Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Comparison of Lymphocyte Apoptotic Index and Qualitative DNA Damage in Yoga Practitioners and Breast Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Comparison of Lymphocyte Apoptotic Index and Qualitative DNA Damage in Yoga Practitioners and Breast Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study

Article excerpt

Byline: Amritanshu. Ram, Birendranath. Banerjee, Vadiraja. Hosakote, Raghavendra. Rao, Raghuram. Nagarathna

Background: Yoga is found to be effective in reducing stress levels and radiation-induced DNA damage, and improving the quality of life, in breast cancer patients. The present study was aimed at comparing the apoptotic index (AI) and DNA damage of advanced yoga practitioners with those of breast cancer patients. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional pilot study compared three groups (n = 9 each) of age-matched subjects viz. (1) Carcinoma breast patients in stage II or III undergoing radiation therapy after completing three cycles of chemotherapy; (2) Senior yoga practitioners who were practicing asanas, pranayama and meditation daily for more than 10 years; and (3) Normal healthy volunteers. Peripheral blood lymphocytes were isolated, and qualitative DNA damage (QDD) and AI were evaluated by single-cell gel electrophoresis assay. Approximately 500 cells were counted in each case. Number of cells that were normal, undergoing apoptosis, and with DNA damage were categorized and percentages were calculated. Results: Data being normally distributed, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed significant interaction between groups in AI (P = 0.016) and QDD (P = 0.045). On post-hoc analysis using Scheffe test, AI was significantly lower in non-yoga volunteers as compared with the breast cancer group (P = 0.019) and QDD was significantly lower in yoga practitioners when compared with non-yoga volunteers (P = 0.047). Conclusion: Cellular dysfunction (QDD) requires restorative mechanisms (AI) to restore the system to a balance. The results of this pilot study show trends, which indicate that in ill-health, there is inadequate restorative mechanisms (AI) although dysfunction (QDD) is high. Through regular practice of yoga, cellular dysfunction can be lowered, thus necessitating reduced restorative mechanisms. AI and QDD could also be useful indicators for predicting the three zones of health viz. disease, health, and positive health.

Introduction

Cancer appears to be an ever growing disease and a leading cause of death worldwide. It accounted for 7.4 million deaths (or about 13% of all deaths worldwide) in 2008. [sup][1] There has been a constant increase in the incidence of cancer.World statistics indicate that in India alone 22.2% of women presently suffer from cancer, which is expected to increase to almost 30% in the next 5 years. [sup][2] Research to understand the etiology and eradicate the tumor burden without harming the host has progressed with many success stories that have resulted in cure (in a few cancers), improved longevity and quality life. In spite of these fascinating advances, treatment of cancer is laden with multiple side effects. Some degree of damage to normal healthy tissues is an expected side effect of both chemo- and radiation therapies. Continuing attempts to reduce these effects have had many success stories, although not yet complete. Radiation therapy is associated with known imbalances that result in increased apoptosis [sup][3] and other chromosomal abnormalities. [sup][4]

Apoptosis or programmed cell death in the tissues is a normal phenomenon, which is a very important and inevitable event in the remodeling of tissues during development and aging. [sup][5] It is a crucial process for eliminating cancer cells. [sup][6] Most carcinogens appear to induce tumors by damaging cellular DNA that results in abnormal cells. [sup][7] Apoptosis is one of the protective mechanism by which cells undergo self-suicide in response to DNA damage. Given that faulty DNA repair is associated with an increased incidence of abnormal cells, [sup][7] the processes for repair or destruction of damaged cellular DNA are critical when it comes to defending the body against carcinogens. The studies on liver damage and neoplastic lesions suggest an extremely important role for apoptosis in controlling cancer. …

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