Cognitive functions are impaired in Major Depression.
Studies on the effects of Yoga on cognitive functions have shown improvement in memory, vigilance and anxiety levels.
30 patients suffering from Major depression (age 18 to 45 years) were randomly divided into two groups:
Group 1: (10 males and 5 Females) Patients who practiced Sahaj Yoga meditation and also received conventional anti-depressant medication.
Group 2: (9 males and 6 Females) Patients who only received conventional antidepressant medication.
Group 1 patients were administered Sahaj Yoga practice for 8 weeks.
Neuro-cognitive test battery consisting of Letter cancellation test (LCT), Trail making test ‘A’ (TTA), Trail making test ‘B’ (TTB), Ruff figural fluency test (RFFT), Forward digit span (FDS) & Reverse digit span test (RDS) was used to assess following cognitive domains:
Attention span, visuo-motor speed, short-term memory, working memory and executive functions.
After 8 weeks, both Group 1 and Group 2 subjects showed significant improvement in LCT, TTA & TTB but improvement in LCT was more marked in Group 1 subjects.
Also, there was significant improvement in RDS scores in only Group 1 subjects (P < 0.05).
The results thereby, demonstrate that Sahaja Yoga practice in addition to the improvement in various other cognitive domains seen with conventional anti-depressants, can lead to additional improvement in executive functions like manipulation of information in the verbal working memory and added improvement in attention span and visuo-motor speed of the depressives.
1Department of Physiology, Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College, New Delhi. firstname.lastname@example.org