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US cancer centre checks out yoga

The M D Anderson Cancer Centre of Texas — one of the foremost cancer research organisations in the world — has tied up with the Ba...

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore |
July 16, 2005

The M D Anderson Cancer Centre of Texas — one of the foremost cancer research organisations in the world — has tied up with the Bangalore-based Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation to study the influence of yoga on breast cancer patients. The project is supported by the US National Cancer Institute.

Both institutions have conducted separate preliminary studies of the effect mind-body interventions have on breast cancer patients.

‘‘The joint study, scheduled to begin this month, will measure the effect of yoga on relapse rates, patient fatigue, sleep patterns, quality of life, stress hormone levels, mental health and immune function,’’ says the head of the Yoga Research Foundation, H R Nagendra.

M D Anderson has also studied the effects of stress and radiotherapy on DNA damage and repair and the role of yoga in controlling this.

The US institution is expected to use advanced technology to measure the physiological effects of yoga. This will include brain imaging technology, which allows researchers to pinpoint specific areas of change in the brain. The collaboration with Anderson follows a presentation by the doctors from the Bangalore Institute of Oncology at the 39th meet of the American Society of Clinical Oncologist.

In that meeting in Chicago, in 2003, the doctors had presented their own findings on the effects of yoga on breast cancer treatment.

‘‘Our three-year-old research has shown that there is a marked improvement on several parameters. The study, which is still on, has yielded one scientific paper. When we presented our findings in the US, doctors showed great interest,’’ says Prof K S Gopinath, surgical oncologist from the Bangalore Institute of Oncology.

The project with M D Anderson is the latest in the Yoga Research Foundation’s worldwide tie-ups.

The Foundation brings its rich expertise in various yoga techniques to the medical research efforts.

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