Posts Tagged ‘Robert Schneider’

#TranscendentalMeditation researcher Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, featured in Thrive Global

January 30, 2020

Based on Dr. Schneider’s recently published TM and heart health studies, which we publicized via EurekAlert!, Thrive Global reached out to us a few weeks ago inviting Dr. Schneider to submit an article on his work. It was published last week, January 24, 2020, in their Wisdom section. I added hyperlinks here to some of the studies mentioned in the article.

Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health

Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University

Students at Maharishi International University practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day on campus.
Students at Maharishi International University practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day.

My colleagues and I have long been concerned about the high rates of cardiovascular disease in the US that have spread throughout the world. Despite advances in modern medicine, heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death globally. One of the reasons for these high rates is the epidemic of stress in modern society. Early in my career, I studied the connection between psychological stress and high blood pressure and heart disease. This was a negative effect of the mind-body connection. About 30 years ago, I decided to investigate how the mind-body-heart connection could be positively managed with effective stress reduction, particularly the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

During that time, we and our colleagues at major academic medical centers in the US, such as Columbia University Medical Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and Charles Drew University, received funding from the National Institutes of Health and foundations to study effects of mind-body intervention with Transcendental Meditation in high-risk groups, like African Americans with high blood pressure or established heart disease. The results of this series of well-controlled studies, known as randomized controlled trials, showed that practice of Transcendental Meditation lowered high blood pressure, reduced insulin resistance (aka metabolic syndrome*), reduced atherosclerosis, and prevented abnormal enlargement of the heart (called left ventricular hypertrophy) in one of most recent studies. Some of our published pilot studies suggested improvements in blood flow to the heart and benefits to patients with heart failure.

A landmark study that brought all these findings together followed 200 patients with known heart disease over an average of five years. Half practiced Transcendental Meditation and half attended a class about cardiovascular factors. All participants continued their usual medicines and medical care. At the end of the study, the results showed that the meditating participants had a 48% lower rate of death, heart attack and stroke compared to controls. We believe that this remarkable result was due to redacted risk factors such as high blood pressure, psychological stress, and possibly cardiac enlargement. The results of reduced mortality in long-term TM practitioners were replicated in a separate study of older participants with high blood pressure.  All of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals, many in top ones like the American Heart Association and American Medical Association.

Based on these findings an American Heart Association scientific statement acknowledged these scientific studies and recommended that Transcendental Meditation be considered in the treatment of all patients with high blood pressure. And that’s a lot of people — according to the most recent guidelines, nearly half of all adults in the US.  The research is continuing, but I would say that if you’re at risk for heart disease — and that’s most men and women — consider managing your mind and body with Transcendental Meditation®. It’s easy to learn and practice, has extensive scientific evidence, and has other positive “benefits” for mental and physical health. It could save your life. For more information, visit https://www.tm.org.

*Video of Dr. Oz presenting TM research at DLF event.

(Click on Page 2 for a photo and Bio of Dr. Schneider.)

Pages: 1 2

PET scans show Transcendental Meditation with cardiac rehabilitation increases blood flow to the heart

December 5, 2019

EurekAlert! Summary: Study finds coronary heart disease (CHD) patients who include Transcendental Meditation (TM) with cardiac rehabilitation (CR) increased blood flow to the heart by 20.7%. This was the first study to show TM significantly enhanced lifestyle modification in patients, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure their effect on cardiac function and rehabilitation. The NIH-funded study was conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in collaboration with the Institute of Prevention Research. See EurekAlert! Press Release.

###

Can more be done besides diet and exercise to better recover from a heart attack, a stroke, or to prevent one? Scientists from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Institute for Prevention Research conducted a study, with and without meditation, to find out.

The study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology, found that patients with coronary heart disease who included Transcendental Meditation (TM) with their cardiac rehabilitation regime increased blood flow to the heart by more than 20%.

Titled “Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography”, the pilot study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in collaboration with the Institute for Prevention Research. The research involved 56 patients who had coronary heart disease, including recent heart attack, coronary artery bypass, or angina.

First study of its kind

The project was a groundbreaking proof-of-concept study, in that it was the first to combine Transcendental Meditation with other lifestyle treatment modalities, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the effect of lifestyle mind-body modification on cardiac function.

“This was the first study to show that the cardiovascular benefits of lifestyle modification such as structured exercise and dietary counseling may be enhanced by adding Transcendental Meditation in patients with heart disease,” said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, co-director of the study and medical director of the Institute for Prevention Research. “It also found that the Transcendental Meditation technique alone was able to reverse the effects of coronary heart disease assessed by PET imaging.”

Considered a gold standard for measuring myocardial flow reserve non-invasively, cardiac PET has diagnostic and prognostic significance in coronary heart disease.

Randomized, controlled pilot study

The researchers randomly divided the subjects into four groups: cardiac rehabilitation, Transcendental Meditation, Transcendental Meditation plus cardiac rehabilitation, or usual care.

The results showed that of the 37 patients who completed posttesting, myocardial blood flow increased by 20.7% in the group that did both Transcendental Meditation and cardiac rehabilitation. Blood flow in the group that practiced Transcendental Meditation alone increased 12.8%. Cardiac rehabilitation by itself showed an improvement of 5.8%. And patients who received the usual treatment showed a decrease in blood flow of -10.3%. Also see graph of Changes in myocardial flow reserves for the combined TM and non-TM groups.

Stress reduction therapies in cardiac rehabilitation

“Although this is a preliminary study, it suggests that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation can improve the function of the heart in cardiovascular patients,” said Dr. Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi University of Management’s College of Integrative Medicine.

He said that psychosocial stress is known to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease but that stress reduction therapies aren’t usually included in cardiac rehabilitation.

“More research needs to be done, but this study and previous research strongly suggest that medical professionals should consider utilizing this simple yet effective mind-body intervention in their heart health treatment and prevention programs,” Dr. Schneider said.

Possible mechanism

While it’s not known precisely how Transcendental Meditation would increase blood flow, the researchers speculate that it’s a result of improved endothelial-mediated coronary and arteriolar vasomotor function. That is, reduced levels of stress hormones and possibly inflammation may result in improved function of the endothelial cells that line the coronary arteries. They cite research, which has found that modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease improves blood flow in the heart.

Limitations of the study

While the study suggests that the Transcendental Meditation technique can increase blood flow in cardiovascular patients, carefully conducted clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the benefit.

“This was a first pilot study designed to determine the size of the effect and feasibility,” Dr. Schneider said. “Of the 56 original subjects, only 37 were available for the final posttesting of blood flow after the 12-week study period. In addition, compliance with cardiac rehabilitation was average, with attendance at exercise sessions about 60%. Also, the subjects practicing Transcendental Meditation may have received more attention than the rehabilitation group. This initial study paves the way for full scale clinical trials that will more rigorously evaluate these effects.”

Transcendental Meditation also reduces risk factors for heart disease

Earlier studies have shown that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance. A 2012 study found a 48% reduction in heart attack, stroke, and death.

###

Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography: A pilot study https://doi.org/10.1007/s12350-019-01884-9.

PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31529385.

Some News Coverage

Within 4 days of posting the press release there were well over 12,000 page views on EurekAlert! Some significant science news websites that reported on the study were HealthImaging: Meditation increases blood flow in the heart, PET scans show; and PsychCentral: Transcendental Meditation with Cardiac Rehab Can Increase Blood Flow to Heart.

Gary Null discussed the need for prevention on his show’s podcast and shared news of newly published natural approaches for improving heart health. He included MUM’s study at CUIMC from 26:28 to 27:10.

Related: New study shows Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

January 24, 2020, Thrive Global published: Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health. Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease. By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University.

The February 1, 2020 issue of Enjoy TM News published: New Study: TM Helps Patients Recover from Heart Disease. Groundbreaking study reports increased blood flow to heart.

Award-winning film on leadership features MUM professors F. Travis, R. Schneider and H. Harung

September 28, 2019

I had the pleasure of hosting Silvia Damiano when she visited Maharishi University to interview some of our faculty for her documentary film, Make Me a Leader, a brain-based approach to leadership.

Silvia Damiano is a scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist and filmmaker. Silvia’s scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade-long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. She founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratizing leadership and neuroscience.

Silvia’s recent About My Brain Institute newsletter contained exciting news: My Creative Journey to Hollywood. Our film wins Best Documentary & Best Director! We wanted to share the good news. Here is Jim Karpen’s article published in the Oct 2, 2019 issue, page 4, of The Review. I added links from our faculty’s names to trailers containing some of their input.

Award-Winning Film Presents Faculty Research

Filmmaker Silvia Damiano has her EEG assessed by Professor Fred Travis in the documentary Make Me a Leader.

A documentary on brain-based leadership that includes interviews with Professors Fred Travis and Robert Schneider, and former adjunct professor Harald Harung, recently won Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Director at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards.

The filmmaker, Silvia Damiano, came to campus to conduct interviews.

In his segment, Dr. Travis emphasizes the importance of a leader having a clear mind. Dr. Harung talks about the importance of mind-brain development in becoming a good leader. And Dr. Schneider explains that an optimally functioning brain depends on an optimally functioning physiology. The film, titled Make Me a Leader, also shows Dr. Travis taking Ms. Damanio’s EEG.

A practitioner of the Transcendental Meditation technique, Ms. Damiano is the founder and CEO of About My Brain Institute.

The documentary can be viewed at aboutmybrain.com/makemealeader for $10. A trailer that includes Dr. Harung and Dr. Travis can be viewed on YouTube.

The film describes how to develop the leaders of the future and suggests a new mindset based on science that integrates the entire biological system from the brain down.

Ms. Damiano offers leadership training and wrote in an email, “I am happy I was able to showcase the amazing work of Fred and Harald. I speak about them all the time.”

###

Related post: MUM @maharishiuni professors explore secrets of world-class performers in World-Class Brain book, includes links to relevant studies and presentations.

New: Dr. Harald Harung speaks on Higher Brain Integration for Effective Leadership today during a Session on Day 3 at the International Leadership Summit, Nov 5-7, 2019. Around halfway through Harald’s interview with summit organizer Archanna Shetty he describes ways to increase brain integration, which includes the regular practice of TM.

For more posts on Dr Harung, visit The Uncarved Blog.

Transcendental Meditation and lifestyle changes both stimulate genes that reduce blood pressure and extend lifespan

December 7, 2015

A new study published in PLOS ONE found that the Transcendental Meditation technique and lifestyle changes both appear to stimulate genes that produce telomerase, an enzyme associated with reduced blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. Both stress reduction approaches prevented telomere deterioration, suggesting a possible underlying mechanism for the improved cardiovascular health in a high-risk population. See a graph showing the growth of telomerase in both groups. Read the full press release at EurekAlert/AAAS.

News of the study was reported by ANI and AINS and as a result it went viral all over India and Asia. There are pages of reports on Google News. The Times of India picked it up—Daily meditation can slow ageing and blood pressure—and so did many others reproducing it.

PM Modi Sify

But one of the news reports that stood out to me was at Sify News. They chose a picture of India’s Prime Minister Modi to announce the news. He is seen exiting a plane with his hands together in a namaste pose as if showing respect to Maharishi University and their research scientists! See their full report:  Transcendental Meditation lowers BP, heart and mortality risks.

Another Indian news outlet, The HealthSite, announced the study to its readers in a more instructional way. They had previously published an editorial on TM taking the world by storm, and link to it and previous TM articles from this current report on the new TM study with this well written opening paragraph:

Since the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the enzyme telomerase in 1984, identifying other biological molecules that lengthen or shorten the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes has been slow going.

A new Maharishi University of Management study found that the Transcendental Meditation technique and lifestyle changes both appear to stimulate genes that produce telomerase, an enzyme that’s associated with reduced blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and mortality. Specifically, these approaches were found to activate two genes that code for telomerase, which adds molecules to the ends of chromosomes, or telomeres, protecting them from deteriorating.

Read the rest of the article: Practise Transcendental Meditation to lower BP, heart and mortality risks.

In the west, Science Codex and Medical Xpress were the first to announce the news. PsychCentral posted Meditation & Lifestyle Both Can Improve Cardio Health. Then, Medical News Today ran two articles, one on the study itself, Transcendental Meditation and lifestyle modification increase telomerase, new study finds, followed by a more in-depth article by MNT’s senior editor and writer Marie Ellis: Can meditating reduce blood pressure?, which is now being referenced in other related articles, like Latinos Post, with their more direct title answering MNT’s question: Meditation Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure – Study.

Other medical blogs are also posting news about this study in more detail. Doctors Health News wrote: Can Transcendental Meditation Reduce Blood Pressure? New Study Says It Can. Syracuse Natural Health Examiner: Transcendental meditation can lower your blood pressure.

The Optimist wrote this great introduction to our study and then linked to the Psych Central article, which reprinted our MUM/EurekAlert press release. See: Transcendental Meditation improves blood pressure and cardio health.

Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that protect our genetic data. Telomere length shortens with age. Researchers also suspect that telomere dysfunction contributes to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. So it’s fantastic to know that we might be able to protect our telomeres a bit. A new study shows that Transcendental Meditation—a technique for avoiding distracting thoughts and promoting a state of relaxed awareness—stimulates genes that produce telomerase, an enzyme that elongates  telomeres. After 16 weeks of meditating, study participants showed significant increases in telomerase gene expression and reductions in blood pressure.

The TMhome website introduced a clear understanding of the role telomeres play on DNA reproduction and the effect meditation, diet and exercise can have on them and our health. See their illustrated explanation why telomeres are the key to our health and aging.

This new scientific evidence at the level of DNA now shows how Transcendental Meditation allows the body to make the necessary changes to repair itself, lower the risks of heart disease, and extend life.

See Dr. Robert Schneider’s presentation at Our Conscious Future: Mind Over DNA: Transforming DNA from the Inside Out.

To learn how the mind can influence our epigenetics, click this link: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Gu33jzWYxQU?rel=0.

John Fagan, professor of molecular biology at Maharishi University of Management and senior author on the study, met with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi, on Jan 13, 2016. My guess is he may have discussed food safety with the prime minister.

@MaharishiU’s Dr. Robert Schneider presents @TMmeditation research to @uiowa Hospitals and Clinics medical staff

January 9, 2014

Doctor touts health benefits of Transcendental Meditation
Written by Sara Agnew, Iowa City Press-Citizen
Jan. 7, 2014 8:55 PM

Dr. Francois Abboud, left, talks with Dr. Robert H. Schneider, who spoke with medical staff at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Tuesday about how the practice of Transcendental Meditation can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. / Sara Agnew / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Dr. Francois Abboud, left, talks with Dr. Robert H. Schneider, who spoke with medical staff at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Tuesday about how the practice of Transcendental Meditation can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. / Sara Agnew / Iowa City Press-Citizen

If you want to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and lower your blood pressure without taking medication, Dr. Robert H. Schneider has a suggestion: Transcendental Meditation.

Schneider says he has been involved in studies that show this type of meditation can reduce the rate of death from cardiovascular disease by 30 percent and from cancer by 40 percent.

The key is you need to know the “techniques” of Transcendental Meditation to experience the benefits — sitting with your eyes closed for 10 minutes won’t cut it.

That’s the message Schneider shared with about 40 hospital personnel Tuesday during an hourlong presentation called MIND-BODY-HEART: Evidence for Meditation in Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. It was his first visit with staff and doctors at UIHC.

“It was breakthrough,” he said of his visit.

Schneider is director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention and dean of medical programs at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. As a physician and scientist, Schneider has spent the past 30 years researching evidence-based natural approaches for treating heart disease, high blood pressure, stress and other cardiovascular factors. Over the past 20 years, he has received more than $20 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health for his natural approaches to treating heart disease.

Much of his work centers on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

Schneider said TM is an effortless technique for “automatic self-transcending.” It allows your mind to settle inward beyond thought to experience the source of thought — pure awareness. This is the most silent and peaceful level of consciousness and what many who practice TM call your innermost self.

“It takes a technique that you learn in an eight-hour course,” Schneider said. “Once you have the technique, it happens quite easily.”

Schneider said humans have an “inborn ability” to practice this type of meditation.

“But we have lost this simple and natural technique,” he said.

Schneider said much of his research about the correlation between mind and body were affirmed last June when the American Heart Association announced that Transcendental Meditation is the only meditation practice that has shown to lower blood pressure. In addition, AHA reported lower blood pressure through TM is associated with substantially reduced rates of death, heart attack and stroke.

Ultimately, Schneider said the AHA recommended that TM be recommended for consideration as an alternative treatment for individuals with blood pressure greater than 120/80 mm Hg.

Schneider said he learned about TM 40 years ago as a college student.

“I was always interested in how we can tap into the body’s own cell repair and healing abilities,” he said. “I thought I’d try it and see if it works.”

He read the research and gave TM a try.

“I found I could study better and learn better and had more energy,” Schneider said.

Later, when he was a fellow in hypertension at the University of Michigan Medical School, Schneider took an interest in the connection between the brain and heart.

“I thought maybe we could use the brain to lower blood pressure,” he said.

Schneider believes his years of research on managing the mind-body connection is paying off as organizations such as the AHA begin recognizing the benefits of TM.

During his presentation at UIHC, Schneider highlighted a 2012 study that showed blacks with heart disease who practiced TM regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with blacks who attended a health education class over more than five years.

Those practicing TM also “lowered their blood pressure and reported less stress and anger,” Schneider said.

Schneider is interested in researching how TM can be used to help military veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. Francois Abboud, the namesake of UI’s Cardiovascular Research Center, asked, “How will I know if I am meditating correctly?”

Linda Rainforth, a certified TM teacher from Iowa City, said people who are practicing TM reach a “deep, deep level of silence and stillness” in which they experience an “expansion of the mind.”

One listener wondered whether men or women followed through most consistently in practicing TM during research studies.

“Men and women both get results,” Schneider said. “But in some of our studies, there was slightly more compliance with the women.”

If you go

Learn more about Transcendental Meditation by attending one of the following presentations by certified teachers in TM. All presentations will be at the Iowa City Public Library, meeting room E.
• 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
• 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
• 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16.
TM sessions also can be by appointment by calling Iowa City Transcendental Meditation Program at 936-1986, 641-472-0827 or 641-919-7282. For more information, go to www.tm.org.

MUM's Dr. Robert Schneider presenting research at UIMC

Dr. Robert Schneider was also interviewed by Steve Smith on KMCD’s MUM Spotlight Show about the American Heart Association’s recommendation of Transcendental Meditation to lower high blood pressure. He also reported on his visit to UI’s Medical Center. Steve asked some great questions. It was a lively discussion. Listen here: http://fairfieldiowaradio.com/audio/spotlight%201-9.mp3. (20:45)

See Dr. Schneider on New Zealand Television’s Breakfast ONE News describing the value of TM for heart health. http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/meditating-your-heart-video-5602306

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.

###

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

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.


%d bloggers like this: