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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 400-404

Positive therapeutic and neurotropic effects of yoga in depression: A comparative study


1 Department of Psychiatry, Advanced Centre for Yoga, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
J Thirthalli
National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: The research was done under the Advanced Centre for Yoga - Mental Health and Neurosciences, a collaborative centre of NIMHANS and the Morarji Desai Institute of Yoga, New Delhi, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.116313

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Context: Therapeutic effect of yoga in depression is recognized. Neuroplastic effects of antidepressant therapies are inferred by elevations in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Role of yoga in both these effects has not been studied. Materials and Methods: Non-suicidal, consecutive out-patients of depression were offered yoga either alone or with antidepressants. The depression severity was rated on Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) before and at 3 months. Serum BDNF levels were measured at the same time points. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was performed to look at change across groups with respect to HDRS scores and BDNF levels over 3 months of follow-up. Relationship between change in serum BDNF levels and change in HDRS scores was assessed using the Pearson's correlation coefficient. Results: Both yoga groups were better than drugs-only group with respect to reduction in HDRS scores. Serum BDNF rose in the total sample in the 3-month period. This was not, however, different across treatment groups. There was a significant positive correlation between fall in HDRS and rise in serum BDNF levels in yoga-only group (r=0.702; P=0.001), but not in those receiving yoga and antidepressants or antidepressants-alone. Conclusions: Neuroplastic mechanisms may be related to the therapeutic mechanisms of yoga in depression.



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