Yoga may facilitate neuroplasticity through stress reduction in depressed patients. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Serum cortisol and BDNF in patients with major depression-effect of yoga.
Int Rev Psychiatry. 2016 May 13:1-6. Epub 2016 May 13. PMID: 27174729
G H Naveen
Depression is associated with low serum Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and elevated levels of serum cortisol. Yoga practices have been associated with antidepressant effects, increase in serum BDNF, and reduction in serum cortisol. This study examined the association between serum BDNF and cortisol levels in drug-naïve patients with depression treated with antidepressants, yoga therapy, and both. Fifty-four drug-naïve consenting adult outpatients with Major Depression (32 males) received antidepressants only (n = 16), yoga therapy only (n = 19), or yoga with antidepressants (n = 19). Serum BDNF andcortisol levels were obtained before and after 3 months using a sandwich ELISA method. One-way ANOVA, Chi-square test, and Pearson's correlation tests were used for analysis. The groups were comparable at baseline on most parameters. Significant improvement in depression scores and serum BDNF levels, and reduction in serum cortisol in the yoga groups, have been described in previous reports. A significant negative correlation was observed between change in BDNF (pre-post) and cortisol (pre-post) levels in the yoga-only group (r = -0.59, p = 0.008). In conclusion, yoga may facilitate neuroplasticity through stress reduction in depressed patients. Further studies are needed to confirm the findings and delineate the pathways for these effects.