US funds 160K yoga study for schizophrenia

A hospital in New Delhi has received over $160,000 dollars from the U.S. federal government to test yoga as a potential treatment for people with schizophrenia.

The project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is called "The Impact of Yoga Supplementation on Cognitive Function Among Indian Outpatients," and it involves a controlled experiment to see how the mind-body practice of yoga might effect schizophrenia behavior for 21 days. After that, the method will be used for further studies that combine yoga with medication.

Why India?

Since 2010, Dr. Ram Manohar Lahia Hospital in New Delhi, India, has received $50,000 grants every year from the Fogarty International Center. According to the grant, the research is being done in India because the rate of schizophrenia there is twice as high as it is in the United States. It will be lead by post-doctoral scholar, Dr. Triptish Bhatia.

Yoga is one of the tenets of Hinduism, a religion that is practiced by the majority of people in India.

Hope for cognitive impairment?

Since schizophrenia can be characterized by delusions and cognitive impairment, the study aims to see how yoga - a practice that involves quieting the mind and becoming aware of thoughts, emotions and impulses through physical movement, breath and meditation - might improve symptoms.

"The proposed studies may lead to better treatment for schizophrenia using the ancient practice of yoga," the grant states. "Our preliminary studies suggest significant beneficial effects of yoga on cognitive function, which can be severely impaired in schizophrenia. The cognitive impairment is difficult to treat at present using medications."

The grant also argues that yoga has been shown to help healthy individuals improve cognitive function, and that "non-pharmacological interventions are worth considering" when it comes to schizophrenia.

The estimated completion date for the project is July 2015.

Source: CNS News

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