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Effects of an integrated yoga program in modulating perceived stress levels, anxiety, as well as depression levels and radiation-induced DNA damage were studied in 68 breast cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. Two psychological questionnaires--Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)--and DNA damage assay were used in the study. There was a significant decrease in the HADS scores in the yoga intervention group, whereas the control group displayed an increase in these scores. Mean PSS was decreased in the yoga group, whereas the control group did not show any change pre- and postradiotherapy. Radiation-induced DNA damage was significantly elevated in both the yoga and control groups after radiotherapy, but the postradiotherapy DNA damage in the yoga group was slightly less when compared to the control group. An integrated approach of yoga intervention modulates the stress and DNA damage levels in breast cancer patients during radiotherapy.

BACKGROUND: Chronic illness is commonly associated with anxiety and depression. Both anxiety and depression respond to yoga. However, there is no report on the association between the intensity and duration of yoga practice with the benefits seen. AIM: The present study was intended to determine whether the daily duration of yoga practice and the duration of experience in months would predict anxiety and depression, associated with chronic illness. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Seven hundred and sixty-three volunteers with ages between 14 and 86 years (group mean age standard deviation, 50.2 [14.2]) who attended a 7 day residential yoga camp in the north of India were included in this cross-sectional study. All participants had chronic illnesses, which were under control with treatment, and which were categorized and are detailed. Participants were assessed for state anxiety scores using State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and for anxiety with hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS-A), and depression was assessed using HADS-D scores of the HADS. Linear multiple regression analyses were performed using PASW SPSS version 18.0 (Armonk, New York, U.S.) to determine how the daily and monthly duration of yoga practice could influence state anxiety, hospital anxiety and depression of the participants. RESULTS: Yoga practice in months and the time spent practicing yoga each day significantly predict the level of state anxiety (P < 0.001, P = 0.03) and HAD-A (P < 0.01, P < 0.01). The duration of yoga practice in months alone was a significant predictor of the HAD-D (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the duration of yoga practice in months and daily practice in minutes predict anxiety associated with chronic illness. In contrast the duration of yoga practice in months alone, predicted depression scores.

BACKGROUND: Persons living with HIV (PLWH) who also use crack cocaine may have stressful, chaotic lives and typically do not engage in standard medical care that addresses a multitude of extenuating life circumstances. Yoga/meditation (YM) improves quality of life (QOL) and biomarkers of stress, but the effect of this intervention is almost unknown in PLWH, particularly those who use crack cocaine. OBJECTIVES: This pilot study sought to compare the feasibility and acceptability of 60-minute, twice-per-week sessions of YM for 2 months with those of no-contact control and to evaluate the effects of the intervention on QOL (according to the Short Form-36, Perceived Stress Scale [PSS], and Impact of Events Scale [IES]) and salivary cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) among PLWH who use crack cocaine. DESIGN: Participants were randomly assigned to YM or no-contact control and were assessed at baseline, 2 months after the intervention, and 4 months' follow-up. RESULTS: The YM program was acceptable and feasible, with high overall attendance (89%) and individual participation in yoga sessions (83%). YM participants showed modest improvements on QOL. The PSS total score and the IES intrusion score improved significantly 2 months after the intervention, but cortisol and DHEA-S did not change. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study showed a high level of feasibility and acceptability and modest effects on measures of QOL among PLWH who use crack cocaine. The results suggest utility of YM as a simple, safe, and inexpensive format to improve QOL in a population that has many medical difficulties and extenuating stressors.

Stress, both physical and psychological, is attracting increasing attention among neuroresearchers. In the last 20 decades, there has been a surge of interest in the research of stress-induced manifestations and this approach has resulted in the development of more appropriate animal models for stress-associated pathologies and its therapeutic management. These stress models are an easy and convenient method for inducing both psychological and physical stress. To understand the behavioral changes underlying major depression, molecular and cellular studies are required. Dysregulation of the stress system may lead to disturbances in growth and development, and may this may further lead to the development of various other psychiatric disorders. This article reviews the different types of stress and their neurobiology, including the different neurotransmitters affected. There are various complications associated with stress and their management through various pharmacological and non-pharmacological techniques. The use of herbs in the treatment of stress-related problems is practiced in both Indian and Western societies, and it has a vast market in terms of anti-stress medications and treatments. Non-pharmacological techniques such as meditation and yoga are nowadays becoming very popular as a stress-relieving therapy because of their greater effectiveness and no associated side effects. Therefore, this review highlights the changes under stress and stressor and their impact on different animal models in understanding the mechanisms of stress along with their effective and safe management.