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Invited Commentary
March 2014

Moving Toward Evidence-Based Complementary Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard Medical School
  • 2Division of General Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):368-369. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.12995
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    1 Comment for this article
    An ax to grind on meditation?
    Charles Pierson, Ph.D. | Western New York Children's Psychiatric Disorder
    Dr. Goroll mistakenly includes meditation in the category of \"Therapies that lie outside the spectrum of traditional, science-based clinical medicine and surgery....\" There are hundreds of studies published each year on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or similar mindfulness meditation interventions. Many of these studies are in the area of the neuroscience of meditation, conducted with our most advanced brain imaging technology. The latest study from Richard Davidson and colleagues at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin shows that meditation can affect gene expression in expert meditators. While it is highly desirable to have better designed and longer-term studies on meditation, as it is for any intervention, it strikes me as an error in judgment to put meditation in the same category as herbal remedies or other alternative approaches that have considerably less research published on their effects. His own commentary acknowledges that meditation is as effective as some other interventions, and without the side effects of pharmacologic treatment. It makes one wonder if Dr. Goroll has an ax to grind.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Dr. Pierson teaches classes in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction