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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Yoga for epilepsy

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (83rd percentile)


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Yoga for epilepsy
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd001524.pub3
Pubmed ID

Mariangela Panebianco, Kalpana Sridharan, Sridharan Ramaratnam


This is an updated version of the original Cochrane Review published in the Cochrane Library, Issue 5, 2015.Yoga may induce relaxation and stress reduction, and influence the electroencephalogram and the autonomic nervous system, thereby controlling seizures. Yoga would be an attractive therapeutic option for epilepsy if proved effective. To assess whether people with epilepsy treated with yoga:(a) have a greater probability of becoming seizure free;(b) have a significant reduction in the frequency or duration of seizures, or both; and(c) have a better quality of life. For this update, we searched the Cochrane Epilepsy Group Specialized Register (3 January 2017), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2016, Issue 12) in the Cochrane Library (searched 3 January 2017), MEDLINE (Ovid, 1946 to 3 January 2017), SCOPUS (1823 to 3 January 2017), ClinicalTrials.gov (searched 3 January 2017), the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (searched 3 January 2017), and also registries of the Yoga Biomedical Trust and the Research Council for Complementary Medicine. In addition, we searched the references of all the identified studies. No language restrictions were imposed. The following study designs were eligible for inclusion: randomised controlled trials (RCT) of treatment of epilepsy with yoga. The studies could be double-, single- or unblinded. Eligible participants were adults with uncontrolled epilepsy comparing yoga with no treatment or different behavioural treatments. Two review authors independently assessed the trials for inclusion and extracted data. The following outcomes were assessed: (a) percentage of people rendered seizure free; (b) seizure frequency and duration; (c) quality of life. Analyses were on an intention-to-treat basis. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% Cls) were estimated for the outcomes. We did not identify any new studies for this update, therefore the results are unchanged.For the previous version of the review, the authors found two unblinded trials in people with refractory epilepsy. In total these two studies included 50 people (18 treated with yoga and 32 to control interventions). Antiepileptic drugs were continued in all the participants. Baseline phase lasted three months in both studies and treatment phase from five weeks to six months in the two trials. Randomisation was by roll of a die in one study and using a computerised randomisation table in the other one but neither study provided details of concealment of allocation and were rated as unclear risk of bias. Overall, the two studies were rated as low risk of bias (all participants were included in the analysis; all expected and pre-expected outcomes were reported; no other sources of bias).The overall ORs with 95% CI were as follows: (i) seizure free for six months - for yoga versus sham yoga the OR was 14.54 (95% CI 0.67 to 316.69) and for yoga versus 'no treatment' group it was 17.31 (95% CI 0.80 to 373.45); for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) versus yoga the OR was 1.00 (95% Cl 0.16 to 6.42); (ii) reduction in seizure frequency - the mean difference between yoga versus sham yoga group was -2.10 (95% CI -3.15 to -1.05) and for yoga versus 'no treatment' group it was -1.10 (95% CI -1.80 to -0.40); (iii) more than 50% reduction in seizure frequency - for yoga versus sham yoga group, OR was 81.00 (95% CI 4.36 to 1504.46) and for the yoga versus 'no treatment' group it was 158.33 (95% CI 5.78 to 4335.63); ACT versus yoga OR was 0.78 (95% Cl 0.04 to 14.75); (iv) more than 50% reduction in seizure duration - for yoga versus sham yoga group OR was 45.00 (95% CI 2.01 to 1006.75) and for yoga versus 'no treatment' group it was 53.57 (95% CI 2.42 to 1187.26); ACT versus yoga OR was 0.67 (95% Cl 0.10 to 4.35).In addition in Panjwani 1996 the authors reported that the one-way analysis of variance revealed no statistically significant differences between the three groups. A P-Lambda test taking into account the P values between the three groups also indicated that the duration of epilepsy in the three groups was not comparable. No data were available regarding quality of life. In Lundgren 2008 the authors reported that there was no significant difference between the yoga and ACT groups in seizure-free rates, 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency or seizure duration at one-year follow-up. The yoga group showed significant improvement in their quality of life according to the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) (P < 0.05), while the ACT group had significant improvement in the World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF) scale (P < 0.01).Overall, we assessed the quality of evidence as low; no reliable conclusions can be drawn at present regarding the efficacy of yoga as a treatment for epilepsy. A study of 50 subjects with epilepsy from two trials reveals a possible beneficial effect in control of seizures. Results of the overall efficacy analysis show that yoga treatment was better when compared with no intervention or interventions other than yoga (postural exercises mimicking yoga). There was no difference between yoga and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. However no reliable conclusions can be drawn regarding the efficacy of yoga as a treatment for uncontrolled epilepsy, in view of methodological deficiencies such as limited number of studies, limited number of participants randomised to yoga, lack of blinding and limited data on quality-of-life outcome. Physician blinding would normally be taken to be the person delivering the intervention, whereas we think the 'physician' would in fact be the outcome assessor (who could be blinded), so that would be a reduction in detection bias rather than performance bias. In addition, evidence to inform outcomes is limited and of low quality. Further high-quality research is needed to fully evaluate the efficacy of yoga for refractory epilepsy.Since we did not find any new studies, our conclusions remain unchanged.

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X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 337 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 1 <1%
Unknown 336 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 53 16%
Student > Bachelor 45 13%
Student > Ph. D. Student 35 10%
Researcher 27 8%
Student > Doctoral Student 24 7%
Other 73 22%
Unknown 80 24%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 69 20%
Nursing and Health Professions 39 12%
Psychology 37 11%
Neuroscience 22 7%
Social Sciences 15 4%
Other 57 17%
Unknown 98 29%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 60. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 13 February 2024.
All research outputs
of 25,382,440 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,484 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 330,919 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 200 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,382,440 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 97th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,484 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 39.9. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 330,919 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 200 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its contemporaries.