This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
MIND & BRAIN, THE JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY


RESEARCH ARTICLE


ADHD, Brain Functioning, and Transcendental Meditation Practice


Frederick Travis1,2, Sarina Grosswald2 and William Stixrud3 Affiliations: 1Director, Center for the Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, 1000 North 4th Street, Fairfield, IA 52557, USA; 2Maharishi University of Management Research Institute, Maharishi Vedic City, IA 52557, USA and 3Department of Psychiatry, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC 20057, USA


ABSTRACT


This random-assignment pilot study investigated effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) practice on task performance and brain functioning in 18 ADHD students, age 1114 years. Students were pretested, randomly assigned to TM or delayed-start comparison groups, and posttested at 3- and 6-months. Delayed-start students learned TM after the 3-month posttest. Three months TM practice resulted in significant decreases in theta/beta ratios, increased theta coherence, a trend for increased alpha and beta1 coherence, and increased Letter Fluency. The delayed-start group similarly had decreased theta/beta ratios and increased letter fluency at the 6-month posttest, after they practiced TM for 3 months. Also, all students significantly improved on five ADHD-symptoms over the six months of the study, as reported in the parent’s survey. These findings warrant additional research to assess the impact of TM practice as a nondrug treatment of ADHD.


Keywords: ADHD, brain, Transcendental Meditation, coherence, theta/beta ratios, learning disabilities Correspondence: Frederick Travis, PhD, Director, Center for the Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, 1000 North 4th Street, Fairfield, IA


52557, USA. Tel/Fax: 641 472 1209; e-mail: ftravis@mum.edu Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)*character-


ized by inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity*is diagnosed in 8% of children age 417 years.1 Factors associated with increased risk of ADHD include unhealthy maternal lifestyle (drinking and smoking), premature birth and low birth weight, and poor early childhood care.24 Some researchers also theorize that there is a genetic factor associated with ADHD.57 Studies identify imbalances in dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems in ADHD children,8,9 along with developmental abnormalities in fronto-striatal circuits that lead to maladaptive response to environmental challenge. These abnormalities include (1) lower frontal metabolic rates as measured by PET10 and by MRI,11 (2) lower myelination in frontal-striatal circuits,12 and (3) lower cortical volume in left frontal and temporal areas.11,13


The EEG studies report decreased activation in ADHD populations in parietal cross-modal matching areas that weave sensory input into concrete perception,14 higher density and amplitude of theta activity,15,16 and lower density and ampli- tude of alpha and beta activity.17 Theta/beta power ratios are highly correlated with severity of ADHD symptoms.18,19 Normal adolescents exhibited theta/beta ratios from 2.5 to 3.5 in one study20; and 3.0 to 3.5 in another.16 The ADHD populations exhibit theta/beta ratios greater than 5.18,19 In normal adolescents, theta rhythms gradually increase in memory tasks a few seconds before an anticipated response and reach a peak immediately after the response.21,22 During memory tasks, theta EEG is generated in the hippocampus


www.slm-psychiatry.com 73


and is thought to block out irrelevant stimuli during memory processing.23 In ADHD subjects, greater theta activity may block out relevant as well as irrelevant information.


Another brain marker of ADHD is EEG coherence, a measure that reflects the number and strength of connections between different brain areas.24 Adults diagnosed with ADHD are reported to have lower alpha coherence,25,26 and in children diagnosed with ADHD coherence in all frequencies is reported lower.27,28 The brain processes indexed by alpha coherence have an important role in attention and conscious- ness. They coordinate the selection and maintenance of neuronal object representations, which are reflected in beta and gamma activity.29,30 Thus, lower alpha coherence in ADHD populations could document disrupted working memory and attention.


DRUG TREATMENTS OF ADHD


Most drug treatments of ADHD contain methylphenidate or amphetamines that increase dopamine and noradrenalin in the synapse by either increasing the release of neurotrans- mitters or blocking their reuptake. However, up to 30% of ADHD children either do not respond to, or do not tolerate, treatment with stimulants.31,32 Even for children who do respond to medication, often the effect is modest.2 In addition, in some patients drug treatments result in disrup- tions in sleep and appetite and increases in apathy and depression, which significantly affect physiological, cogni- tive, and behavioral functioning.33


M&B 2011; 2:(1). July 2011


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89