One year later, transcendental meditation study yanked minutes before publication still under review

A paper looking at the use of transcendental meditation to reduce the risk of heart disease, and that was put on hold just 12 minutes before its scheduled publication time, is still under review a year later.

On June 29 of last year, we brought you the news of the highly unusual — if not unprecedented — occurrence at the Archives of Internal Medicine. As we wrote then:

…12 minutes before the embargo lifted on the June 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the following message went out from its press office:

“The editorial office of the Archives of Internal Medicine has made the decision not to publish,  “Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in African Americans,” by Schneider et al, and the accompanying Commentary by Mehta and Bairey Merz that was to post Online First at 3 PM central time today.”

The reason, as the journal and lead author Robert Schneider said then, was that it became necessary to peer review new data in the hours before the paper was scheduled to be published.

We thought we’d check on the status of the paper, since it’s been a year. Schneider tells Retraction Watch that it’s still under review.

Here’s part of what he told us last year:

Given that this study required nine years to conduct, the authors are pleased to take the additional time needed to review all relevant input and make revisions as necessary.

So another year isn’t really all that long in the scheme of things, we suppose — especially in the context of a lifetime search for enlightenment.

You can read more details in CardioBrief’s posts from last year.

Update, 1:45 p.m. Eastern, 7/3/12: Journal editor Rita Redberg tells us:

Thanks for inquiring.  I cannot comment on the paper as it was never published in the Archives and our policy is all manuscripts are confidential until publication.

6 thoughts on “One year later, transcendental meditation study yanked minutes before publication still under review”

      1. The paper was finally published in The American Heart Association’s _Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes_ April of this year:

        and it was cited by the editors of that journal as:

        Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes Editors’ Picks: Most Important Articles Published in 2012
        Circulation Editors’ Picks: Most Read Articles in Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
        Circulation Editors’ Picks: Most Read Articles on the Topic of Secondary Prevention

        And was an important citation that led to the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on alternative hypertension treatments:

        Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association
        Hypertension. 2013;61:1360-1383,

        “The overall evidence supports that TM modestly lowers BP. […] The writing group conferred to TM a Class IIB, Level of Evidence B recommendation in regard to BP-lowering efficacy. TM may be considered in clinical practice to lower BP. Because of many negative studies or mixed results and a paucity of available trials, all other meditation techniques (including MBSR) received a Class III, no benefit, Level of Evidence C recommendation Thus, other meditation techniques are not recommended in clinical practice to lower BP at this time.”

  1. Difficult to know what happened. Sorry to break the sarcastic comment thread, but it could simply be due to politics. Big guy who disagrees with the research finally was able to convince the editors not to publish it. Or it could be that there were real issues with the paper.

    1. See my response to littlegreyrabbit above. A most amusing factoid is that, after all the hype from various people on blogs about what a horrible article it was, not only was it cited quite favorably as I point out to littlegreyrabbit, not a single of the detractors could be bothered to write a comment/letter to the editor about it when it finally WAS published

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