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Int J Yoga. 2019 Jan-Apr;12(1):73-77. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_66_17.

Effect of Yoga Intervention on Short-Term Heart Rate Variability in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology, Dr. ALM PGIBMS, University of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
2
Department of Physiology, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
3
Department of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.
4
Medical Officer, Swabhimaan Trust (Holistic Solutions for Autism), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Abstract

Background:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment in social interactions, communication, restricted, and repetitive behaviors. Evidence-based treatment options for ASD are limited. Yoga is practiced by over 20 million people worldwide, and multiple studies have investigated yoga as a possible effective intervention for children with ASD.

Aim:

The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of yoga intervention on short-term heart rate variability (HRV) in children with ASD.

Methodology:

In this study, 50 children (38 boys and 12 girls) with ASD were recruited from Swabhimaan Trust, Palavakkam, Chennai. They were randomly grouped into ASD with yoga intervention group (n = 25) and ASD without yoga intervention group (n = 25) by simple lottery method. Yoga group children underwent yoga training for 3 months, and the control group did not receive any such training. For short-term HRV, 15 min electrocardiogram recording in sitting posture was recorded in lead II using a simple analog amplifier.

Results:

In HRV, time domain parameters such as mean RR interval (0.72 [0.74] to 0.94 [0.92]), standard deviation of the NN intervals (52.04 [54.23] to 74.48 [72.80]), and root of the mean squared differences of successive NN interval (32.60 [34.40] to 40.83 [42.90]) significantly increased in ASD children after yoga intervention. In frequency-domain parameters, high frequency (HF) in n. u (48.08 [47.24] to 58.37 [59.22]) shows a significant increase and low frequency (LF) in n. u (52.4 [51.82] to 40.51 [40.12]), and LF/HF ratio (1.29 [1.31] to 0.78 [0.79]) shows a significant decrease in ASD with yoga intervention group children after 3 months of yoga training.

Conclusion:

Yoga interventions have been successful in bringing parasympathetic dominance in ASD children, and the greater advantage is being a noninvasive way of intervention to support children with ASD and help them to achieve physiological as well as psychological balance.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; autonomic imbalance; short-term heart rate variability; yoga

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