Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Transcendental Meditation research barely gets a mention on American Heart Association website

Despite dozens of press and web announcements about a:

"...nine-year, randomized control trial followed 201 African American men and women, average age 59 years, with narrowing of arteries in their hearts who were randomly assigned to either practice the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique or to participate in a control group which received health education classes in traditional risk factors, including dietary modification and exercise."
which was to be presented during the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla., on Nov.16, 2009, the Transcendental Meditation study did not make the Top Scoring Abstracts from Scientific Sessions 2009, nor were the slides of the presentation even posted on the American Heart Association website. And apparently no one has agreed to even publish this research. It's only barely mentioned in the typical list of abstracts that are published with any scientific conference.

This is hardly surprising. The Transcendental Meditation technique has a long history of research labeled "poor" by independent scientists, esp. when it comes to heart health. A recent independent review actually showed that Transcendental Meditation was the worst meditation technique at lowering blood pressure.

Like many TM studies, this recent one by long-time TM meditator and TM advocate, Dr. Robert Schneider, has a poor study design in that it uses controls very poorly, a long-time failing in TM research, especially when it is sponsored or performed by Transcendental Meditation adherents or the organization that sells the pricey Transcendental Meditation technique.

One would hope after decades of research that the Transcendental Meditation researchers would improve their methods and their study designs, like other meditation research (i.e. Christian meditation, Mindfulness and Vipassana meditation). But it appears, as has been stated in independent reviews since the early 1980's, Transcendental Meditation research remains greatly "exaggerated". It is therefore no surprise that Transcendental Meditation failed to make the Top Scoring Abstracts from Scientific Sessions 2009.