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More from neurologist on how Transcendental Meditation can help
PTSD and the brain

by Gary Kaplan, MD, PhD    Translate This Article
12 August 2011

A post by neurologist Gary Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D. continues. Dr Kaplan discusses beneficial EEG changes during Transcendental Meditation, in light of recently published research showing 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms in veterans practising the technique. The post includes a brief video of an Iraq war veteran describing relief from PTSD symptoms he found soon after learning TM.

Please also see Part I: PTSD and the brain: How Transcendental Meditation can help.

By the fourth week of practicing TM, OEF/OIF veterans
with PTSD experienced dramatic reductions in
PTSD symptoms according to the Clinically-Administered
PTSD Scale (CAPS—the gold standard of PTSD testing).
They also reported decreased depression and improved
quality of life—showing a greater ability to return to their
lives after the war. These findings replicated an earlier
study examining TM as a treatment for Vietnam
veterans with PTSD.

The recent pilot study showing a 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms in veterans practicing Transcendental Meditation is welcome news, and not unexpected.

After all, it fits with what we know about TM and how it affects the brain. During TM, the EEG changes reflect prefrontal cortical activity naturally and effortlessly increasing in power in a coherent manner.

The state of restful alertness during TM is exactly the opposite of what we see with amygdala over-activity (described in Part I).

And, we see these EEG changes during TM even in new meditators, so a few weeks or months of practice can be expected to significantly reduce the negative impact of repeated episodes of emotion-laden memories. The memories are not erased, but they are less likely to overwhelm, as this new style of a more coherent cortical functioning is established in the brain of someone practicing TM twice a day.

What a great addition this is to the arsenal of physicians treating these wounded warriors, and also non-veterans who have been affected by PTSD and anxiety disorders. We must all work to make it available to those in need.

Iraq war veteran David George speaks out about PTSD and the effect of Transcendental Meditation:


∙ Neurobiology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; D. Jeffrey Newport and Charles B. Nemeroff; Focus 1:313-321 (2003) Am. Psychiatric Assoc.

Effects of Transcendental Meditation in Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Pilot Study; Rosenthal, Joshua Z.; Grosswald, Sarina; Ross, Richard; Rosenthal, Norman; Military Medicine 176: 6 pp. 626-630 (2011)


Gary Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., is a neurologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Hofstra University School of Medicine. Dr. Kaplan received the Albert H. Douglas Award from the Medical Society of the State of New York for outstanding achievements as a clinical teacher interested in promoting and improving the medical education of physicians. He is also a nationally recognized expert on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on stress-related illnesses, and he appears regularly on CNN, NBC and CNBC and other national television programs speaking about the latest research on Transcendental Meditation and its effects on health.

Related posts:

1. Top psychiatrist speaks about the potential of the TM program for treating PTSD
2. Veterans Show a 50% Reduction in PTSD Symptoms After 8 Weeks of Transcendental Meditation
3. Meditating veterans experience reduced PTSD symptoms
4. New study finds TM boosts brain functioning and helps students with ADHD
5. ''Meditation promoted for soldiers suffering from PTSD'' - CNN

© Copyright 2011 Maharishi Foundation USA

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