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African PTSD study compares evenly matched groups to find effects of Transcendental Meditation
by Global Good News staff writer
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27 April 2013
A 4.5-month-long study on the effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Congolese refugees found dramatic results. The impetus for the African PTSD Relief Project and the study originated with David Shapiro, founding director and president of the project, who explained that 'the research design and results . . . provide scientific evidence for TM as a uniquely rapid and sustainable solution for PTSD.'
How was the study conducted?
Dr Fred Travis, a neuroscientist with years of experience conducting rigorous scientific studies, explained the procedure for the project.
Dr Travis explained that the potential subjects were notified of the introductory talks by word of mouth and were randomly assigned into two groups. One group was to learn Transcendental Meditation, while the other group was a delayed start, which means that they would wait until the end of study and then if they wished they could also learn TM.
Twenty-one people learned Transcendental Meditation and once they started, they continued practising regularly throughout the duration of the study.
Explained Dr Travis, 'We matched those 21 people who learned TM with 21 of the randomly assigned delayed-start control. We matched the individuals on age, on gender, and also on initial scores on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Civilians (PCLC). These people were tested after 30 days of TM practice along with the controls. Then 135 days later, after they had been practising TM for that amount of time, they were tested a second time, both the TM subjects and the controls.'
Before describing the full scope of the results, Dr Travis gave a little more detail on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist.
'It's a 17-item questionnaire with a five point Likert scale which indicates how often you've been bothered by a problem in the last month.'
These problems included repeated disturbing memories, thoughts, or images of a stressful experience from the past and statements like 'I suddenly begin acting or feeling as if a stressful experience was happening again.'
The possible scores on the test range from 17 to 85, with the higher scores indicating more severe PTSD symptoms.
Please see related article: Africa: Transcendental Meditation helps Congolese refugees with PTSD become asymptomatic, in which Dr Travis elaborates on the study's dramatic findings.
Copyright © 2013 Global Good News Service
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