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Dear ALL, I'll be going to Kripalu, in Stockbridge, MA, in the Berkshires, starting this Tuesday, June 21, leaving Friday, June 24. Kripalu is the largest yoga resort in the Western Hemisphere. Their meals are served buffet style, and are the most CR-friendly that I've seen anywhere. They also have wonderful yoga classes at all levels (Beginner, Gentle, Intermediate and Vigorous -- I always do Intermediate yoga) -- one in the morning, ar 6:30AM, followed by their wonderful breakfast (I usually eat steamed vegetables for breakfast -- they have many cereals, egg dishes, etc., that I avoid at breakfast. Sometimes, they have a tofu dish that I might eat.) Then there are usually two nice sessions -- varying -- in the morning, that I follow by their wonderful lunch --which is interupted by the Kripalu Yoga dance, 12:00-1:00, finish lunch, then, probably, a 2 hour guided hike in the Berkshires, which should be lovely this time of year -- just as it is now here in Rochester, NY, where I live. In the evening, I'll do their Intermediate yoga, go to dinner, and to some evening event (possibly kirtan) -- varying from day to day. If you're there during the same time interval, please introduce yourself -- or, you can contact me directly using a private message -- or by posting to this thread. -- Saul
All, The benefits of yoga has been discussed on various threads lately, so I figured it was time to consolidate the discussions into a single master thread, particularly since there is a new study I wanted to post (see below). First we saw in this thread that yoga beats both walking and a mediterranean diet for CVD risk reduction. Then we saw in this post by Cloud that 12 weeks of yoga reduces inflammatory markers in recovering cancer patients. Now, a new study  (popular press story) found that 12 weeks of yoga beat out the "gold standard" memory training technique in people with mild cognitive impairment. The yoga group had lower depression scores, and improved verbal and visuospatial memory compared with memory training. While the study was small, its effects were pretty impressive, and were accompanied by changes in brain region connectivity as measured by FMRI brain scans. With all this evidence of benefit, it seems like a good idea to start practicing yoga, and consider having the next CR Conference at a yoga center like Saul suggests - maybe Sthira and Saul can teach the rest of us! --Dean ----------  J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Apr 5;52(2):673-84. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150653. Changes in Neural Connectivity and Memory Following a Yoga Intervention for Older Adults: A Pilot Study. Eyre HA(1,)(2), Acevedo B(1), Yang H(1), Siddarth P(1), Van Dyk K(1), Ercoli L(1), Leaver AM(3), Cyr NS(1), Narr K(3), Baune BT(2), Khalsa DS(4), Lavretsky H(1). Author information: (1)Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA. (2)Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. (3)Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, Department of Neurology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA. (4)Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation, Tucson, AZ, USA. BACKGROUND: No study has explored the effect of yoga on cognitive decline and resting-state functional connectivity. OBJECTIVES: This study explored the relationship between performance on memory tests and resting-state functional connectivity before and after a yoga intervention versus active control for subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). METHODS: Participants ( ≥ 55 y) with MCI were randomized to receive a yoga intervention or active "gold-standard" control (i.e., memory enhancement training (MET)) for 12 weeks. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to map correlations between brain networks and memory performance changes over time. Default mode networks (DMN), language and superior parietal networks were chosen as networks of interest to analyze the association with changes in verbal and visuospatial memory performance. RESULTS: Fourteen yoga and 11 MET participants completed the study. The yoga group demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in depression and visuospatial memory. We observed improved verbal memory performance correlated with increased connectivity between the DMN and frontal medial cortex, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, right middle frontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and left lateral occipital cortex. Improved verbal memory performance positively correlated with increased connectivity between the language processing network and the left inferior frontal gyrus. Improved visuospatial memory performance correlated inversely with connectivity between the superior parietal network and the medial parietal cortex. CONCLUSION: Yoga may be as effective as MET in improving functional connectivity in relation to verbal memory performance. These findings should be confirmed in larger prospective studies. PMID: 27060939
Dean Pomerleau posted a topic in General Health and LongevitySthira, you'll love this one  posted by Al Pater (thanks Al!) to the CR email list. It compared various group lifestyle interventions, including yoga, walking, Mediterranean diet and group smoking cessation classes for their effect over the following 10 years on risk of cardiovascular disease. It found: [Y]oga was associated with the largest 10-year cardiovascular disease risk reductions (maximum absolute reduction 16.7% for the highest-risk individuals). Walking generally ranked second (max 11.4%), followed by Mediterranean diet (max 9.2%), and group therapy for smoking (max 1.6%). Of course, the effectiveness of a treatment is dependent on subject compliance and treatment efficacy. That's why smoking cessation treatments were almost completely ineffective - almost nobody quits for very long. The authors acknowledge this, saying: We have presented a rank order of strategies that do not include taking any pills or medication. As such, non-adherence with lifestyle change and other health behaviors, including pill-taking, is of concern and may dilute intervention effects. Our calculations are based on intention to-treat rates from the clinical trials, which incorporate non-adherence. For a current smoker, successfully quitting smoking is the most effective lifestyle change. Smoking cessation is, however, difficult to achieve and group therapy for stopping smoking has only a small probability of success. From an intention-to-treat perspective, if yoga is as effective as reported in currently published meta-analyses, then yoga could be considered among the strongest lifestyle interventions for reducing CVD risk. Too bad they didn't include a dance intervention group. Based on the benefits of dance discussed here, I bet it might have done best of all! --Dean ----------  Comparative Effectiveness of Personalized Lifestyle Management Strategies for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction. Chu P, Pandya A, Salomon JA, Goldie SJ, Hunink MG. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Mar 29;5(3). pii: e002737. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.115.002737. PMID: 27025969 Free Article http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/5/3/e002737.full http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/5/3/e002737.full.pdf+html Abstract BACKGROUND: Evidence shows that healthy diet, exercise, smoking interventions, and stress reduction reduce cardiovascular disease risk. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of these lifestyle interventions for individual risk profiles and determine their rank order in reducing 10-year cardiovascular disease risk. METHODS AND RESULTS: We computed risks using the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Pooled Cohort Equations for a variety of individual profiles. Using published literature on risk factor reductions through diverse lifestyle interventions-group therapy for stopping smoking, Mediterranean diet, aerobic exercise (walking), and yoga-we calculated the risk reduction through each of these interventions to determine the strategy associated with the maximum benefit for each profile. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to test the robustness of the results. In the base-case analysis, yoga was associated with the largest 10-year cardiovascular disease risk reductions (maximum absolute reduction 16.7% for the highest-risk individuals). Walking generally ranked second (max 11.4%), followed by Mediterranean diet (max 9.2%), and group therapy for smoking (max 1.6%). If the individual was a current smoker and successfully quit smoking (ie, achieved complete smoking cessation), then stopping smoking yielded the largest reduction. Probabilistic and 1-way sensitivity analysis confirmed the demonstrated trend. CONCLUSIONS: This study reports the comparative effectiveness of several forms of lifestyle modifications and found smoking cessation and yoga to be the most effective forms of cardiovascular disease prevention. Future research should focus on patient adherence to personalized therapies, cost-effectiveness of these strategies, and the potential for enhanced benefit when interventions are performed simultaneously rather than as single measures. KEYWORDS: cardiovascular risk reduction; comparative effectiveness; lifestyle modification