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Surprising Science

Meditation as Preventative Medicine

Simply being self-aware may prove the best kind of preventative medicine: A new study has found that regular meditation works to reduce instances of death, heart attack and stroke by nearly half.

What’s the Latest Development?

Frequent meditation can offer significant health benefits and help prevent serious conditions from developing later in life, according to new scientific research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. A study that followed 201 African Americans for an average of five years found those who meditated regularly were far more likely to avoid three extremely unwelcome outcomes. Compared to peers participating in a health-education program, meditators were, in that period, 48 percent less likely to die, have a heart attack, or suffer a stroke.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The recent study, conducted at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, trained people in the school’s unique brand of transcendental meditation and measured subsequent health effects. Co-authors of the research sought to study African Americans in part because they “suffer from disproportionately high rates” of mortality due to cardiovascular disease. Other research, which has sought to explain such high rates, has suggested that they are partially a consequence of high stress rates, “the result of living in a society where racial prejudice continues to linger.”

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