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BACKGROUND: Yoga is found to be effective in reducing stress levels and radiation-induced DNA damage, and improving the quality of life, in breast cancer patients. The present study was aimed at comparing the apoptotic index (AI) and DNA damage of advanced yoga practitioners with those of breast cancer patients.MATERIALS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional pilot study compared three groups (n = 9 each) of age-matched subjects viz. (1) Carcinoma breast patients in stage II or III undergoing radiation therapy after completing three cycles of chemotherapy; (2) Senior yoga practitioners who were practicing asanas, pranayama and meditation daily for more than 10 years; and (3) Normal healthy volunteers. Peripheral blood lymphocytes were isolated, and qualitative DNA damage (QDD) and AI were evaluated by single-cell gel electrophoresis assay. Approximately 500 cells were counted in each case. Number of cells that were normal, undergoing apoptosis, and with DNA damage were categorized and percentages were calculated. RESULTS: Data being normally distributed, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed significant interaction between groups in AI (P = 0.016) and QDD (P = 0.045). On post-hoc analysis using Scheffe test, AI was significantly lower in non-yoga volunteers as compared with the breast cancer group (P = 0.019) and QDD was significantly lower in yoga practitioners when compared with non-yoga volunteers (P = 0.047). CONCLUSION: Cellular dysfunction (QDD) requires restorative mechanisms (AI) to restore the system to a balance. The results of this pilot study show trends, which indicate that in ill-health, there is inadequate restorative mechanisms (AI) although dysfunction (QDD) is high. Through regular practice of yoga, cellular dysfunction can be lowered, thus necessitating reduced restorative mechanisms. AI and QDD could also be useful indicators for predicting the three zones of health viz. disease, health, and positive health.
CONTEXT AND AIM: Complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) are gaining popularity amongst patients as add on to conventional medicine. Yoga stands third amongst all CAM that is being used by cancer patients today. Different schools of yoga use different sets of practices, with some using a more physical approach and many using meditation and/or breathing. All these modules are developed based on the needs of the patient. This paper is an attempt to provide the basis for a comprehensive need based integrative yoga module for cancer patients at different stages of treatment and follow up. In this paper, the holistic modules of the integrated approach of yoga therapy for cancer (IAYTC) have been developed based on the patient needs, as per the observations by the clinicians and the caregivers. Authors have attempted to systematically create holistic modules of IAYTC for various stages of the disease and treatment. These modules have been used in randomized trials to evaluate its efficacy and have shown to be effective as add-on to conventional management of cancer. Thus, the objective of this effort was to present the theoretical basis and validate the need based holistic yoga modules for cancer patients.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Literature from traditional texts including Vedas, Ayurveda, Upanishads, Bhagavat Gita, Yoga Vasishtha etc. and their commentaries were looked into for references of cancer and therapeutic directives. Present day scientific literature was also explored with regards to defining cancer, its etiopathology and its management. Results of studies done using CAM therapies were also looked at, for salient findings. Focused group discussions (FGD) amongst researchers, experienced gurus, and medical professionals involved in research and clinical cancer practice were carried out with the objectives of determining needs of the patient and yoga practices that could prove efficient. A list of needs at different stages of conventional therapies (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy) was listed and yoga modules were developed accordingly. Considering the needs, expected side effects, the energy levels and the psychological states of the participants, eight modules evolved. RESULTS: The results of the six steps for developing the validated module are reported. Step 1: Literature review from traditional yoga and ayurveda texts on etiopathogenesis and management of cancer (arbuda), and the recent literature on cancer stem cells and immunology of cancer. Step 2: Focused group discussions and deliberations to compile the needs of patients based on the expected side effects, energy levels and the psychological state of the patient as observed by the caregivers and the clinicians. Step 3: Content validation through consensus by the experts for the eight modules of IAYTC that could be used as complimentary to conventional management of cancer at different stages during and after the diagnosis was created. Step 4: Field testing for safety and feasibility of the modules through pilot studies. Step 5: Compilation of the results of efficacy trials through RCTs and step 6: A review of our studies on mechanisms to offer evidence for action of IAYTC on psycho-neuro-immunological pathways in cancer. CONCLUSION: The evidence from the traditional knowledge and recent scientific studies validates eight modules of integrated approach of yoga therapy for cancer that can be used safely and effectively as complimentary during all conventional cancer therapies.
CONTEXT: Breast cancer patients awaiting surgery experience heightened distress that could affect postoperative outcomes.AIMS: The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of yoga intervention on mood states, treatment-related symptoms, quality of life and immune outcomes in breast cancer patients undergoing surgery. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: Ninety-eight recently diagnosed stage II and III breast cancer patients were recruited for a randomized controlled trial comparing the effects of a yoga program with supportive therapy plus exercise rehabilitation on postoperative outcomes following surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subjects were assessed prior to surgery and four weeks thereafter. Psychometric instruments were used to assess self-reported anxiety, depression, treatment-related distress and quality of life. Blood samples were collected for enumeration of T lymphocyte subsets (CD4 %, CD8 % and natural killer (NK) cell % counts) and serum immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA and IgM). STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: We used analysis of covariance to compare interventions postoperatively. RESULTS: Sixty-nine patients contributed data to the current analysis (yoga n = 33, control n = 36). The results suggest a significant decrease in the state (P = 0.04) and trait (P = 0.004) of anxiety, depression (P = 0.01), symptom severity (P = 0.01), distress (P < 0.01) and improvement in quality of life (P = 0.01) in the yoga group as compared to the controls. There was also a significantly lesser decrease in CD 56% (P = 0.02) and lower levels of serum IgA (P = 0.001) in the yoga group as compared to controls following surgery. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest possible benefits for yoga in reducing postoperative distress and preventing immune suppression following surgery.
CONTEXT: Pre- and postoperative distress in breast cancer patients can cause complications and delay recovery from surgery.OBJECTIVE: The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of yoga intervention on postoperative outcomes and wound healing in early operable breast cancer patients undergoing surgery. METHODS: Ninety-eight recently diagnosed stage II and III breast cancer patients were recruited in a randomized controlled trial comparing the effects of a yoga program with supportive therapy and exercise rehabilitation on postoperative outcomes and wound healing following surgery. Subjects were assessed at the baseline prior to surgery and four weeks later. Sociodemographic, clinical and investigative notes were ascertained in the beginning of the study. Blood samples were collected for estimation of plasma cytokines-soluble Interleukin (IL)-2 receptor (IL-2R), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interferon (IFN)-gamma. Postoperative outcomes such as the duration of hospital stay and drain retention, time of suture removal and postoperative complications were ascertained. We used independent samples t test and nonparametric Mann Whitney U tests to compare groups for postoperative outcomes and plasma cytokines. Regression analysis was done to determine predictors for postoperative outcomes. RESULTS: Sixty-nine patients contributed data to the current analysis (yoga: n = 33, control: n = 36). The results suggest a significant decrease in the duration of hospital stay (P = 0.003), days of drain retention (P = 0.001) and days for suture removal (P = 0.03) in the yoga group as compared to the controls. There was also a significant decrease in plasma TNF alpha levels following surgery in the yoga group (P < 0.001), as compared to the controls. Regression analysis on postoperative outcomes showed that the yoga intervention affected the duration of drain retention and hospital stay as well as TNF alpha levels. CONCLUSION: The results suggest possible benefits of yoga in reducing postoperative complications in breast cancer patients.