Submited on: 22 Sep 2011 06:41:13 AM GMT
Published on: 22 Sep 2011 06:49:56 PM GMT

1 Is the subject of the article within the scope of the subject category? Yes
2 Are the interpretations / conclusions sound and justified by the data? Partly
3 Is this a new and original contribution? No
4 Does this paper exemplify an awareness of other research on the topic? Yes
5 Are structure and length satisfactory? No
6 Can you suggest brief additions or amendments or an introductory statement that will increase the value of this paper for an international audience? Yes
7 Can you suggest any reductions in the paper, or deletions of parts? No
8 Is the quality of the diction satisfactory? Yes
9 Are the illustrations and tables necessary and acceptable? Yes
10 Are the references adequate and are they all necessary? Yes
11 Are the keywords and abstract or summary informative? Yes
  • Other Comments:

    The neuropsychology of meditation has been focus of scientific inquiry during the last couple of decades and ample empirical evidences have been accumulated to demonstrate its beneficial health effects including positive changes at brain level. For example, several studies demonstrate that meditation is associated with increase in alpha and theta frequencies [1-2]

    Based on the earlier findings and models of the neuropsychological effects of meditation, researchers have also tried to explore the effect of meditation on epilepsy. The studies dealing with the effect of meditation on epilepsy has, however, produced mixed results. While some have noted its anti-epileptic effect, others have demonstrated that meditation can increase the susceptibility to epilepsy [2-16]. Apart from inconsistency in findings, most of the studies demonstrating the anti-epileptic effect have failed to use appropriate control and thus leave a scope for questioning the validity of the effect of mediation through neural mediation.

    The present article, perhaps, take into account this gap in the existing literature while proposing the possibility that the anti-epileptic effect of mediation may be observed not because of its neural effects rather by the expectancies developed among the participants about the claimed benefits of the meditation. Such proposition of potential placebo effect of meditation on epilepsy, however, needs further analysis of the existing literature on the neural effects of mediation. For example, several studies have demonstrated changes in brain at structural or anatomical level [17] which are less likely to be produced by the expectancy (or placebo) effect.

    The proposition of the present article, though, is to some extent original in the area of the effect of meditation on epilepsy, the proposition need to be amply justified by citing suitable research findings and making a more elaborate analysis of the findings cited in the paper. The author begins the article by defining the placebo effect and citing studies which demonstrate that placebo may be found as effective as the treatment condition. However, no studies have been cited that demonstrated the general placebo effect of the meditation. There are several studies which demonstrated that placebo may be as effective as mediation or any other treatment modality [18].  After citing few studies demonstrating the negative effect of stress and anxiety on epileptic seizures, the author cites a case study, which observed that meditation exerted anti-epileptic effect from the first day of practice. Based on these observations the author infers that meditation (through its instructions) might have produced anti-anxiety effect and this reduction in anxiety through meditation may be a cause of observed anti-epileptic effect of meditation. However, there are two major caveats to this inference. First, if the meditation exerts anti-epileptic effect by anxiety or stress reduction then it cannot be considered a placebo effect rather it demonstrates that mediation has a real indirect effect on epilepsy through its stress reducing potentiality. Secondly, for drawing this inference there is a need to review and cite literature to support that instructions of meditation (and not the state of meditation per se) has an anti- anxiety or anti-stress effect.

    I feel that a more elaborate analysis and critical evaluation of the studies demonstrating the anti-epileptic effect of mediation, particularly on methodological grounds, and cutting studies that demonstrate the placebo effect of mediation may convincingly support the present proposition of the potential placebo effect of meditation on epilepsy.


    1. Fell J, Axmacher N, Haupt S. From alpha to gamma: electrophysiological correlates of meditation-related states of consciousness. Med. Hypotheses. 2010;75(2):218-224. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    2. Lansky EP, St Louis EK. Transcendental meditation: a double-edged sword in epilepsy? Epilepsy Behav. 2006;9(3):394-400. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    3. Jaseja H. A brief study of a possible relation of epilepsy association with meditation. Med. Hypotheses. 2006;66(5):1036-1037. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    4. Rajesh B, Jayachandran D, Mohandas G, Radhakrishnan K. A pilot study of a yoga meditation protocol for patients with medically refractory epilepsy. J Altern Complement Med. 2006;12(4):367-371. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    5. Jaseja H. Can transcendental meditation exercise a miraculous control over long-standing epilepsy? Med. Hypotheses. 2009;72(1):106. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    6. Nicholson P. Does meditation predispose to epilepsy? EEG studies of expert meditators self-inducing simple partial seizures. Med. Hypotheses. 2006;66(3):674-676. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    7. Barnes VA. EEG, hypometabolism, and ketosis during transcendental meditation indicate it does not increase epilepsy risk. Med. Hypotheses. 2005;65(1):202-203. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    8. Orme-Johnson D. Evidence that the Transcendental Meditation program prevents or decreases diseases of the nervous system and is specifically beneficial for epilepsy. Med. Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):240-246. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    9. St Louis EK, Lansky EP. Meditation and epilepsy: a still hung jury. Med. Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):247-250. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    10. Jaseja H. Meditation and epilepsy: the ongoing debate. Med. Hypotheses. 2007;68(4):916-917. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    11. Jaseja H. Meditation may predispose to epilepsy: an insight into the alteration in brain environment induced by meditation. Med. Hypotheses. 2005;64(3):464-467. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    12. Jaseja H. Meditation potentially capable of increasing susceptibility to epilepsy - a follow-up hypothesis. Med. Hypotheses. 2006;66(5):925-928. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    13. Chalmers R. Transcendental meditation does not predispose to epilepsy. Med. Hypotheses. 2005;65(3):624-625. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    14. Orme-Johnson DW. Transcendental meditation does not predispose to epilepsy. Med. Hypotheses. 2005;65(1):201-202. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    15. Fehr TG. Transcendental meditation may prevent partial epilepsy. Med. Hypotheses. 2006;67(6):1462-1463. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    16. Swinehart R. Two cases support the benefits of transcendental meditation in epilepsy. Med. Hypotheses. 2008;70(5):1070. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    17. Luders E, Toga AW, Lepore N, Gaser C. The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter. Neuroimage. 2009;45(3):672-678. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

    18. Brandon JE, Poppen R. A comparison of behavioral, meditation, and placebo control relaxation training procedures. Health Educ. 1985;16(5):42-46. Available at: Accessed September 25, 2011.

  • Competing interests:
  • Invited by the author to review this article? :
  • Have you previously published on this or a similar topic?:
  • References:
  • Experience and credentials in the specific area of science:

    I started my teaching career as lecturer in the Department of Yoga Psychology, Bihar Yoga Bharti, Munger where I was involved in teaching and research on the psychological aspects of meditation and other yogic practices. I have also done and published research on hemispheric substrates of emotion and emotional deficits. However, I have not conducted studies on either the neuropsychology of meditation or its effect of on epilepsy.

  • How to cite:  Pandey R .Anti-epileptic effect of meditation: Is it a placebo effect?[Review of the article 'Potential Role of Placebo-Effect in the Anti-Epileptic Influence of Meditation in Patients with Epilepsy ' by Jaseja B].WebmedCentral 2011;2(9):WMCRW00968
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Report abuse