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Yoga goed voor het hart en bij borstkanker.*
Uit twee studies blijkt dat yoga goed is voor mensen met hartproblemen en de kwaliteit van leven van vrouwen met borstkanker sterk kan verbeteren.
Uit de ene studie blijkt dat hartpatiŽnten die twee maanden meededen met een yogaprogramma, opvallend minder last hadden van hun aandoening dan de patiŽnten die alleen medicijnen gebruikten. De yogadeelnemers hadden minder medische problemen en gaven aan tevreden te zijn met de kwaliteit van hun leven. In de andere groep was het tegenovergestelde het geval. Mensen met hartklachten bewegen meestal minder, omdat ze kortademig zijn of pijn op de borst krijgen bij inspanning. Uit dit onderzoek blijkt dat yoga voor hen wel een prettige en veilige vorm van bewegen is. 
In de andere studie deden 128 vrouwen mee aan een cursus yoga voor 12 weken. Gemiddeld deden de vrouwen 7 weken mee. De oefeningen in de cursus waren speciaal gericht op vrouwen met borstkanker. Alle deelneemsters voelden zich duidelijk beter. Hoe vaker deelgenomen werd hoe beter ze zich voelden. 
Yoga found to boost health in heart failure patients
An eight-week regimen of yoga proved safe for patients with chronic heart failure and helped reduce signs of inflammation often linked with death, according to a study.
More than 5 million Americans have chronic heart failure, a long-term condition in which the heart no longer pumps blood efficiently to the body's other organs. Health problems and deaths from the disease remain high despite widespread use of effective drug and device therapies to treat the condition.
Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta who measured the effects of an eight-week yoga regimen on 19 heart failure patients found the exercise routine reduced markers of inflammation associated with heart failure while also improving exercise tolerance and quality of life.
"Many people believe the addition of yoga may be beneficial in cardiac rehabilitation," said the researchers, whose findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association. "Furthermore, it may be that yoga has an impact on the mechanisms of action involved in the progression of heart failure."
The study found significant differences in levels of biological markers in the blood -- interleukin-6, C-reactive protein and extra-cellular superoxide dismutase -- between patients who completed the yoga therapy and those who received standard medical therapy. Patients on yoga therapy completed the regimen without complications.
Patients who did yoga saw a 26 percent decrease in symptoms on a standard assessment that measures quality of life in heart failure patients, compared to a 3 percent decrease for the patients on medical therapy alone.
"Yoga is aerobic. It is not surprising, in terms of its effects on the inflammatory markers," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, who prescribes both yoga and tai chi, a Chinese martial art, to her heart failure and heart attack patients.
Goldberg, a professor of medicine at New York University, said heart failure patients often have trouble with exercise due to fatigue and shortness of breath caused by the heart's reduced pumping ability.
"What's nice is they found not only does it reduce inflammatory markers, but it is a safe form of exercise and it improves the quality of their lives," Goldberg said.
Yoga can give women with breast cancer a boost
Special yoga classes can significantly improve the quality of life and well being of women with breast cancer patients -- particularly those who are not taking chemotherapy -- a new study shows.
A diverse group of low-income women participated in the study, Dr. Alyson B. Moadel of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, noted in an interview with Reuters Health. "Our patients really enjoyed the yoga classes, it was very well received by them," she said. "It really fit in with their own cultural interests."
There is mounting evidence that yoga can improve quality of life in both healthy and chronically ill people, Moadel and her team point out in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, while quality of life may be particularly affected for cancer survivors who belong to ethnic minorities and other underserved minority populations.
To investigate whether yoga could help cancer patients and survivors feel better, the researchers randomly assigned 128 women to a 12-week yoga intervention or a wait list "control" group.
Classes were offered three times a week, and participants were urged to attend at least one class a week, and also instructed to do the exercises at home with the help of an audiotape. The Hatha yoga-based exercises had been developed especially for breast cancer patients by one of the study's authors, and were done while participants were either sitting in a chair or lying down.
During the course of the study, patients in the control group showed greater declines in well being than women in the yoga group. When the researchers omitted patients undergoing chemotherapy from their analysis, they found that the women who did yoga showed improvements in quality of life; greater emotional, social and spiritual well being; and less distress.
People often feel fatigued and sick while undergoing chemo, Moadel noted, which is likely why yoga didn't appear to be helpful for study participants on chemotherapy.
Just 69% of the women in the yoga group actually attended classes, and those who did attended an average of seven during the course of the study. Study participants had many demands to cope with, from medical and health issues to taking care of family members, Moadel noted, which may explain why many didn't make the classes.
Nevertheless, the women who did attend the classes enjoyed them, she added, and the more classes they attended, the more benefit they experienced.
Hospitals and cancer centers are increasingly offering yoga programs to cancer survivors, Moadel said, and interested people should contact local facilities or advocacy groups like the American Cancer Society to find out if there are yoga programs in their area. However, she cautioned that breast cancer survivors should talk with their doctor before starting an exercise program, and should only take classes specifically designed for them.
"I would not recommend a regular yoga class at a studio that is not geared or targeted to someone with cancer, particularly if they are undergoing treatment," Moadel said, noting that breast cancer patients frequently have arm and shoulder problems that could be aggravated by some exercises.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology (
November 2007)



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