Modeling the Impact of Transcendental Meditation on Stroke Incidence and Mortality

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2019 Mar;28(3):577-586. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2018.10.039. Epub 2018 Nov 24.


Objectives: Meditation has shown promise in clinical trials in reducing systolic blood pressure, one of the main risk factors for stroke. We aim to estimate the potential benefits of popularizing meditation on stroke incidence and mortality in the United States (U.S.).

Methods: We developed a dynamic population-based microsimulation model to simulate the disease progression of each individual and compute disease burden. We calibrated the microsimulation model for stroke incidence and further validated it by comparing the stroke-related mortality for each age group generated by the model with that observed in the U.S. We used the population simulation model to estimate the effects of meditation intervention on the number of stroke cases and deaths over a course of 15 years.

Results: Our results show that we could avert nearly 200,000 stroke cases and 50,000 stroke-related deaths over the course of 15 years. Our sensitivity analysis reveals that most of the benefits come from applying the intervention for individuals older than 60 years. In addition, meditation acceptance and adherence rate play a critical role in its effectiveness.

Conclusions: The practice of meditation, if properly utilized along with the regular antihypertensive medication, could substantially alleviate the burden of stroke in the U.S. In order to design an effective meditation program, policymakers may prioritize funding to the programs that aim to encourage older individuals to practice meditation.

Keywords: Meditation; medication adherence; microsimulation; stroke incidence; stroke mortality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Pressure
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / mortality*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / mortality*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke / prevention & control*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology