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Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Find Transcendental Meditation May Improve Cardiac Risk Factors in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles conducted a 16-week trial of Transcendental Meditation in patients with coronary heart disease. Fifty-two participants (average age 67.7 years) were instructed in Transcendental Meditation and 51 control patients (average age 67.1 years) received health education.

Overall, of the 103 participants who were enrolled, 84 (82 percent) completed the study. At the end of the trial, patients in the Transcendental Meditation group had significantly lower blood pressure; improved fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, which signify reduced insulin resistance; and more stable functioning of the autonomic nervous system. “These physiological effects were accomplished without changes in body weight, medication or psychosocial variables and despite a marginally statistically significant increase in physical activity in the health education group,” the authors write.

“Our results, demonstrating beneficial physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation in the absence of effects on psychosocial variables, suggest that Transcendental Meditation may modulate response to stress rather than alter the stress itself, similar to the physiological impact of exercise conditioning,” the authors write. This method of controlling the body’s response to stress may provide a new target for the treatment and prevention of coronary heart disease, warranting further study, they conclude.

The research was published in the AMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2006.