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Yoga: Effect on Attention in Aging & Multiple Sclerosis

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Identifier:
First received: February 2, 2001
Last updated: August 17, 2006
Last verified: August 2006
Changes in visual attention are common among elders and people with multiple sclerosis. The visual attention changes contribute to difficulty with day to day functioning including falls, driving and even finding one's keys on the kitchen counter as well as contributing to deficits in other cognitive domains. Yoga emphasizes the ability to focus attention and there is some evidence that the practice of yoga may improve one's cognitive abilities. Additionally, yoga practice may improve cognitive function through other non-specific means such as improved mood, decreased stress or declines in oxidative injury. We propose a randomized, controlled 6 month phase II trial of yoga in two separate cohorts: healthy elders and subjects with mild multiple sclerosis. We will determine if yoga intervention produces improvements on a broad attentional battery that especially emphasizes attentional control. To further understand the reported beneficial effect of yoga on its practitioners, we will also determine if there is a positive impact on measures directly related to yoga practice (flexibility and balance) as well as mood, quality of life and oxidative injury markers. The yoga intervention consists of a Hatha yoga class meeting twice per week. The class is taught by experienced yoga teachers who are supervised by a nationally known yoga instructor. There are two control groups. An exercise group will have a structured walking program prescribed by a certified Health and Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. The program will attempt to match the Hatha yoga class for metabolic demand. The second control group will be assigned to a 6 month waiting list. The outcome measures are assessed at baseline and after the 6 month period. The primary outcome measures are alertness (quantitative EEG and self-rated scale), ability to focus attention (Stroop) and ability to shift attention (extradimensional set shifting task). Secondary attention outcome measures include the ability to sustain attention (decrement in reaction time) and ability to divide attention (Useful Field of View). Other secondary outcome measures include flexibility, balance, mood, quality of life, fatigue (in MS cohort) and decreased markers of lipid, protein, and DNA oxidative injury.

Condition Intervention Phase
Multiple Sclerosis Procedure: Yoga Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Yoga: Effect on Attention in Aging & Multiple Sclerosis

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):

Study Start Date: September 1999
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2004

Ages Eligible for Study:   65 Years to 85 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with MS who are mildly impaired with an expanded disability status scale of 0-4.0
  • Healthy volunteers
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00010998

United States, Oregon
Oregon Health Sciences University/Neurology
Portland, Oregon, United States, 97201
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: Dr. Barry S. Oken Oregon Health and Science University
  More Information Identifier: NCT00010998     History of Changes
Obsolete Identifiers: NCT00009503
Other Study ID Numbers: P50AT000066-01P3 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
P50AT000066-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: February 2, 2001
Last Updated: August 17, 2006

Keywords provided by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):
Multiple Sclerosis

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Multiple Sclerosis
Pathologic Processes
Demyelinating Autoimmune Diseases, CNS
Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System
Nervous System Diseases
Demyelinating Diseases
Autoimmune Diseases
Immune System Diseases processed this record on August 18, 2017