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M.D. calls for research on yoga

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PORTLAND, Ore., Aug 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A researcher who has investigated the growing acceptance of yoga for medical patients is calling for tests to gauge the practice's therapeutic value.

Dr. Dennis Bourdette of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland recently concluded a six-month study on yoga's effect on MS patients, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The study found no evidence to support claims of yoga's ability to curb memory loss among MS patients, a common problem among MS sufferers.

"Do I think that yoga as an isolated therapy for cancer is going to be curative?" he asked. "No. But I do see that it could be used for serious ailments as complementary therapy in addition to whatever the doctors have to offer in terms of medication."

Bourdette believes more research is needed to determine the medical value of yoga.

But he also cautions fellow physicians not to diminish the value of using yoga to simply improve a patient's quality of life.

Said Bourdette: "With any condition, we want to have a favorable impact on a person's quality of life. For many chronic illnesses, we aren't hitting home runs in curing people, and to really maximize the chances of improving the quality of life, it's going to take more than a prescription pad."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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