DA meditation
Sind-krop interventioner (På engelsk: Mind-body interventions (MBIs)) som meditation, yoga og Tai Chi får os ikke blot til at slappe af: de kan modvirke de molekylære reaktioner i vores DNA som skaber dårligt helbred og depression viser et studie fra universiteterne i Coventry og Radbound.

Forskningsresultatet, offentliggjort i journalen Frontiers in Immunology, gennemgår over et årtis studier, der analyserer, hvordan vores geners adfærd påvirkes af MBI'ere herunder mindfulness og yoga.

Eksperter fra universiteterne konkluderer, at når forskningsresultaterne undersøges sammen, viser de 18 studier -- der omfatter 846 deltagere inden for en 11 årig periode -- et mønster i de molekylære ændringer, som finder sted som et resultat af MBI'ere med hensyn til, hvordan disse ændringer gavner vores mentale og fysiske helbred.

Forskerne fokuserer på, hvordan genernes udtryksmåde påvirkes; med andre ord måden som generne aktiveres for at skabe proteiner, som påvirker kroppens, hjernens og immunsystemets biologiske opbygning.

When a person is exposed to a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system (SNS) -- the system responsible for the 'fight-or-flight' response -- is triggered, in turn increasing production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) which regulates how our genes are expressed.

NF-kB translates stress by activating genes to produce proteins called cytokines that cause inflammation at cellular level -- a reaction that is useful as a short-lived fight-or-flight reaction, but if persistent leads to a higher risk of cancer, accelerated aging and psychiatric disorders like depression.

According to the study, however, people who practise MBIs exhibit the opposite effect -- namely a decrease in production of NF-kB and cytokines, leading to a reversal of the pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern and a reduction in the risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.

The study's authors say the inflammatory effect of the fight-or-flight response -- which also serves to temporarily bolster the immune system -- would have played an important role in humankind's hunter-gatherer prehistory, when there was a higher risk of infection from wounds.

In today's society, however, where stress is increasingly psychological and often longer-term, pro-inflammatory gene expression can be persistent and therefore more likely to cause psychiatric and medical problems.

Lead investigator Ivana Buric from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University's Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement said:
"Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.

"These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.

"More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition. But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities."
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Materials provided by Coventry University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Ivana Buric, Miguel Farias, Jonathan Jong, Christopher Mee, Inti A. Brazil. What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind - Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices. Frontiers in Immunology, 2017; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.00670