The Medical College of Wisconsin issued the following news release:

Heart Disease Patients Who Practice Transcendental Meditation Have
Nearly 50% Lower Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Death

Results of first-ever study presented at annual meeting of the American
Heart Association in Orlando, Nov. 16

Patients with coronary heart disease who practiced the stress-reducing
Transcendental Meditation(R) technique had nearly 50 percent lower rates
of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to nonmeditating controls,
according to the results of a first-ever study presented during the
annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla., on
Nov.16, 2009.

The trial was sponsored by a $3.8 million grant from the National
Institutes of Health – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and
was conducted at The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in
collaboration with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at
Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.

The nine-year, randomized control trial followed 201 African American
men and women, average age 59 years, with narrowing of arteries in their
hearts who were randomly assigned to either practice the stress-reducing
Transcendental Meditation technique or to participate in a control group
which received health education classes in traditional risk factors,
including dietary modification and exercise.

All participants continued standard medications and other usual medical care.
The study found:
– A 47 percent reduction in the combination of death, heart attacks, and
strokes in the participants
– Clinically significant (5 mm Hg average) reduction in blood pressure
associated with decrease in clinical events
– Significant reductions in psychological stress in the high-stress subgroup

According to Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, lead author and director of
the Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention, “Previous research on
Transcendental Meditation has shown reductions in blood pressure,
psychological stress, and other risk factors for heart disease,
irrespective of ethnicity. But this is the first controlled clinical
trial to show that long-term practice of this particular stress
reduction program reduces the incidence of clinical cardiovascular
events, that is heart attacks, strokes and mortality.”

“This study is an example of the contribution of a lifestyle
intervention–stress management–to the prevention of cardiovascular
disease in high-risk patients,” said Theodore Kotchen, M.D., co-author
of the study, professor of medicine, and associate dean for clinical
research at the Medical College. Other investigators at the Milwaukee
site included Drs. Jane Kotchen and Clarence Grim.

Dr. Schneider said that the effect of Transcendental Meditation in the
trial was like adding a class of newly discovered medications for the
prevention of heart disease. “In this case, the new medications are
derived from the body’s own internal pharmacy stimulated by the
Transcendental Meditation practice,” he said.

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Blogger’s note: I doubt meditation – beneficial as it is – results in a 50% lower risk of death…

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