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Iyengar yoga can promote well-being in women breast cancer survivors

WASHINGTON -- Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of invasive cancer attacking women in the United States. Last year alone some 213,000 women were diagnosed with the disease. The good news is that two million women have survived. Many women with breast cancer seek complementary interventions that will enhance their quality of life. Yet research is lacking whether these programs such as yoga, also benefit immune function.

A new study of breast cancer survivors practicing Iyengar yoga a form of yoga that incorporates all of the components of physical fitness and focuses on structural alignment of the body as well as mental relaxation has found that breast cancer survivors who practice yoga have changes in the way their immune cells respond to activation signals, which may be important for understanding how physical activity and meditative practices benefit the immune system. The function of genes in immune cells can be regulated by proteins called transcription factors. Transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-?B) is linked to immune cell activation and to the stress response.

The study, entitled Down-regulated lymphocyte NF-?B activation in breast cancer survivors following yoga participation, was conducted by Pamela E. Schultz, Mel Haberman, Ph.D., Kenn Daratha, Ph.D., Sally E. Blank, Ph.D., from Washington State University, and Joni Nichols, M.D., from Cancer Care Northwest (US Oncology), in Spokane, WA. They will discuss their findings at the 120th annual meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS; www.the-APS.org), being held as part of the Experimental Biology (EB 07) meeting. More than 12,000 scientists and researchers are attending the conference, being held April 28-May 2, 2007 at the Washington, DC Convention Center.

Methodology

Active practice of Iyengar yoga, named for its creator B.K.S. Iyengar, differs from the gentle restorative practices typicall
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Contact: Donna Krupa
DKrupa@the-APS.org
301-634-7209
American Physiological Society
30-Apr-2007


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