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Transcendental Meditation Reduces ADHD Symptoms Among Students

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  • medit8ionsociety
    This article is from Medical News Today. The position of the Meditation Society of America is that there are many types of meditation merthods that may achieve
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2009
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      This article is from Medical News Today.
      The position of the Meditation Society of America
      is that there are many types of meditation merthods that
      may achieve the same results as the TM method that
      this article mentions (and are vastly less expensive).
      Also, as the article quotes parents who go against
      their physician's advise, we want to mention that we
      believe that you must consult with your physician
      before stopping your child (or yourself) from taking
      prescribed medications. But basically we find the article
      interesting and valuable as the main goal of the
      Meditation Society of America is to see Meditation
      being offerted to all students in every age range.
      -----------------------------------------------------
      Transcendental Meditation Reduces ADHD Symptoms
      Among Students: New Study
      The Transcendental Meditation technique may be
      an effective and safe non-pharmaceutical aid
      for treating ADHD, according to a promising new
      study published this month in the peer-reviewed
      online journal Current Issues in Education.

      The pilot study followed a group of middle school
      students with ADHD who were meditating twice a
      day in school. After three months, researchers
      found over 50 percent reduction in stress and
      anxiety and improvements in ADHD symptoms.

      Effect exceeds expectations

      "The effect was much greater than we expected,"
      said Sarina J. Grosswald, Ed.D., a George Washington
      University-trained cognitive learning specialist
      and lead researcher on the study. "The children
      also showed improvements in attention, working
      memory, organization, and behavior regulation."

      Grosswald said that after the in-school meditation
      routine began, "teachers reported they were able
      to teach more, and students were able to learn
      more because they were less stressed and anxious."

      Stress interferes with the ability to learn

      Prior research shows ADHD children have slower
      brain development and a reduced ability to cope
      with stress. "Stress interferes with the ability
      to learn - it shuts down the brain," said William
      Stixrud, Ph.D., a Silver Spring, Maryland, clinical
      neuropsychologist and co-author of the study.

      "Medication for ADHD is very effective for some
      children, but it is marginally or not effective
      for others. Even for those children who show
      improved symptoms with the medication, the improvement
      is often insufficient or accompanied by troubling
      side effects," Stixrud said. "Virtually everyone
      finds it difficult to pay attention, organize
      themselves and get things done when they're under
      stress. So it stands to reason that the TM technique
      which reduces stress and organizes brain function
      would reduce ADHD symptoms."

      While in some cases a child cannot function without
      medication, there is growing concern about the health
      risks and side effects associated with the common
      ADHD medications, including mood swings, insomnia,
      tics, slowed growth, and heart problems. In 2006 the
      FDA required manufacturers to place warning labels
      on ADHD medications, listing the potential serious
      health risks.

      These high risks and growing concerns are fueling
      parents' search for alternatives that may be safer for
      their kids.

      The study was conducted in a private K-12 school for
      children with language-based learning disabilities.
      Participation was restricted to 10 students, ages
      11-14, who had pre-existing diagnoses of ADHD. About
      half of the students were on medication. The students
      meditated at school in a group for 10 minutes,
      morning and afternoon.

      To determine the influence of the TM technique, at
      the beginning and end of the three-month period,
      parents, teachers and students completed standard
      ADHD assessment inventories measuring stress and
      anxiety, behavior and social competency, and
      executive function. Students were also given a
      battery of performance tests to measure cognitive
      functioning.

      "The results were quite remarkable"

      Andy and Daryl Schoenbach's daughter was diagnosed
      with ADHD in second grade. Like most ADHD children
      she was taking medication. "The medication helped
      but had mixed results - she still lost focus, had
      meltdowns, and the medications affected her sleep
      and appetite," said Andy, who lives with Daryl in
      Washington D.C. "She was not performing close to
      her potential and we didn't see the situation
      improving. So at the end of seventh grade when
      her doctor recommended increasing the medication,
      we decided it was time to take a different course
      - stopping the medication and using Transcendental
      Meditation."

      "The results were quite remarkable," Daryl said.
      "The twice daily meditations smoothed things out,
      gave her perspective, and enabled her to be in
      greater control of her own life when things started
      falling apart. It took some time, but it gradually
      changed the way she handled crises and enabled her
      to feel confident that she could take on greater
      challenges - in her own words, 'climb a mountain.'"

      "Everyone noticed the change," Andy added.

      Grosswald explained that there is substantial
      research showing the effectiveness of the TM
      technique for reducing stress and anxiety, and
      improving cognitive functioning among the general
      population. "What's significant about these new
      findings is that among children who have difficulty
      with focus and attention, we see the same results.
      TM doesn't require concentration, controlling the
      mind or disciplined focus. The fact that these
      children are able to do TM, and do it easily
      shows us that this technique may be particularly
      well suited for children with ADHD," she said.

      This study was funded by the Abramson Family
      Foundation and the Institute for Community Enrichment.

      A second, recently completed TM-ADHD study with
      a control group measured brain function using
      electroencephalography (EEG). Preliminary data
      shows that three months practice of the technique
      resulted in significant positive changes in brain
      functioning during visual-motor skills. Changes
      were specifically seen in the circuitry of the
      brain associated with attention and distractibility.
      After six months TM practice, measurements of
      distractibility moved into the normal range.

      A third TM-ADHD study, to be funded by a $2 million
      grant from the David Lynch Foundation, will more
      fully investigate the effects of the technique on
      ADHD and other learning disorders.

      ----------------------------
      Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
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