Congressman Tim Ryan Announces Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Grant Award for Kent State University and the University of Pennsylvania

Sep 4, 2014 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Ryan announces a grant award of $3.6M from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to Drs. David Fresco and Joel Hughes of Kent State University and Dr. Jeffrey Greeson of the University of Pennsylvania. The grant award will fund a 5-year study called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for High Blood Pressure. This project has been christened as ‘the Serenity Study,’ and will recruit and treat 180 individuals from Northeast Ohio (University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University) and Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania) with un-medicated hypertension to see if life style modification can help keep them off of antihypertensive medication.  

“I am a relentless advocate and proponent of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and have seen positive results in lowering stress and pain levels in both students and adults,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “I am excited about this proposal and congratulate Drs. Fresco, Hughes and Greeson on their hard work in securing this award. Too many of us have lifestyles that involve high levels of stress, which lead to high blood pressure and other health issues. The work of these doctors is a strong step in the direction of healthy living.”

Dr. David Fresco of Kent State University added: "We’ve long known of a simple straight forward way to manage one’s blood pressure.  It involves following a regimen of diet and exercise.  Trouble is, things that are simple are not always easy.  Many of us struggle to follow a healthy lifestyle and stress makes it so much harder.  One thing about our project is that we believe that teaching individuals skills for stress managements, such as mindfulness meditation, may help them deal with stress head on and strengthen their resolve to make a healthy lifestyle a priority in their lives."

To help them in their efforts of living this healthier lifestyle, patients will receive one of two programs designed to help manage stress.  Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a proven stress reduction program that in their prior work has been shown to reduce blood pressure in a smaller trial of patients from NE Ohio.  MBSR will be compared to Stress Management Education (SME) which is also a stress reducing program that attempts to achieve stress management without teaching individuals about meditation.