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Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2018;36(6):741-753. doi: 10.3233/RNN-180857.

Meditation enhances brain oxygenation, upregulates BDNF and improves quality of life in patients with primary open angle glaucoma: A randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
2
Department of Anatomy, Laboratory for Molecular Reproduction and Genetics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
3
Department of Physiology, Integrated Health Clinic, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
4
Department of Physiology, Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
5
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Glaucoma (POAG) is a kind of neurodegenerative disease known to be closely associated with stress and adverse quality of life (QOL). Stress has also been shown to be involved in etiopathogenesis of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). Complementary treatment in form of Meditation has been reported to improve QOL, brain oxygenation and decrease markers of stress. With this premise, a randomized controlled trial was carried out to assess the effect of Meditation on intraocular pressure, subjective QOL and objective markers of stress and brain oxygenation in patients with POAG.

METHODS:

Sixty patients were randomized into intervention and control groups. Intervention group underwent 45 minutes of Meditation daily for 6 weeks in addition to standard medical treatment while controls received only standard medical treatment. Inclusion criteria were patients with POAG, age >45 years, best corrected visual acuity >6/60. Patients with other ocular co-morbid conditions contributing to vision loss, systemic diseases, patients already practicing meditation in any form were excluded. An assessment of IOP, brain oxygenation using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), QOL (WHO-BREF QOL) and stress markers in serum (cortisol, β-endorphins, interleukin-6, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), reactive oxygen species) was made at baseline and at 6 weeks.

RESULTS:

21 female and 39 male patients were enrolled with a mean age of 57.28±9.37 years. All parameters were comparable between two groups at baseline. At 6 weeks mean level of IOP decreased significantly in intervention group (15.9±1.8 mmHg to 14.4±1.21 mm Hg, p-value 0.0001) as compared to control group (15.7±1.4 mmHg to 15.65±1.41, p-value 0.41). fNIRS showed significant improvement in oxygenated hemoglobin change (ΔHbO) in intervention group in the prefrontal cortex (p-value <  0.0001) as compared to control group (p-value 0.52). WHO-BREF QOL score increased significantly in intervention group (86.6±6.16 to 93.3±5.66, p-value 0.0001) as compared to control (89±7.25 to 89.07±3.24, p-value 0.74).Mean serum cortisol decreased significantly in intervention group (497±46.37 ng/ml to 447±53.78 ng/ml, p-value 0.01) as compared to control group (519.75±24.5 to 522.58±26.63 ng/ml, p-value 0.64). Mean β-endorphin levels increased significantly (33±5.52pg/ml to 43.27pg/ml, p-value <  0.0001) as compared to control group (34.78±4.1pg/ml to 36.33pg±4.07pg/ml p-value 0.27). Interleukin-6 decreased significantly in intervention group (2.2±0.5 ng/ml to 1.35±0.32 ng/ml, p-value <  0.0001) as compared to control group (2.03±0.37 to 2.17±0.34 ng/ml p-value 0.25). BDNF increased significantly in intervention group (52.24±6.71 to 63.25±13.48 ng/ml p-value 0.004) as compared to control group (53.23±5.82 to 54.42±5.66 ng/ml p-value 0.54). ROS decreased significantly in intervention group (1596.19±179.14 to 1261±244.31 RLU/min/104 neutrophils p-value 0.0001) as compared to control group (1577.5±172.02 to 1662.5±84.75 RLU/min/104 neutrophils p-value 0.16).

CONCLUSIONS:

A short term course of Meditation was associated with significant improvement in brain oxygenation and QOL along with a reduction in IOP and stress markers. Meditation may be a useful as an adjunct to standard treatment in patients with POAG and potentially decrease the risk of glaucoma progression.

KEYWORDS:

Glaucoma; brain oxygenation; fNIRS; intraocular pressure; mindfulness meditation; optic nerve head; prefrontal cortex; quality of life; relaxation; stress

PMID:
30400122
DOI:
10.3233/RNN-180857
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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