January 17, 2022 • ISSUE 606

High-Risk Black Adults

Benefit from TM Practice

Dr. Robert Schneider

The latest NIH-sponsored study led by Dr. Robert Schneider and collaborators at the Medical College of Wisconsin was published in the December 2021 issue of the American Journal of Preventative Cardiology. The study found that the Transcendental Meditation® technique reduces risk for cardiovascular disease and potentially related co-morbidities, such as COVID, in Black adults with high normal blood pressure.

In 2022 Black men and women continue to suffer from disproportionately high rates of death and hospitalization due to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and, over the past two years, COVID. High blood pressure poses the greatest risk for many of these conditions, accounting for 50 percent of the disparities between Black and white adults.
These disparities in cardiovascular health are associated with social determinants of health, including racism, which lead to psychosocial stress. Stress in turn contributes to high blood pressure and inflammation, which predispose to life-threatening diseases.

There was a significantly greater systolic blood pressure reduction in the TM group compared to the health education group for participants with high normal blood pressure

“High blood pressure contributes to severe illness and death from COVID as well as heart attack and stroke,” said Dr. Schneider. “Black Americans who suffer from health inequalities and all at-risk adults would benefit from naturally lowering their BP through the Transcendental Meditation program.”
Although prior studies have shown the benefits of the TM® technique on hypertension in Black Americans, this is the first published clinical trial studying the long-term effects of stress reduction for at-risk individuals with high normal blood pressure, also called pre-hypertension. More than half of Black adults suffer from either pre-hypertension or hypertension.
The study followed 304 Black man and women who were randomized to either the TM program or a health education group. Their blood pressure was measured regularly for up to 36 months.

Co-authors Drs. Komal Marwaha, John Salerno, Carolyn King, Sanford Nidich, and Charles Alexander

The study showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure in the high normal group assigned to practice the TM technique over an average of 20 months. In the normal blood pressure group, there were no significant changes in blood pressure.
These results suggest that the practice of the TM technique in patients with high normal blood pressure can contribute to the prevention of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and related health disparities in high-risk Black populations.
The study was a collaboration between MIU’s College of Integrative Medicine, the Institute for Prevention Research, and the Department of Medicine of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Co-authors of the study were Dr. Komal Marwaha, Dr. John Salerno, Dr. Carolyn King, and Dr. Sanford Nidich. The study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.