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2008| July-December | Volume 1 | Issue 2
October 22, 2008
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Modulation of immune responses in stress by Yoga
Sarika Arora, Jayashree Bhattacharjee
July-December 2008, 1(2):45-55
Stress is a constant factor in today's fastpaced life that can jeopardize our health if left unchecked. It is only in the last half century that the role of stress in every ailment from the common cold to AIDS has been emphasized, and the mechanisms involved in this process have been studied. Stress influences the immune response presumably through the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis, hypothalamic pituitary-gonadal axis, and the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary system. Various neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, hormones, and cytokines mediate these complex bidirectional interactions between the central nervous system (CNS) and the immune system. The effects of stress on the immune responses result in alterations in the number of immune cells and cytokine dysregulation. Various stress management strategies such as meditation, yoga, hypnosis, and muscle relaxation have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological effects of stress in cancers and HIV infection. This review aims to discuss the effect of stress on the immune system and examine how relaxation techniques such as Yoga and meditation could regulate the cytokine levels and hence, the immune responses during stress.
July-December 2008, 1(2):43-44
Investigating paranormal phenomena: Functional brain imaging of telepathy
Ganesan Venkatasubramanian, Peruvumba N Jayakumar, Hongasandra R Nagendra, Dindagur Nagaraja, R Deeptha, Bangalore N Gangadhar
July-December 2008, 1(2):66-71
"Telepathy" is defined as "the communication of impressions of any kind from one mind to another, independently of the recognized channels of sense". Meta-analyses of "ganzfield" studies as well as "card-guessing task" studies provide compelling evidence for the existence of telepathic phenomena. The aim of this study was to elucidate the neural basis of telepathy by examining an individual with this special ability.
Materials and Methods:
Using functional MRI, we examined a famous "mentalist" while he was performing a telepathic task in a 1.5 T scanner. A matched control subject without this special ability was also examined under similar conditions.
The mentalist demonstrated significant activation of the right parahippocampal gyrus after successful performance of a telepathic task. The comparison subject, who did not show any telepathic ability, demonstrated significant activation of the left inferior frontal gyrus.
The findings of this study are suggestive of a limbic basis for telepathy and warrant further systematic research.
A randomized control trial of the effect of yoga on verbal aggressiveness in normal healthy volunteers
Sudheer Deshpande, HR Nagendra, Nagarathna Raghuram
July-December 2008, 1(2):76-82
To study the effect of yoga on verbal aggressiveness in normal healthy adults.
: Of the 1228 persons who attended introductory lectures, 226 subjects of both sexes who satisfied the inclusion and exclusion criteria and who consented to participate in the study were randomly allocated into two groups. These 226 subjects were between the ages of 17 and 62 years and 173/226 completed the eight weeks of intervention. The Yoga (Y) group practised an integrated yoga module that included asanas, pranayama, meditation, notional correction, and devotional sessions. The control group practised mild to moderate physical exercises (PE). Both groups had supervised practices (by trained experts) for one hour daily, six days a week for eight weeks. Verbal Aggressiveness was assessed before and after eight weeks using the self-administered Verbal Aggressive Scale.
: The baseline score of the two groups did not differ significantly (
= 0.66). There was a significant decrease in verbal aggressiveness in the yoga group (
= 0.01 paired samples t-test) with a nonsignificant increase in the PE group. ANCOVA using pre- values as covariates showed a significant difference between the groups (
= 0.013). RMANOVA for interaction between the sexes or age groups in change scores were not significant.
: This study has demonstrated that an eight week intervention of an integrated yoga module decreased verbal aggressiveness in the yoga group (in males and those below 25 years of age), with a nonsignificant increase in the PE group.
Normative data for the letter-cancellation task in school children
Balaram Pradhan, HR Nagendra
July-December 2008, 1(2):72-75
To establish the norms for the letter-cancellation task-a psychomotor performance task.
Materials and Methods:
Eight hundred nineteen school students were selected in the present study in an age range between nine and 16 years (
= 1.78 years). Subjects were assessed once for the cancellation task.
Both age and sex influenced performance on the SLCT; therefore, correction scores were obtained on the basis of these factors.
The availability of Indian normative data for the SLCT will allow wider application of this test in clinical practice.
Nostril dominance at rest associated with performance of a left hemisphere-specific cancellation task
Sasmita Samantaray, Shirley Telles
July-December 2008, 1(2):56-59
An association has been reported between the dominant nostril through which we breathe and the cerebral hemisphere found to be active.
: To understand the association between the nostril dominant at rest and the performance in a cancellation task using verbal information-a left hemisphere task.
Materials and Methods
: Two hundred eighty-nine normal, healthy volunteers attending a one week nonresidential yoga camp were assessed in a single 30 minute period. Nostril dominance was assessed using a standard method. After this, participants were given the letter cancellation task and nostril dominance was again checked. For each participant, the numbers of letters that had been left out and wrongly cancelled as well as total errors were assessed. The Mann-Whitney u test and Chi-Square test were used to assess whether there was a significant difference in cancellation task performance between right and left nostril-dominant persons.
: There was no statistically significant difference between right and left nostril-dominant participants.
: The present results do not support previous findings of contralateral cerebral hemisphere improvement with breathing through a specific nostril.
Planning ability improves in a yogic education system compared to a modern
R Rangan, HR Nagendra, G Ramachandra Bhat
July-December 2008, 1(2):60-0
Planning skills play a key role in higher developmental processes. The Tower of London test not only measures planning skills, but also the ability to execute plans. Yoga practices aim to bring about higher development. Can a Yoga-based education system be shown to meet this challenge?
: This study was aimed at comparing a Modern Education System (MES) with the ancient Yoga-based system of education, the Gurukula Education System (GES), in developing planning skills.
Materials and Methods
: Forty-nine boys with ages ranging from 11 to 13 years were selected from each of two residential schools, one MES and the other GES, providing similar ambience and daily routines. The boys were matched for age and socio-economic status. The GES educational program is based around integrated yoga modules while the MES provides a conventional modern education program. Planning and executive abilities were assessed using the Tower of London test at the start and the end of an academic year.
: Within groups, the pre-post test differences were significant for both groups. However, the between-groups results showed improvement in the GES group compared to the MES group at a
< 0.001 significance level.
: The study suggests that whereas both MES and GES Yoga-based education improve planning and execution skills in school boys, GES is more effective of the two systems.
Exploration of different yogic states for a better understanding of consciousness: An electromagnetic perspective
Ravi Prakash, Shashi Prakash, Om Prakash, Nitin Bhatt
July-December 2008, 1(2):83-84
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