As a practicing Interventional Cardiologist for nearly 20 years, it has become apparent that the tools I learned in my traditional western medical training did not prepare me to adequately address the stress-related problems facing patients with heart disease. In western medicine we often treat patients mechanically, physiologically and with lifestyle advice but do not adequately address those behaviors driving the illness and emotional concerns that arise as a result of the illness.

I now have a tool to unlock and unstick the interior world of the patient that contributes to emotional and stress aspects affecting health. The Big Mind process allows me to explore with patients those factors actually driving the illness and the behaviors leading to illness. Patients no longer have to be “victims” of their life and circumstances which is instrumental in allowing wellness.

I am so amazed by the transformations patients can experience using Big Mind that I am conducting a research study to document these effects.

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2009, it was estimated 1.26 million people suffered new or recurrent heart attacks. Much evidence-based medicine exists regarding appropriate physiologic and mechanical treatment for coronary artery disease(CAD). Stress and emotional states, such as anxiety, have documented effects on the development of CAD, and further adverse effects on health of patients with established CAD. Despite this, there is no standard way to address issues of stress / anxiety in these patients. I have found the Big Mind process a tool that can be applied to patient care to address these important issues.

I am happy to now be offering Big Mind to cardiac patients and am conducting a randomized clinical study in this patient population. The study is called “The Big Mind Process to Reduce Stress in Patients Hospitalized with Coronary Artery Disease.” This study will employ psychometric measures of stress / anxiety and a physiologic correlate of stress to see if patients randomized to the Big Mind group have a decrease in stress / anxiety as compared to the control group.

Study enrollment began August 2011. I look forward to publishing my findings when the study and analysis is complete (in 1-2 years), but in the mean time the study has already attracted interest in the press.

Kamilla Buddemeier, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I.


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