by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
10 June 2011
Maharishi University of Management faculty member Ken Walton recently presented the research at the 69th annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society held in San Antonio, Texas. The theme of the conference was "Biobehavioral Processes and Health: Understanding Mechanisms, Implementing Interventions."
Dr. Walton presented his finding that excretion of the serotonin metabolite 5-HIAA correlates inversely with scores on tests of anxiety, depression, aggression and impulsiveness.
According to Dr. Walton, serotonin is a neurohormone produced in the brain, in cells lining the intestine, and in other parts of the body. Dr. Walton's interpretation of his finding is that the body's activity of serotonin is diminished in individuals who are experiencing negative mood states.
"This finding is in line with research of others suggesting that serotonin in the brain is involved in producing states of well being and positive mood," Dr. Walton said. "What's most unusual about this is that the measure I used—urinary 5-HIAA excretion—is thought to reflect primarily activity of serotonin cells in the intestine. The implication is that serotonin activity in the intestine may parallel that of the brain in relation to mood states and well being."
The correlations were observed both in people who had practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique long term and in those who had never learned the technique.
However, the Transcendental Meditation practitioners were significantly higher in 5-HIAA and significantly lower in their scores on these negative mood scales, consistent with their expected lower stress level and higher state of well being.
"These findings may have important implications for understanding the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on mental states and well being as well as for understanding the potential role of serotonin in other parts of the body besides the brain," Dr. Walton said.
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