Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NYU Study Assesses Whether Yoga Can Reduce Epileptic Seizures

Date:
August 1, 2001
Source:
NYU Medical Center
Summary:
In a quiet, dark gym, yoga instructor Ramona Shih tells her students to focus on breathing deeply. Her voice is gentle and soothing. At the end of this 90-minute yoga session, a profound sense of peacefulness has descended over the six people taking the class. It would appear to be a regular yoga class, but Ms. Shih's students have epilepsy, and the class is really a novel clinical study at NYU Medical Center's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

In a quiet, dark gym, yoga instructor Ramona Shih tells her students to focus on breathing deeply. Her voice is gentle and soothing. At the end of this 90-minute yoga session, a profound sense of peacefulness has descended over the six people taking the class. It would appear to be a regular yoga class, but Ms. Shih's students have epilepsy, and the class is really a novel clinical study at NYU Medical Center's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

The six-month clinical study is evaluating whether yoga can reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy and improve their emotional well-being. It is based on the observation that alleviating stress can benefit people with chronic seizure disorders, says Steven Pacia, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology at NYU School of Medicine, who is conducting the yoga study.

"Yoga has been clearly shown to reduce stress," says Dr. Pacia. "We are fairly confident that it will improve the quality of life of our epilepsy patients by reducing the number of seizures they experience or by easing their anxiety or both. This will be the first prospective study to assess yoga's effects on epilepsy."

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, more than two million people in the United States have had an unprovoked seizure or have been diagnosed with epilepsy. Epilepsy is like an electrical storm in the brain-the normal pattern of nerve activation is disrupted, causing seizures and other symptoms. Epilepsy may stem from head injuries, complications of other illnesses, genetics, or an unknown cause. Despite advances in medical and surgical treatments for the brain disorder, some 20 percent of patients will continue to experience seizures even with the latest available treatments. Moreover, many people with epilepsy have incapacitating anxiety and depression, which are known to exacerbate seizures.

The yoga classes are held in a gym next door to NYU's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in the Rivergate building on East 34th Street in Manhattan. A physician is on call during each 90-minute class in case of emergencies. The yoga that is taught is a gentle form called hatha, which does not involve strenuous movement. The classes are structured so that the last half-hour is devoted to breathing exercises and meditation. "These yoga classes have helped me enormously in terms of my overall well-being," says Regina Scudellari, who is part of the epilepsy study. "Yoga brings such a sense of peace, which I feel like I can always tap into."

During a recent class, one patient felt like he was having an asthma attack. Ms. Shih, a certified yoga instructor, showed him how to maneuver his body into a relaxation pose, and he soon relaxed. At any point, a person can come into a relaxation pose, she said after the class ended. "Yoga is about connecting the mind and body. Through yoga we try to calm the brain and surrender to the pose. It isn't about competing or about being judged."

The new study is open to patients with epilepsy who experience at least two seizures a month or who suffer anxiety or depression based on standardized surveys. All patients must attend at least two yoga classes each week for up to six months and must receive clearance to participate in the study from their primary care physician. Patients should continue taking medication, maintaining the same dosage levels for the duration of the study, if possible. Patients also are required to keep track of seizures, auras, and any changes in medication during the study.

NYU's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is the largest epilepsy program in the Eastern United States. It offers testing, evaluation, screening, medical and surgical treatment, clinical drug trials, and alternative therapies to children, adolescents, and adults with all forms of epilepsy through inpatient and outpatient programs. The Center's approach includes evaluations by teams of epileptologists, neuropsychologists, neurosurgeons, neurology nurses, and specialized technologists. Each year, more than 5,500 patients are treated at the Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NYU Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NYU Medical Center. "NYU Study Assesses Whether Yoga Can Reduce Epileptic Seizures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010730075528.htm>.
NYU Medical Center. (2001, August 1). NYU Study Assesses Whether Yoga Can Reduce Epileptic Seizures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010730075528.htm
NYU Medical Center. "NYU Study Assesses Whether Yoga Can Reduce Epileptic Seizures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010730075528.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins