The various mechanisms that may explain the association between brain dysfunction and the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome (MS) leading to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes have been reviewed. A Medline search was conducted until September 2003, and articles published in various national and international journals were reviewed. Experts working in the field were also consulted.
Like other complex, multifaceted interventions in medicine, meditation represents a mixture of specific and not-so-specific elements of therapy. However, meditation is somewhat unique in that it is difficult to standardize, quantify, and authenticate for a given sample of research subjects. Thus, it is often challenging to discern its specific effects in order to satisfy the scientific method of causal inferences that underlies evidence-based medicine. Therefore, it is important to consider the key methodological challenges that affect both the design and analysis of meditation research.
When a prominent Australian politician, the then Premier of Tasmania, The Honourable Jim Bacon, publicly announced in February 2004 that he had lung cancer, he was inundated with well-wishing communications sent by post, email and other means. They included 157 items of correspondence recommending a wide variety of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). The most common CAMs recommended were meditation, Chinese medicine, "glyconutrients", juices, Laetrile and various diets and dietary supplements.
Recently, increased attention has been given to meditation-relaxation strategies to improve physical health, reduce pain, enhance immune response, improve emotional well-being, and foster spiritual growth. This article reviews research conducted in the last 25 years about meditation and spirituality, in particular as it relates to the health of the elderly. This review supports the hypothesis that meditation can be taught to the elderly, even those with dementia.
In an earlier article entitled "Meditation may predispose to epilepsy: an insight into the alteration in brain environment induced by meditation" published in Medical Hypotheses 2005:64(3):464-7, the author has hypothesized that meditation exerts predisposing influence on epileptogenesis. The hypothesis is based on certain EEG changes and electrographic features (namely hypersynchrony and coherence of EEG activity) and increase in chemical transmitters (namely glutamate and serotonin) in the brain during the course and attainment of meditation.
European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation: Official Journal of the European Society of Cardiology, Working Groups on Epidemiology & Prevention and Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Physiology
BACKGROUND: Presently, complementary and alternative medicine, including both therapies and herbal/oral supplements, is used globally. Few studies have examined the use of specific therapies, separate from herbal/oral supplements, in cardiac rehabilitation. This paper presents a systematic evaluation of current research evidence related to use of specific complementary and alternative medicine therapies in secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, with a view to making recommendations for cardiac rehabilitation.
Public health literature indicates that psychosocial stress is an important contributor to chronic disease development. However, there is scant research on the health effects of stress for minority groups, who suffer from a high burden of chronic disease. This paper provides a review of studies that examine the relationship between psychosocial stress and chronic disease for 4th world indigenous groups and African Americans. A total of 50 associational and 15 intervention studies fit the inclusion criteria for this review.
BACKGROUND: There is a pressing need for improved end-of-life care. Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may improve the quality of care but few controlled trials have evaluated CAM at the end of life. OBJECTIVES: To determine the strength of evidence for the benefits of touch and mind-body therapies in seriously ill patients. METHODS: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of massage and mind-body therapies. A PubMed search of English language articles was used to identify the relevant studies.
OBJECTIVE: Many Americans use religious activity to cope with stressful life events. Our goal was to review systematically the recent medical literature to assess the role of religion in health outcomes. DATA SOURCES: We conducted a comprehensive literature search using MEDLINE to identify studies published in the English language between January 1999 and June 2003 describing the effect of religion on health outcomes.
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.)
BACKGROUND: Meditative techniques are sought frequently by patients coping with medical and psychological problems. Because of their increasingly widespread appeal and use, and the potential for use as medical therapies, a concise and thorough review of the current state of scientific knowledge of these practices as medical interventions was conducted. PURPOSE: To systematically review the evidence supporting efficacy and safety of meditative practices in treating illnesses, and examine areas warranting further study. Studies on normal healthy populations are not included.