Archive Message - 1995

From braintree!!!sun4nl!xs4all!!not-for-mail Thu Oct 19 10:03:45 1995 Path: braintree!!!sun4nl!xs4all!!not-for-mail From: nobody@REPLAY.COM (Anonymous) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Yogi Suprise Date: 18 Oct 1995 00:30:29 +0100 Organization: RePLaY aND CoMPaNY UnLimited Lines: 66 Sender: Message-ID: <461eal$> NNTP-Posting-Host: Content-Type: text Content-Length: 3517 XComm: Replay may or may not approve of the content of this posting XComm: Report misuse of this automated service to <postmaster@REPLAY.COM> Better Living Through Brain Chemistry? Rees, Brian M. JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association November 17, 1989; 262: 2681-2682 To the Editor. -- I read with great interest the article by Dr Wagner (Ref. 1) proposing that "peace through mind/brain science may be an idea whose time has come." An obvious stumbling block is that the perpetrators of violence and belligerent behavior may not be available to be treated medically and/or that the numbers of those treated may not be sufficient to change societal trends. Recent data point to a technology that addresses these issues. The hypothesis is that the practice of transcendental meditation by a small group of individuals can decrease social conflict in a much larger population of persons who are not in any contact with the meditators. One study (Ref. 2) reported the effects of such a group in Jerusalem in 1983. An inverse correlation was shown between the size of the meditating group and war deaths and war intensity in neighboring Lebanon, as well as crimes and violence in Israel. Analysis demonstrated that changes in group size preceded parameter changes, supporting a causal interpretation (ie, dose-response relationship). The number of war deaths dropped an average of more than 70% on days when meditation attendance was high compared with when it was low. A similar study (Ref. 3) showed an inverse relationship between the size of a meditating group and the level of violent crime, both in the Washington, DC, area. More than 6000 American physicians have learned the transcendental meditation technique, and it is common to find people taking up the practice at the suggestion of their physicians. Yet, I am not aware of any positron emission tomography studies in meditators (frontal and occipital cerebral blood flow are known to increase 17% and 20%, respectively). (Ref. 4) Brain chemistry is undoubtedly affected; when large numbers of transcendental meditators gather to meditate, nonmeditators living in the surrounding town show evidence of increased serotonin turnover. (Ref. 5) (Low levels of serotonin have been associated with high levels of aggression.) The Soviet Union has expressed interest in these findings, and in March 1989 the Soviet Ministry of Health embarked on a joint venture to teach transcendental meditation to 1 million Soviet citizens. The fact that such an article could appear in JAMA is illustrative of the change in the manner in which we regard the capability of human consciousness to affect human affairs. Perhaps the meetings of which Dr Wagner writes will serve as a catalyst for mainstream biomedical research. Edited by Drummond Rennie, MD, Deputy Editor (West) and Don Riesenberg, MD, Senior Editor. 1. Wagner HN Jr. Peace through mind/brain science. JAMA. 1989;262:625-626. 2. Orme-Johnson DW, Alexander CN, Davies JL, Chandler HM, Larimore WE. International peace project in the Middle East. J Conflict Resolution. 1988;32:776-812. 3. Dillbeck MC, Banus C, Polanzi C, Landrith G. Test of a field model of consciousness and social change: the TM and TM-Sidhi program and decreased urban crime. J Mind Behav. 1988;9;457-486. 4. Jevning R, Wilson AF, Guich S. Modulation of regional cerebral blood flow by acute states of decreased metabolism in man. Physiol Behav. In Press. 5. Pugh N, Walton KG, Kavanaugh KL. Can time series analysis of serotonin turnover test the theory that consciousness is a field? Soc Neurosci Abstr. 1988;14:372.


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