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Study shows lower hypertension in teenagers

The Review, Vol. 19, #13    Translate This Article
Fairfield, Iowa, United States
26 March 2004

A new study authored by [Maharishi University of Management] Ph.D. graduate Vernon Barnes (1996) and his colleagues at the Medical College of Georgia shows that teenagers who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique are able to reduce ambulatory blood pressure, that is, blood pressure measured in a natural setting. Details of this research will be published on April 2 in the prestigious American Journal of Hypertension.

While high blood pressure is commonly thought to be a problem among adults, research shows that it is increasingly affecting teens, especially inner-city adolescents. 'Hypertension is no longer considered an adult disease, as the incidence of hypertension has risen dramatically in recent years among youth,' Dr. Barnes said. 'Having above normal or borderline high blood pressure, even in adolescence, increases the long-term risk of developing high blood pressure.'

The research was supported by a grant of $240,000 from the American Heart Association and $1.3 million from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Over the course of the four-year study, 5,000 teens were screened on blood pressure at inner-city high schools in Augusta, Georgia. Those with the highest blood pressures were invited to participate and were randomly assigned to the Transcendental Meditation technique group or to a health education group.

The meditation group participants were given personal instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique at school. They then practiced it for 15 minutes at school and at home on school days, as well as twice daily individually at home on weekends for four months.

The Transcendental Meditation technique group exhibited significantly greater decreases in ambulatory daytime systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to little or no change in the control group at the conclusion of the four-month study. These changes were still evident when the blood pressure of participants was measured four months after the formal end of the study.

Dr. Barnes said that adolescence is a crucial period regarding the development of hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease. 'If maintained over time, the decreases in blood pressure that we found in our study have potential significance for individual health. This study helps further our knowledge of the role of the Transcendental Meditation technique in preventing and managing hypertension.'

Copyright 2004, Maharishi University of Management

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