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Meditation May Prevent Heart Disease in Teens

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New research published in “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” shows meditation could decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in teens who are most at risk.

In a study of 62 African American teens with high blood pressure, those who meditated twice a day for 15 minutes had lower left ventricular mass, which is an indicator of future cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Vernon Barnes, a physiologist in the Medical College of Georgia and the Georgia Health Sciences University Institute of Public and Preventive Health. Additionally, the left ventricular mass was measured with two-dimensional echocardiograms before and after the study and the group that meditated showed a significant decrease.

“Increased mass of the heart muscle’s left ventricle is caused by the extra workload on the heart with higher blood pressure. Some of these teens already had higher measures of left ventricular mass because of their elevated blood pressure, which they are likely to maintain into adulthood,” Barnes explained.

Half of the group was trained in transcendental meditation and asked to meditate for 15 minutes with a class and 15 minutes at home for a four-month period, while the other half was given education on how to lower blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease – without meditation.

Furthermore, school records also showed behavior improvements. “Transcendental meditation results in a rest for the body that is often deeper than sleep,” Barnes said. “Statistics indicate that one in every 10 black youths have high blood pressure. If practiced over time, the meditation may reduce the risk of these teens developing cardiovascular disease, in addition to other added health benefits.”

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