Dr. Ornish and colleagues showed that a lifestyle regimen featuring Yoga, meditation, a low-fat vegetarian diet, smoking cessation, and regular exercise could not only stop the progression of CAD, but could actually reverse it. He has acknowledged his debt to Swami Satchidananda for helping him develop this holistic perspective on preventive health. This result was demonstrated in a randomized controlled trial known as the Lifestyle Heart Trial, with data published in the Lancet in 1990, which recruited test subjects with pre-existing coronary artery disease. Not only did patients assigned to the above regimen fare better with respect to cardiac events than those who followed standard medical advice, their coronary atherosclerosis was somewhat reversed, as evidenced by decreased stenosis (narrowing) of the coronary arteries after one year of treatment.
Most patients in the control group, by contrast, had narrower coronary arteries at the end of the trial than the start. Other doctors claim similar results with similar methods, for example: Caldwell B Esselstyn; and K Lance Gould. This discovery was notable not only because it had seemed physiologically implausible, but also because it suggested a cheaper and safer weapon against cardiovascular disease than invasive procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery. Ornish is also a member of the boards of directors of the U.S. United Nations High Commission on Refugees, the Quincy Jones Foundation, and the San Francisco Food Bank.
He is an advisory board member of HealthCorps. He was appointed to The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and elected to the California Academy of Medicine. He has received several awards, including the 1994 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the University of Texas, Austin, the Jan J. Kellermann Memorial Award for distinguished contribution in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention from the International Academy of Cardiology, the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement, a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association, and the Beckmann Medal from the German Society for Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Diseases.
He was recognized as “one of the most interesting people of 1996” by People magazine, featured in the “TIME 100” issue on alternative medicine, and chosen by LIFE magazine as “one of the 50 most influential members of his generation.” Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..