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Morehead, Paul James
Prevention of cardiovascular disease in Maharishi Ayur-Veda participants: a cross-sectional study of carotid atherosclerosis

Order No. 3374437

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of mortality in developed countries. Previous research on Maharishi Ayur-Veda indicates reduction in cardiovascular risk factors and events, including decreased blood pressure, carotid atherosclerosis and all cause mortality.

Maharishi Ayur-Veda is Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's revival of an ancient system of natural health care and includes mind, body, behavioral and environmental modalities to enliven the field of consciousness at the basis of all physiological functioning.

The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to investigate effects of long-term practice of Maharishi Ayur-Veda in a community setting on carotid artery blockage, blood pressure and serum lipid measures. Possible mediators of carotid blockage were also explored.

One hundred fifty-four adult subjects (n=74 MAV and n=80 controls) were included in this study. The Maharishi Ayur-Veda group included subjects from southeast Iowa who had been practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program for greater than 5 years (mean=27 years). Among other MAV modalities widely practiced were the group practice of the TM-Sidhi program with Yogic Flying, yoga postures (asanas), a breathing exercise (pranayama), herbal supplements, and vegetarian diet. Controls were selected from the Stroke Detection Plus database of southeast Iowa clients.
All subjects were measured on the primary outcome, carotid artery blockage, by modified duplex ultrasound.

Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), controlling for age, gender, body-mass index, family history of cardiovascular disease, smoking and exercise indicated significantly less carotid blockage in the MAV group (0.26 ± .37) compared to controls (0.36 ± .62) (p = 0.01). ANCOVA indicated significant difference between MAV and controls on systolic blood pressure (MAV 118.45 mm Hg ± 13.37, vs. controls 129.70 mm Hg ± 15.52; p=0.01), and HDL cholesterol (MAV 60.60 mg/dL ± 15.09, vs. controls 47.78 mg/dL ± 13.96; p=0.05). Systolic blood pressure was found to be a possible mediator of the effects of treatment on carotid blockage.

The results of this study provide further evidence for the effect of Maharishi Ayur-Veda on CVD risk factors. It is recommended that Maharishi Ayur-Veda, as a comprehensive preventative approach to cardiovascular disease, be incorporated into public health programs.

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