Tai Chi reduces inflammation and insomnia

Background: Insomnia contributes to inflammation in breast cancer survivors. This study evaluates whether insomnia treatment reverses inflammation in breast cancer survivors with insomnia.

Methods: Participants (n = 90) were randomized to 3 months of Tai Chi (n = 45) or cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)(n = 45), and followed for one year post-intervention to 15 month endpoint. Our previous report found that Tai Chi as compared to CBT-I resulted in similar rates of insomnia response and remission over 15 months. Here, we analyze changes in plasma C-reactive protein and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4 stimulated monocyte production of interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF), and cellular pro-inflammatory and anti-viral gene expression (Conserved Transcriptional Response to Adversity RNA profile; CTRA) over 15 months.

Results: Insomnia treatment resulted in decreases in the TLR-4 stimulated monocyte production of IL-6, TNF, and their co-expression, as well as decreases in the CTRA profile, decreases inflammatory gene transcripts, and increases in anti-viral gene transcripts over 15 months (all P’s < 0.01). In addition, as compared to CBT-I, Tai Chi resulted in greater decreases in plasma IL-6 (P < 0.05), and greater decreases in TLR-4 activated monocyte production of IL-6 and co-expression of IL-6 and TNF at 15 month endpoint. CBT-I resulted in greater increases in anti-viral gene transcripts.

Conclusions: Administration of either CBT-I or Tai Chi effectively treats insomnia, and shows additional benefits of reducing cellular, and genomic markers of inflammation, and increasing anti-viral genomic markers in breast cancer survivors with insomnia. Tai Chi, as compared to CBT-I, yields greater and more durable decreases in systemic- and cellular inflammation. Targeting insomnia might mitigate the risk of inflammation-related co-morbidities in breast cancer survivors.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38777285/

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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