Cold and Flu : Meditation Can Help Lower Cold-Related Costs

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Health & Medicine Week --

Current study results on Family Medicine have been published. According to news reporting originating from Madison, Wisconsin, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, "Acute respiratory infection (such as a cold) is among the most common, debilitating and expensive human illnesses. The purpose of this study was to assess acute respiratory infection-related costs and determine if mindfulness meditation or exercise can add value."

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the University of Wisconsin, "One hundred and fifty-four adults 50 years from Madison, WI for the 2009-10 cold/flu season were randomized to wait-list control, meditation or moderate intensity exercise. Acute respiratory infection-related costs were assessed through self-reported medication use, number of missed work days and medical visits.

Costs per subject were based on cost of generic medications, missed work days and clinic visits. The total cost per subject for the control group was $214, exercise $136 and meditation $65. The majority of cost savings was through a reduction in missed days of work. Combining these cost benefits with the improved outcomes in incidence, duration and severity seen with the Meditation or Exercise for Preventing Acute Respiratory Infection study, meditation and exercise add value for acute respiratory infection.

Compared with control, meditation had the greatest cost benefit. This savings is offset by the cost of the intervention ($450/subject) that would negate the short-term but perhaps not long-term savings. Meditation and exercise add value to acute respiratory infection-associated health-related costs with improved outcomes."

According to the news editors, the research concluded: "Further research is needed to confirm results and inform policies on adding value to medical spending."

For more information on this research see: Value associated with mindfulness meditation and moderate exercise intervention in acute respiratory infection: The MEPARI Study. Family Practice, 2013;30(4):390-397. Family Practice can be contacted at: Oxford Univ Press, Great Clarendon St, Oxford OX2 6DP, England. (Oxford University Press - www.oup.com/; Family Practice - fampra.oxfordjournals.org)

The news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting D. Rakel, University of Wisconsin, Sch Med & Public Hlth, Dept. of Family Med, Madison, WI 53715, United States. Additional authors for this research include M. Mundt, T. Ewers, L. Fortney, A. Zgierska, M. Gassman and B. Barrett (see also Family Medicine).

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