Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Meditation May Reduce Heart Disease Risk


Black adolescents with high normal blood pressure who practice transcendental meditation improve the ability of their blood vessels to relax and may reduce their risk of becoming adults with cardiovascular disease, researchers say.

After eight months of meditation, these adolescents experienced a 21 percent increase in the ability of their blood vessels to dilate compared to a 4 percent decrease experienced by their non-meditating peers, says Dr. Vernon A. Barnes, physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia’s Georgia Prevention Institute and lead investigator on the study.

“Our blood vessels are not rigid pipes,” says Dr. Barnes. “They need to dilate and constrict, according to the needs of the body. If this improvement in the ability to dilate can be replicated in other at-risk groups and cardiovascular disease patients, this could have important implications for inclusion of meditation programs to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and its clinical consequences. “We know this type of change is achievable with lipid lowering drugs, but it’s remarkable that a meditation program can produce such a change,” the researcher says.

In the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Hypertension, Dr. Barnes and his colleagues reported that 15 minutes of twice-daily transcendental meditation steadily lowered the blood pressure of 156 black, inner-city adolescents and their pressures tended to stay lower.

This new study, being presented during the 63rd Annual Scientific Conference of the American Psychosomatic Society held March 2-5 in Vancouver, focused on 111 of those adolescents, 57 who meditated and 54 controls. MCG researchers found among the meditators an increased ability of the blood vessel lining, called the endothelium, to relax. “Dysfunction in the ability of the endothelium to dilate is an early event in heart disease, a process that starts at a young age,” says Dr. Barnes.

At four months and again at eight months, researchers used echocardiography to measure the diameter of the right brachial artery, the main artery that feeds the arm, before and after a blood pressure cuff was inflated for two minutes. They found essentially no difference in the ability of that vessel to relax after stress in either group at four months. But by eight months, EDAD or endothelial-dependent arterial dilation, was significantly improved in the meditators, says Dr. Barnes, noting that as with all lifestyle changes, the full benefits of meditating may take a while. “Change can’t be expected overnight,” he says. “Meditation and other positive lifestyle habits such as exercising and eating right have to become part of your life, like brushing your teeth.” Long-term studies are needed to determine the long-term impact of meditation on the risk of heart disease, he says.

Doctors already know that smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease are all associated with decreased EDAD. “With the high prevalence of heart disease we have in our country today, this is something that should be considered,” he says of meditation, which is inexpensive and has no side effects.

The obesity epidemic in the United States, he says, likely is the primary contributor to the increasing blood pressure rates in children. But obesity appears to be part of an unhealthy cycle where the stresses of everyday life – such as poverty and not feeling safe at home – contribute to bad habits such as overeating and/or eating high-fat comfort foods and not exercising. Stress also may impair sleep, preventing the body – and blood pressure – from resting and recovering.

It appears that meditating – allowing the mind to settle to minimal activity for 15 minutes twice daily – may help the meditator and his blood vessels relax in the hectic world around him.

Dr. Frank Treiber, director of MCG’s Georgia Prevention Institute, and Dr. Surender Malhotra, cardiology fellow at MCG, are co-authors on the study which is highlighted as one of 10 abstract submissions to the conference viewed as having the highest potential to change clinical practice from the perspective of screening, diagnosis or treatment.

The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>