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AHA: Meditation Found Helpful in Coronary Heart Disease

Meditation reduced adverse events by nearly 50 percent in group of African-American patients

MONDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with coronary heart disease, stress-reducing transcendental meditation may significantly reduce the rate of heart attack, stroke and death, according to research presented this week at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, held from Nov. 14 to 18 in Orlando, Fla.

Robert Schneider, M.D., of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa, and colleagues randomly assigned 201 African-American men and women (average age, 59 years) with coronary heart disease to either transcendental meditation or a conventional intervention consisting of health education classes on traditional risk factors.

After an average of five years of follow-up, the researchers found that meditation was associated with a significantly reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and death (hazard ratio, 0.53). They also found that the intervention was associated with a mean decrease of 5.1 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure, but not a decrease in mean diastolic blood pressure or body mass index.

Schneider likened the effects of transcendental meditation to a new class of drugs. "In this case, the new medications are derived from the body's own internal pharmacy stimulated by the transcendental meditation practice," he said in a statement.

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