The following is a summary of “Effectiveness of Yoga Intervention in Reducing Felt Stigma in Adults With Epilepsy: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” published in the November 2023 issue of Neurology by Kaur et al.

Epilepsy patients often face stigma, anxiety, and depression, which can notably impact their quality of life, especially in resource-limited settings.

Researchers conducted a retrospective study with a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test whether yoga and psychoeducation could reduce felt stigma, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and seizure frequency in people with epilepsy compared to sham yoga and psychoeducation.

They conducted an RCT employing sham yoga as a control. Adult patients diagnosed with epilepsy, aged 18-60, scoring above the Kilifi Stigma Scale cut-off for felt stigma, were randomly assigned to either receive yoga therapy plus psychoeducation (intervention) or sham yoga therapy plus psychoeducation (comparator) over three months. The goal was to markedly reduce felt stigma using the Kilifi Stigma Scale compared to the comparator arm. Outcomes (seizure frequency, quality of life, anxiety, depression, mindfulness, trait rumination, cognitive impairment, emotion regulation) were assessed at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Parametric/non-parametric ANCOVA and chi-square tests compared the two arms.

The results showed that in 160 patients with a 6-month follow-up, the intervention arm exhibited a noteworthy decrease in felt stigma compared to the control arm. There were significantly higher odds of >50% seizure reduction and complete seizure remission in the intervention group. The intervention group showed significant improvements in anxiety, cognitive impairment, mindfulness, and quality of life compared to the control group at the end of the follow-up period.

They concluded that yoga may be a valuable tool for helping people with epilepsy feel better about themselves and live fuller lives.