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Breast cancer patients reduced stress through Transcendental Meditation: Dr Sanford Nidich
by Global Good News staff writer
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2 December 2009
A new study reveals that women with breast cancer experience reduced stress and improved quality of life through regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation Programme. Dr Sanford Nidich, lead author of the study, commented on the research results in a recent report.*
The study, 'A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Transcendental Meditation on Quality of Life in Older Breast Cancer Patients', was published in September in the peer-reviewed journal Integrative Cancer Therapies. It was conducted by the Center for Healthy Aging at Saint Joseph Hospital, in collaboration with the Institute for Health Services, Research and Policy Studies at Northwestern University; the Department of Psychology at Indiana State University; and the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management (M.U.M.), where Dr Nidich is Associate Director.
In the study, 130 female cancer patients—all of them over 55 years old—were assigned either to a group that would practise Transcendental Meditation, or to a 'usual care' control group. The study ran for two years, with an average of 18 months trial period for each patient.
Results revealed a marked improvement of quality of life among patients in the Transcendental Meditation group, while in the usual care group, quality of life decreased. In addition, mental health in patients practising TM increased, as measured by Short Form 36, the most widely used general quality-of-life measuring instrument in medical research.
Other preliminary results of the study assessed mortality among the breast cancer patients. A 42 per cent reduction in mortality was found—a result which, although not statistically significant, is clinically important, said Dr Nidich. He also mentioned that this statistic is consistent with the 49 per cent reduction in mortality rate due to cancer found in a study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Cardiology, by Dr Robert Schneider, Dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health at M.U.M.
'We think that, taken as a whole, this study will be the first of hopefully many studies in the area of cancer, and that Transcendental Meditation Teachers throughout the US and world will begin introducing these benefits to breast cancer patients—both those newly diagnosed and long-term survivors,' Dr Nidich concluded.
He also noted the widespread media coverage of the study, commenting that it was published just before National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) in the US, which brought additional public awareness to the research, especially via online resource centres.
* Dr Nidich's report was featured on the 28 November 2009 Maharishi Global Family Chat, broadcast daily via Internet webcast on the Maharishi Channel, Channel 3. Podcasts of the daily Global Family Chat (audio track) are also available for automatic download, via an RSS feed.
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