Posts Tagged ‘Medical College of Wisconsin’

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

November 14, 2012

Meditation: Strong Preventative Medicine for Heart Patients

New research finds major health benefits of meditation for African Americans with heart disease.

November 13, 2012 • By for Pacific Standard

Meditation is usually thought of as a practice of healthy, well-off white people and Asians. But newly published research suggests it can produce hugely significant health benefits in a very different demographic group: African Americans with heart disease.

A study of that followed 201 African Americans for an average of five years found those who meditated regularly were far more likely to avoid three extremely unwelcome outcomes. Compared to peers participating in a health-education program, meditators were, in that period, 48 percent less likely to die, have a heart attack, or suffer a stroke.

“It appears that Transcendental Meditation is a technique that turns on the body’s own pharmacy—to repair and maintain itself,” said Dr. Robert Schneider, the paper’s lead author and director of the Institute for National Medicine and Prevention at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. His research is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The paper was originally scheduled to be published in 2011 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, but was withdrawn just before being posted “to allow time for review and statistical analysis of additional data.” The AHA’s Maggie Francis reports that the paper “went through peer review, statistical review, editorial discussions, and the authors of the article were responsive to the review process.”

While, two decades ago, research from Maharishi University was often regarded with skepticism, the institution is now well-regarded for its scholarly work.

Schneider and his co-authors undertook this research in part because African Americans “suffer from disproportionately high rates” of mortality due to cardiovascular disease. As we have reported, this may in part reflect high stress levels, the result of living in a society where racial prejudice continues to linger.

The study was conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in two phases: From 1998 to 2003, and from 2004 to 2007. Participants were African Americans whose blood flow to the heart was seriously obstructed. Specifically, at least one of their coronary arteries had been narrowed by at least 50 percent.

The patients’ mean age was 59; almost half reported an income of under $10,000. Males slightly outnumbered females. Around 40 percent were cigarette smokers; their mean body mass index was just over 32, making them, on average, clinically obese.

They were randomly divided into two groups. Half took part in a cardiovascular health education program, in which they “were advised to spent at least 20 minutes a day at home practicing heart-healthy behaviors,” including exercise and eating healthy food.

The others were taught the technique of Transcendental Meditation, and encouraged to engage in this activity for 20 minutes each day. “Follow-up and maintenance meetings were held weekly for the first month, biweekly for the next two months, and monthly thereafter,” the researchers write.

The researchers followed up on the participants an average of 5.4 years after they initially joined the experiment. They found those in the meditation group were 48 percent less likely than their peers to have suffered one of three negative outcomes: a heart attack, a stroke, or death from any cause.

“There was a significant association between regularity of home (meditation) practice and survival,” the researchers report. “The subgroup of subjects who were regular in their TM practice had a 66 percent risk reduction, compared with the overall sample risk reduction of 48 percent.”

Regular meditators also reduced their blood pressure, on average, and reported feeling less anger than they did before beginning the experiment.

“This trial did not address the effects of other mind-body, meditation-type interventions on clinical events,” the researchers note. So it’s not clear if these apparent health benefits were the result of some specific aspect of Transcendental Meditation, or would apply to any regimen involving deep breathing and clearing one’s mind.

Nevertheless, as the researchers note, this appears to be the first randomized, controlled trial to find the risk of mortality, heart attack and stroke declined “with the individual practice of a relatively simple mind-body intervention.”

It’s some of the clearest evidence yet that reducing stress through regular meditation can have a positive effect on one’s physical health.

About Tom Jacobs
Staff writer Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Ventura County Star.
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Meditation could slash the risk of heart attack and stroke (and make you less angry) — Daily Mail

November 13, 2012

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

  • Twice daily mantra meditation, where a sound is made repeatedly, may also reduce blood pressure

By Anna Hodgekiss

PUBLISHED: 15:03 EST, 13 November 2012 | UPDATED: 15:03 EST, 13 November 2012

Twice daily mantra meditation, which involves making a sound repeatedly, lowers death rates from heart attack and strokes

Meditation helps reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke, according to a new study.

Researchers found that Transcendental Meditation, made popular by the Beatles during the flower power era of the 1960s, could cut heart attack rates by half.

This type of meditation, which involves making a sound repeatedly, lowers death rates from heart attack and strokes.

In the new study, researchers found that people with heart disease who practised transcendental meditation for 20 minutes twice a day were 48 per cent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with those who attended a health education class over more than five years.

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.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Iowa, said: ‘We hypothesised that reducing stress by managing the mind-body connection would help improve rates of this epidemic disease.

‘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 – with an average age of 59 – to participate in a transcendental meditation stress-reducing programme or a health education class about lifestyle modification for diet and exercise.

Transcendental Meditation was made popular by the Beatles during the flower power era of the 1960s

The average BMI of the people involved was 32 – classed as obese.

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.

Dr Schneider added: ‘Transcendental meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions.

‘The research on transcendental meditation and cardiovascular disease is established well enough that doctors may safely and routinely prescribe stress reduction for their patients with this easy to implement, standardised and practical programme.’

The findings were published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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More news coverage: Transcendental Meditation May Lower Heart Risk: WebMD Heart Disease Health Center and Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA and Science Codex: Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients

The Daily Mail does not explain Transcendental Meditation properly. We do not repeatedly make a sound. It is a silent mental practice of experiencing the thought process at more refined levels until the mind transcends thought and arrives at an inner state of restful alertness. This natural level of deep rest releases stress and allows the body to repair itself resulting in improved health.

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.

Meditation ‘eases heart disease’

November 17, 2009

Meditation ‘eases heart disease’

Heart disease patients who practise Transcendental Meditation have reduced death rates, US researchers have said.

At a meeting of the American Heart Association they said they randomly assigned 201 African Americans to meditate or to make lifestyle changes.

After nine years, the meditation group had a 47% reduction in deaths, heart attacks and strokes.

The research was carried out by the Medical College in Wisconsin with the Maharishi University in Iowa.

It was funded by a £2.3m grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

‘Significant benefits’

The African American men and women had an average age of 59 years and narrowing of the arteries in their hearts.

The meditation group practised for 20 minutes twice a day.

The lifestyle change group received education classes in traditional risk factors, including dietary modification and exercise.

As well as the reductions in death, heart attacks and strokes in the meditating group, there was a clinically significant drop (5mm Hg) in blood pressure.

And a significant reduction in psychological stress in some participants.

Robert Schneider, lead author and director of the Centre for Natural Medicine and Prevention at the Maharishi University in Iowa, said other studies had shown the benefits of Transcendental Meditation on blood pressure and stress, irrespective of ethnicity.

“This is the first controlled clinical trial to show that long-term practise of this particular stress reduction programme reduces the incidence of clinical cardiovascular events, that is heart attacks, strokes and mortality,” he said.

Dr Schneider said that the effect of Transcendental Meditation in the trial was like adding a class of newly discovered drugs for the prevention of heart disease.

He said: “In this case, the new medications are derived from the body’s own internal pharmacy stimulated by the Transcendental Meditation practice.”

Ingrid Collins, a consultant educational psychologist at the London Medical Centre, said: “I’m not at all surprised that a change of behaviour like this can have enormous benefits both emotionally and physically.

“Physical and emotional energy is on a continuum and whatever happens to us physically can effect our emotions and vice versa.”

TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION

  • Introduced in India in 1955 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
  • In the 60s the Beatles popularised it by travelling to India to learn the technique from the Maharishi
  • The Maharishi Foundation says TM is a programme for the development of consciousness
  • Courses are only available through the foundation
  • They cost from £190 for students to £590 for people with incomes over £40,000

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