Dr. Travis says that the repeated experience of the Transcendental Meditation technique, in a sense, trains the brain to function in a style opposite that of ADHD.
by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
11 April 2011
A pilot study on students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) published this month in Mind and Brain, The Journal of Psychiatry found improved brain functioning and decreased symptoms as a result of
practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique.
This research, conducted by MUM researcher Fred Travis along with Sarina Grosswald and Bill Stixrud, compared brain waves and ADHD symptoms in children age 11-14 years diagnosed with ADHD. Nine students were randomly assigned to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique right away, and the nine students in the delayed-start control group learned three months later.
The researchers looked at theta/beta power ratios, since higher ratios correlate with the greater severity of ADHD symptoms. They found that the theta/beta power ratios decreased after three months of practice, while the
ratios of the control group increased slightly.
After three months, the delayed-start group also learned the Transcendental Meditation technique, and their theta/beta ratios then showed a decrease after three months of practice. Both groups of students saw a significant 48% decrease.
Dr. Travis said greater theta activity in the brain during tasks in normal individuals suggests that the brain is blocking out irrelevant information so the person can focus on the task. However, in individuals with ADHD, the theta activity is even higher, suggesting that the brain is also blocking out relevant information.
Dr. Travis said that the experience of restful alertness during the Transcendental Meditation technique is associated with higher metabolic activity in the frontal and parietal parts of the brain, indicating alertness, along with decreased metabolic activity in the thalamus, which plays a major role in regulating arousal.
This brain state that characterizes the Transcendental Meditation technique is then also increasingly present outside of meditation: the ADHD students are more capable of attending to tasks—higher attention —with greater rest.
In a sense, Dr. Travis says, the repeated experience of the Transcendental Meditation technique trains the brain to function in a style opposite that of ADHD.
The researchers also found a trend toward greater brain coherence, indicating improved brain function, and decreased ADHD symptoms.
© Copyright 2011 Maharishi University of Management