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Q:  I would like to learn about the possible effect of meditation on bi-polar disorder and its symptoms.

Dear Ms. S' -- 
Unaware of any literature on this topic, I started with a Google search as you may already have done.  Here's an interesting result, from people who are using meditation as a treatment:
http://remedyfind.com/rm-2886-Meditation.asp ; and this somewhat more measured assessment from a UK chat group on the subject: http://www.bipolaraware.co.uk/forum/archive/index.php/t-532   And these are only the top two links on Google.  Thanks for my opportunity to learn a bit about what's out there. 

And yet, as you may know if you've read anything else of mine, I'd also be interested to know if anyone has studied this using some sort of "control group", which could be a little tricky, as what would the "control group" do while the experimental group was learning or doing meditation -- play Monopoly?  But let's see if there are any reports in the medical literature:  go to Pub Med, enter meditation bipolar disorder.  Result:  "no items found".   

This is a bit surprising, as there are numerous scientific centers studying the physiologic effects of meditation; but it appears that none are studying it in the context of bipolar disorder.  As you probably know, there are many studies indicating clear benefit in terms of physiologic relaxation (lowered blood pressure, even lowered response to pain stimuli).  So it would be easy to assume that there might indeed be some benefit from meditation in bipolar disorder.  I'll bet we'll see a study reported soon.  

Dr. Phelps

Published Jan. 2005


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