New Study: Transcendental Meditation Technique Reduces ADHD Symptoms
The Transcendental Meditation® technique may be an effective and safe non-pharmaceutical aid for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) according to a promising new study published earlier this month in the peer-reviewed online journal Current Issues in Education (cie.asu.edu/volume10/number2).
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.
“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.”
Dr. Grosswald said that after the in-school meditation routine began, “teachers said they were able to teach more, and students were able to learn more because they were less stressed and anxious.”
Prior research shows ADHD children have slower brain development and a reduced ability to cope with stress.
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 Transcendental Meditation 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,” said Daryl Schoenbach, mother of one of the students. “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.”
This study was funded by the Abramson Family Foundation and the Institute for Community Enrichment.
Students to Head to South Africa for Travel and Study
The University’s study abroad program is being revived after a hiatus of several years, and the first course being offered will take a group of students to South Africa for four weeks in February and March.
The course will offer a rich blend of travel, study, cultural interchange, safaris, and group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi® program in South Africa.
The course itinerary includes study in Ezemvelo, a pristine, peaceful nature reserve that has recently been donated to the South African organization that teaches the Transcendental Meditation technique. Students will be participating in cultural exchange activities and group program in Ezemvelo and Johannesburg with students of the Maharishi Invincibility Institute.
The course will also include visits to Johannesburg, including Soweto township, the Drakensberg Mountains, and Cape Town. Also planned are six days of safaris at two of South Africa’s premier Big Five game reserves.
The goal of the course, according to instructor Chris Jones, is to familiarize the students with the history, culture, land, and politics of South Africa, and especially with the rich traditions of the region, all of which will be studied in relation to Maharishi’s principles of progress and cultural integrity.
Students will learn about the inspiring educational initiatives that South Africa has taken to bring invincibility to that country and the world, and will see how man and nature can progress in harmony.
A main issue addressed will be how the region can make political and economic progress into the future, while preserving its rich cultural and natural heritage. Special attention will be given to South Africa, where most of the time in the course will be spent, and to a new educational initiative in that country focused on educating the underprivileged and disenfranchised.
Other countries studied will include Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Angola, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Malawi.
The course is also designed to acquaint course participants with the vibrant, warm, and joyful spirit of the indigenous peoples of Africa.
Sustainable Living Center Receives Grant From Kresge Foundation
The internationally renowned Kresge Foundation’s Green Building Initiative recently awarded a $50,000 planning grant for the Sustainable Living Center.
The funds will cover some of the higher costs associated with designing a sustainable building, such as ecological site planning, energy analysis and modeling, and LEED certification.
“Receiving this prestigious grant communicates to other potential funders that we are making a significant contribution to improving our world,” says June Oliver, grant writer for the Sustainable Living Department.
Construction of the off-the-grid Sustainable Living Center, which will provide a home to the rapidly expanding Sustainable Living program, is now underway. The foundation has been completed for the outer walls, the east and west verandas, and the north porch.
In addition, tens of thousands of pressed-earth blocks have been made from soil removed during the construction of the Argiro Student Center. The earth blocks will constitute all the inner walls and the interior part of the exterior wall assembly to form a thermal mass moderating temperature winter and summer.
Depending on the weather, construction will continue over the winter to make the projected completion in fall 2009.
A webcam that gives a view of the construction can be accessed at tinyurl.com/765rx3.
New Track Offers Opportunity to Run Small Farm
A new track in sustainable agriculture slated to start this spring will offer students the opportunity to spend April through September running all aspects of the Abundance Ecovillage Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm: growing crops, collecting payments, planning, harvesting, distribution, composting, and more.
The new CSA track is designed for Sustainable Living students interested in sustainable small-scale food production systems, and will provide them four of six elective courses required for their major.
“The core component of this six-month track is students running a small organic farm,” says Sustainable Living faculty Alex Kachan.
The Abundance Ecovillage CSA program is in its fifth year of operation, growing and delivering a weekly box of high-quality organic vegetables and herbs to subscribers in Abundance Ecovillage, Fairfield, and Maharishi Vedic City. The Ecovillage and its farm are located 1.5 miles north of campus.
“CSAs are considered to be the most economically sustainable and gratifying way to farm, and they are rapidly expending in numbers worldwide,” Mr. Kachan said. “It’s truly a beautiful and wise way to provide people with pure food, while also helping to grow a vibrant local economy and community. Our Students will get firsthand experience in being CSA farmers while using sustainable and holistic methods of agriculture such as the Grow Biointensive and Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture methods.”
Mr. Kachan said that students will not only be more knowledgeable about sustainable food production, but they should even be able to establish and run a sustainable minifarm and make a living out of sustainable agriculture.
“There is a tremendous need and market for this,” he said. “The sorts of opportunities available include teaming up with communities, businesses, and organizations to grow organic produce for their members and employees.”
Demand for such a localized, personal, holistic, small-scale food production has been on the rise for the past 10 years and is only expected to grow.
“As collective consciousness grows, so does people’s environmental and health awareness, and they look for pure food that was grown in a truly sustainable way,” Mr. Kachan said.
The new track will run through block 8 (April), 9, 10, the summer break, Forest Academy, and block 1 (September).
Interested students may contact Mr. Kachan at email@example.com.
Faculty Publish Study on World-Class Performers
By Lee Leffler
A study coauthored by University faculty members on brain integration in world-class athletes and managers is being published in the journal Management Decision, a scholarly journal that features practical applications for business managers, consultants, academics and business students.
Coauthored by Harald Harung, Fred Travis, Dennis Heaton, and Warren Blank, and titled “Higher Development, Brain Integration, and Excellence in Leadership,” the study is based on research conducted by the authors and the late Dr. Charles “Skip” Alexander over the past 15 years.
Dr. Harung, who teaches in Norway, said that this research examined truly successful managers and athletes to determine if they frequently experience higher states of consciousness. The researchers concluded that these top performers did indeed enjoy peak experiences more frequently than their less-successful colleagues, and many also partake in activities such as meditation.
World-class athletes at the Norwegian School of Sport Science (most of whom have gold medals) were compared to average and below-average athletes. The top athletes had twice the brain integration of the controls, and habituated to a loud sound in about one-third the time.
The top managers had significantly more frequent peak experiences than their less successful counterparts. They showed more leadership agility, and development of personality, which are considered leadership qualities. Of the self-actualized top managers, 50% meditate regularly, and 35% meditate irregularly. “Highly developed people in business are very much into self-development,” Dr. Harung said.
The paper also discusses studies on brain integration in practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation technique. The brain integration of the top CEOs and athletes was higher than the brain integration of people who had been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for seven years, but less than the brain integration of people who had practiced it for 21 years.
“These high performers have high-performing brains,” Dr. Harung said. “Top performers have better brain integration; the Transcendental Meditation technique improves brain integration; therefore, any athlete or business person who wants to enhance his or her performance would benefit from practicing the Transcendental Meditation program.”
The researchers are also exploring how higher states of consciousness improve performance, improve quality of life, and create a better world.
“It is wise to show business leaders how important higher development and brain integration are for leadership and well-being,” Dr. Harung said. “They are the people who have the basis for appreciating our message.”
The paper is also being prepublished on www.emeraldinsight.com.
Student Wins Third in Regional Chess Tournament
Competing against 16 of Iowa’s top-rated players, Yonas Kiros, an unrated chess player and a computer student from Ethiopia, secured a two-way tie for third place, winning $35.
“Yonas performed exceptionally well for his first USCF-rated tournament and surprised many of the higher rated and more experienced players,” said faculty member and tournament director, John Salerno. “He was by far the best unrated player in the event.”
The M.U.M. chess club hosted the event in late November in the new Argiro Student Center. It was the club’s first U.S. Chess Federation-rated tournament and offered over $360 in cash prizes among several place and section categories.
The M.U.M. chess club meets every Sunday night at 7:45 p.m. in the north lounge of the Argiro Student Center. Players of all levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) are welcome.
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