI’s Recovery Act funds will make it possible to evaluate Transcendental Meditation as a promising tool in helping to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and death related to coronary events. This is worthwhile research since we know that strong emotional stress can lead to conditions such as arrhythmia and hypertension,” said NHLBI Director Elizabeth Nabel, M.D.

Results from several earlier trials on the Transcendental Meditation program found reductions in risk factors for heart disease, such as hypertension, psychological stress, insulin resistance, and build-up of atherosclerosis in the arteries, with indications of reduced mortality from heart disease. This newly funded study will directly evaluate coronary artery disease and continue to examine the potential of meditation for improvements in cardiovascular health.

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Fast Facts on Coronary Heart Disease:

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States
  • There are nearly 1.5 million heart attacks per year in the US, according the American Heart Association
  • An American will suffer a heart attack every 34 seconds
  • Coronary heart disease is also the leading cause of soaring health care costs; more than $475 billion spent annually on treating CHD, including
    • $100,000 for each coronary bypass surgery
    • $50,000 for each angioplasty
    • $30,000 for each diagnostic cardiac catheterization
  • There are nearly 500,000 coronary artery bypass grafts and 1.3 million angioplasties performed every year
  • Stress is thought to contribute to development of CHD

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