HealthDay News — Yoga has a positive effect on the structure and/or function of various brain regions and networks, including the default mode network, according to research published in Brain Plasticity.

Neha P. Gothe, PhD, from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and colleagues summarized the current knowledge of yoga practice and its documented positive effect for brain structure and function based on imaging studies. A total of 11 studies that examined the impact of yoga practice were reviewed.

The researchers found that yoga practice had a positive effect on the structure and/or function of the hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex, and brain networks. A positive effect was also seen on the default mode network.

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“Studies suggest that yoga practice may have an effect on the functional connectivity of the default mode network, the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex while engaged in cognitive tasks, and the structure of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex — all regions known to show significant age-related changes,” the authors write. “Therefore, behavioral interventions like yoga may hold promise to mitigate age-related and neurodegenerative declines.”

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