(HealthDay News) – Use of the transcendental meditation (TM) stress reduction program correlates with a decrease in the risk of a composite of mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in African-American men and women with coronary heart disease (CHD), according to a study published online Nov. 13 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Robert H. Schneider, MD, from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, and colleagues examined whether psychosocial stress contributes to the disproportionately high rates of cardiovascular disease in African-Americans. Two hundred one African-American men and women with CHD were randomly allocated to the TM program or health education.

Over an average follow-up of 5.4 years, the researchers observed a 48% risk reduction in a composite score of all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, or stroke in the TM group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.52; P=0.025). There was a nonsignificant, 24% risk reduction in the composite of cardiovascular mortality, revascularizations, and cardiovascular hospitalizations (HR, 0.76; P=0.17) in the TM group. The reductions in systolic blood pressure (4.9mmHg) and anger expression were significant. Survival was associated with adherence to the intervention.

“These changes were associated with lower blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors,” the authors write. “Therefore, this practice may be clinically useful in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

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