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Researchers find Therapeutic Effects of Yoga in Depression

A new research suggests that Yoga in addition to standard antidepressant treatment can bring relief to patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)both clinically and biologically and can also bring about earlier remission.

The research led by Dr. MuralidharanKesavan, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore has assessed the therapeutic effects of Yoga in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) as well as its effect on associated neurobiological underpinnings. This work was supported under the ‘Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM)’Programme of the Department of Science and Technology, GoI and has been published in the ‘The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry’.

Earlier studies conducted at NIMHANS, have shown promising results of Yoga in reducing MDD symptoms, associated stress hormone levels and improving levels of inhibitory neurotransmitter called Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)in the brain as well as autonomic functioning of the brain. In this research, the team assessed the effectiveness of yoga therapy on clinical symptoms of depression and its mechanism of action through assessment of various biomarkers associated. They estimated biomarkers like GABA activity (Transcranial magnetic stimulation -TMS), Blood biomarkers (Immune system abnormalities via Interleukin system), emotional processing & brain activity – functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Autonomic functioning – Heart rate Variability (HRV) on 70 people through 3.5years.

They also found that early intervention of yoga can lead to good outcomes and better prognosisand also effective as monotherapy in mild to moderate depression.Due to the plausible therapeutic role of yoga in enhancing recovery of patients with depression, the same is being considered for routine recommendation in clinical practice for patients with depression in IP & OP services offered at NIMHANS.

Co authors of the work:

Dr. Muralidharan Kesavan, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore

Dr. Gangadhar B. N., Dr. Venkatasubramanian G., Dr. Rose Dawn Bharath, Dr. Sathyaprabha T.N., Dr. Kaviraj Uduppa, Dr. Mariamma Philip, Dr. Monojit from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore and Dr. Sneha J. Karmani. Consultant Psychiatrist, Aditya Birla Hospital, Pune.