January 14, 2019
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Meditation significantly lowers IOP, improves quality of life

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A short course of mindfulness meditation significantly lowered IOP in adults with primary open-angle glaucoma, which correlated with lowered stress-biomarker levels and an improvement in quality of life, according to researchers.

Ninety patients with POAG (180 eyes, 45 years or older) were assigned to a waitlist control or a mindfulness meditation group that practiced for 21 days.

Researchers measured IOP, the primary endpoint, along with quality of life, stress-related serum biomarkers and whole genome expression.

On day 1, patients in the treatment group were introduced to the meditation technique. From days 2 to 21 participants practiced 15 minutes of breathing exercises for relaxation followed by 45 minutes of meditation.

In the 40 participants who completed the meditation course, 30 experienced an IOP reduction greater than 25%. Also, for this group, 109 genes were identified to be significantly and differently expressed post-meditation as compared with the controls, according to researchers.

They found IOP improvement correlated positively with the changes of parameters representing quality of life and relaxation/well-being (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, total antioxidant capacity and endorphin) but negatively with the changes of parameters representing the stress response (cortisol, reactive oxygen species, IL6).

“We showed that meditation significantly lowered IOP, which correlated highly with lowered stress-biomarker levels and a rise of -endorphins, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and total antioxidant capacity which, in turn, correlated with modulation of gene expression profiling,” researchers wrote. – by Abigail Sutton

Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.