helps to lower blood pressure
in programs designed to modify behavior, such as anger management
training and transcendental meditation sessions, seems to have
a measurable impact on blood pressure in African Americans, according
to preliminary results of the Health Education and Diet, Stress
Management and Anger Reduction Therapy (HEAD SMART) study.
pressure, at least from the anger management and transcendental
meditation (groups), is being reduced on average by 12 millimeters
mercury (mm Hg) systolic and 7 to 8 millimeters mercury diastolic,"
said Lollis, a professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine in
In this study, the researchers had specially trained certified
health educators, a mental health therapist, and a certified transcendental
meditation (TM) instructor, study co-author Dr. Kofi Kondwani,
administer the various interventions. Study participants spent
13 weekly sessions learning anger management skills, or health
behavior modifications, or TM.
Lollis pointed out that even in the lifestyle modification group,
which was taught about diet and nutrition and other health behaviors
but did not receive anger management or training, blood pressure
was reduced by 8 mm Hg systolic and 6 mm Hg diastolic.
Blood pressure levels are recorded by two numbers, the upper or
systolic and the lower, or diastolic. The upper number measures
the pressure of the heart during a contraction while the lower
number is a reflection of the heart at rest, between beats.
and her colleagues plan to look at the long-term effects of these
techniques, as well. "After 3 months (of the study), we showed
significant effects, but what happens when you don't have the
formal meetings...with the instructor?" she speculated. "Will
the individuals continue to participate in the intervention on
their own or will we start to find compliance drop?"
to whether other diseases may also be affected by these interventions,
Lollis said her team is about "to embark upon (a study) looking
at the effects of TM for reducing atherosclerosis," that is, fatty
plaque formation on artery walls.
we can take these interventions and use them (to prevent disease),"
she commented, "then we can reduce some of the excess burden of
healthcare costs and illness...particularly in African Americans
who are so disproportionately represented among the leading causes
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