Filmed during Mind & Life Institute’s “Mind & Life XIII: Investigating the Mind: The Science and Clinical Applications of Meditation” on November 8-10, 2005.

Session Four – Clinical Research II: Meditation & Physical Health
David S. Sheps
John F. Sheridan

As scientific research establishes that many “physical diseases” are modulated by psychological processes such as stressful life events and emotions, the mechanisms underlying these interactions have been targets for scientific research. As the mechanisms become more well­ understood, the rationale for using meditation as an intervention for certain types of physical illnesses becomes more compelling and more solidly grounded in modern scientific research.

This session will showcase modern research on the application of meditation-based interventions to cardiovascular disease and to diseases that include a primary immune component.

MODERATOR: Esther M. Sternberg

Thupten Jinpa
B. Alan Wallace

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Jan Chozen Bays
Richard J. Davidson
Joan Halifax
Margaret E. Kemeny
David S. Sheps
John F. Sheridan


David Sheps: Mindfulness-based stress reduction and cardiovascular disease

Psychological stress can markedly decrease blood flow to the heart, dramatically elevating the risk of dying. This talk will describe the protocol of an ongoing NIH funded study of the impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on blood flow responses to mental stress in cardiac patients using cardiac imag­ing, and on their quality of life.

John Sheridan: Neural-immune interaction

Various forms of stress affect specific brain systems and through alterations in these circuits, profound changes in immune function can arise. This talk will present an overview of modern research on the impact of different kinds of stress on specific immune processes. The mechanisms through which these effects are pro­duced will be described.

This corpus of research can then be used to consider the mecha­nisms by which meditation may operate to influence diseases of the immune system.


David S. Sheps, MD

University of Florida College of Medicine

John F. Sheridan, PhD

Ohio State University

Esther M. Sternberg, MD

McGill University

Thupten Jinpa, PhD

Compassion Institute

Board Chair

Mind & Life Connections