Yoga therapy for social cognition in schizophrenia
An experimental medicine-based RCT conducted by NIMHANS, Bengaluru has shown that 6 weeks of add-on yoga therapy could improve social cognition in schizophrenics compared to waitlist control subjects.

Researchers compared the change in social cognitive performance in persons with Schizophrenia (PWS) (as per DSM-5), after 6 weeks of yoga intervention with a waitlist control group. They also examined changes in putative Mirror Neuron System (MNS) activity measured by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in a subset of samples.

51 PWS stabilized on antipsychotic medication for at least 6 weeks, were assigned to add-on yoga therapy (YT) or waitlist (WL. Subjects in the YT group received add-on yoga therapy (20 sessions in 6 weeks). Both the groups continued their standard treatment and were assessed at baseline and after 6 weeks for social cognition, clinical symptoms, and social disability.

- RM-ANOVA showed a significant interaction between time and group for social cognition composite score (SCCS); negative symptoms (SANS); positive symptoms (SAPS and social disability (GSDS).

- MNS activity had increased after 6 weeks in both groups but not of statistical significance.

This study demonstrates that 6 weeks of add-on yoga therapy could improve social cognition in PWS compared to waitlist control subjects. However, the change in social cognition was not associated with a change in the putative MNS-activity.

Asian Journal of Psychiatry