An innovative approach to reducing medical care utilization and expenditures. (1/249)

In a retrospective study, we assessed the impact on medical utilization and expenditures of a multicomponent prevention program, the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health (MVAH). We compared archival data from Blue Cross/Blue Shield Iowa for MVAH (n = 693) with statewide norms for 1985 through 1995 (n = 600,000) and with a demographically matched control group (n = 4,148) for 1990, 1991, 1994, and 1995. We found that the 4-year total medical expenditures per person in the MVAH group were 59% and 57% lower than those in the norm and control groups, respectively; the 11-year mean was 63% lower than the norm. The MVAH group had lower utilization and expenditures across all age groups and for all disease categories. Hospital admission rates in the control group were 11.4 times higher than those in the MVAH group for cardiovascular disease, 3.3 times higher for cancer, and 6.7 times higher for mental health and substance abuse. The greatest savings were seen among MVAH patients older than age 45, who had 88% fewer total patients days compared with control patients. Our results confirm previous research supporting the effectiveness of MVAH for preventing disease. Our evaluation suggests that MVAH can be safely used as a cost-effective treatment regimen in the managed care setting.  (+info)

Acute effects of transcendental meditation on hemodynamic functioning in middle-aged adults. (2/249)

OBJECTIVE: Increased peripheral vasoconstriction (ie, total peripheral resistance, or TPR) has been implicated as playing an important role in the early development of essential hypertension. Some studies have demonstrated that Transcendental Meditation (TM) reduces high blood pressure, but the hemodynamic adjustments behind these blood pressure reductions have not been elucidated. The aim of this study was to provide a preliminary investigation of the acute effects of TM on TPR. METHODS: Subjects were 32 healthy adults (16 women and 16 men; 30 white and two African American; mean age, 46.4 +/- 3.9 years). Subjects were divided into a TM group of long-term TM practitioners (eight white women, nine white men, and one African American man; mean years of twice-daily TM practice, 22.4 +/- 6.7) and a control group (eight white women, five white men, and one African American man). Hemodynamic functioning was assessed immediately before and during three conditions: 20 minutes of rest with eyes open (all subjects), 20 minutes of TM (TM group), and 20 minutes of eyes-closed relaxation (control group). RESULTS: During eyes-open rest, the TM group had decreases in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and TPR, compared with increases in the control group (SBP: -2.5 vs. +2.4 mm Hg, p < .01; TPR: -0.7 vs. +0.5 mm Hg/liter per minute, p < .004). During TM, there was a greater decrease in SBP due to a concomitantly greater decrease in TPR compared with the control group during eyes-closed relaxation (SBP: -3.0 vs. +2.1 mm Hg, p < .04; TPR: -1.0 vs. +0.3 mm Hg/liter per minute, p < .03). CONCLUSIONS: TPR decreased significantly during TM. Decreases in vasoconstrictive tone during TM may be the hemodynamic mechanism responsible for reduction of high blood pressure over time. The results of this study provide a preliminary contribution to the understanding of the underlying hemodynamic mechanisms responsible for the beneficial influence of TM on cardiovascular risk factors.  (+info)

Effects of stress reduction on carotid atherosclerosis in hypertensive African Americans. (3/249)

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: African Americans suffer disproportionately higher cardiovascular disease mortality rates than do whites. Psychosocial stress influences the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is a valid surrogate measure for coronary atherosclerosis, is a predictor of coronary outcomes and stroke, and is associated with psychosocial stress factors. Stress reduction with the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program decreases coronary heart disease risk factors and cardiovascular mortality in African Americans. B-mode ultrasound is useful for the noninvasive evaluation of carotid atherosclerosis. METHODS: This randomized controlled clinical trial evaluated the effects of the TM program on carotid IMT in hypertensive African American men and women, aged >20 years, over a 6- to 9-month period. From the initially enrolled 138 volunteers, 60 subjects completed pretest and posttest carotid IMT data. The assigned interventions were either the TM program or a health education group. By use of B-mode ultrasound, mean maximum IMT from 6 carotid segments was used to determine pretest and posttest IMT values. Regression analysis and ANCOVA were performed. RESULTS: Age and pretest IMT were found to be predictors of posttest IMT values and were used as covariates. The TM group showed a significant decrease of -0.098 mm (95% CI -0. 198 to 0.003 mm) compared with an increase of 0.054 mm (95% CI -0.05 to 0.158 mm) in the control group (P=0.038, 2-tailed). CONCLUSIONS: Stress reduction with the TM program is associated with reduced carotid atherosclerosis compared with health education in hypertensive African Americans. Further research with this stress-reduction technique is warranted to confirm these preliminary findings.  (+info)

Newer approaches in increasing life span. (4/249)

Based on ideal conditions technical life span of human kind is approximately 110-120 years. Although number of studies including calorie restriction and antiparkinsonism drug (deprenyl) have indicated increased life span in animals, it is premature to expect them to increase life span in man. However, current studies like activation of immune system with DHEA in man and anticipation of antioxidant therapy contributing to increased life span are encouraging. Practice of meditation particularly TM and balanced diet might be contributory.  (+info)

Stress reactivity to and recovery from a standardised exercise bout: a study of 31 runners practising relaxation techniques. (5/249)

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy in runners of two relaxation techniques with regard to exercise reactivity and recovery after exercise. METHODS: Thirty one adult male runners were studied prospectively for six months in three groups practising either meditation (n = 11) or autogenic training (n = 11) or serving as controls (n = 10). Before and after the six months relaxation intervention, indicators of reactivity to exercise and metabolism after exercise (blood lactate concentration, heart rate (HR), and oxygen consumption (VO2)), were tested immediately after and 10 minutes after exercise. Resting HR was also assessed weekly at home during the trial. State anxiety was measured before and after the intervention. RESULTS: After the relaxation training, blood lactate concentration after exercise was significantly (p<0.01) decreased in the meditation group compared with the control group. No difference was observed in lactate responses between the autogenic training group and the control group. There were no significant differences among the groups with regard to HR, VO2, or levels of anxiety. CONCLUSION: Meditation training may reduce the lactate response to a standardised exercise bout.  (+info)

Improvements in chronic diseases with a comprehensive natural medicine approach: a review and case series. (6/249)

Approximately 40% of the US population report using complementary and alternative medicine, including Maharishi Vedic Medicine (MVM), a traditional, comprehensive system of natural medicine, for relief from chronic and other disorders. Although many reports suggest health benefits from individual MVM techniques, reports on integrated holistic approaches are rare. This case series, designed to investigate the effectiveness of an integrated, multimodality MVM program in an ideal clinical setting, describes the outcomes in four patients: one with sarcoidosis; one with Parkinson's disease; a third with renal hypertension; and a fourth with diabetes/essential hypertension/anxiety disorder. Standard symptom reports and objective markers of disease were evaluated before, during, and after the treatment period. Results suggested substantial improvements as indicated by reductions in major signs, symptoms, and use of conventional medications in the four patients during the 3-week in-residence treatment phase and continuing through the home follow-up program.  (+info)

State of complementary and alternative medicine in cardiovascular, lung, and blood research: executive summary of a workshop. (7/249)

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recently cosponsored a workshop on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cardiovascular, lung, and blood research. In view of the increasing use of CAM by the general public, it is imperative to promote credible research by the established biomedical community. The goal of this workshop was to enhance the exchange of information and ideas between alternative medicine practitioners and scientists in cardiovascular, lung, and blood research and to foster collaborative research among these researchers. The workshop focused on 5 areas of research, including a historical and cultural perspective of CAM, methodological issues in clinical trials, herbal medicine, chelation therapy, mind/body (meditation) therapy, and acupuncture. CAM has become widely used without rigorously proven efficacy and safety. To protect the public, it was recommended that the fundamental mechanistic research for these CAM approaches be vigorously pursued and that any large-scale clinical trial be carefully executed to avoid any waste of resources and any unnecessary risk. It was felt that standardization of botanical products and procedure-based CAM intervention, such as acupuncture and meditation, is essential for meaningful basic and clinical research. Although botanical products properly consumed are perceived as generally safe, potential herb-drug interactions are a major safety concern. Clearly, many challenges need to be addressed by the scientific community before the public can be assured of the proper use of CAM.  (+info)

Impact of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure. (8/249)

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the impact of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program on cardiovascular (CV) reactivity in adolescents with high normal BP. METHOD: Thirty-five adolescents [34 African Americans (AAs), 1 Caucasian American (CA); ages 15-18 years] with resting systolic blood pressure (SBP) between the 85th and 95th percentile for their age and gender on three consecutive occasions, were randomly assigned to either TM (n=17) or health education control (CTL, n=18) groups. The TM group engaged in 15-min meditation twice each day for 2 months including sessions during school lunch break. Primary CV outcome measures were changes in blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and cardiac output (CO) at rest and in response to two laboratory stressors, a simulated car driving stressor and an interpersonal social stressor interview. RESULTS: The TM group exhibited greater decreases in resting SBP (P<.03) from pre- to postintervention, compared to the CTL group. The TM group exhibited greater decreases from pre- to postintervention in SBP, HR, and CO reactivity (P's<.03) to the simulated car driving stressor, and in SBP reactivity (P<.03) to the social stressor interview. CONCLUSION: The TM program appears to have a beneficial impact upon CV functioning at rest and during acute laboratory stress in adolescents at-risk for hypertension.  (+info)