What’s This Research About?

It’s widely accepted that yoga is associated with reduced stress and general
improved well being. There have been studies on how yoga affects inflammation
levels but this study wants to get at the mechanism behind it. What is happening
on a molecular level? How does yoga impact inflammation markers and gene expression?

This study examines yoga’s effect on levels of three inflammation markers
(TNF, CRP and IL6) and how it affects DNA methylation of those proteins
(whether they are expressed or not).

TITLE: Preliminary indications of the effect of a brief yoga intervention on markers of inflammation and DNA methylation in chronically stressed women.

ORIGINAL LINK

PUBLICATION: Translational Psychiatry

DATE: November 2016

AUTHORS : Harkess KN, Ryan J, Delfabbro PH, Cohen-Woods S

DNA Methylation: DNA methylation is an epigenetic change that has a role in regulating gene expression and is studied due its potential effects on a wide range of conditions and diseases. Methylation is part of a larger field of science – epigenetics.

DNA methylation occurs when DNA expressions (not the DNA code itself) are altered by epigenetics. Factors such as nutrition, environment, experience, exercise, and aging affect methylation – whether the genes are turned “on” or “off”.

Inflammation: a protective biological response to potentially harmful stimuli. Inflammation is a stage of the biological healing process. It becomes a problem when it becomes chronic.

Cytokines: substances that are secreted by cells of the immune system. They have an effect on other cells. The three cytokines they analyzed in this study were interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor (TNF), and C-reactive protein (CRP). These are some of the inflammation markers that can be measured and analyzed.

Wait-list control: a group of participants included in a study that is assigned to a temporary waiting list that later receives intervention after the active treatment group. It is not an active control group which would receive a placebo treatment. It is not considered to be as reliable as active control groups however it is often used in psychological studies.

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