A possible role for yoga as a complementary therapy for HIV

One of the complications of HIV infection is the loss of complex motor coordination. This can be evaluated using the mirror star-tracing task. There are variations on this test, but essentially the patient traces a star using the outline in a mirror.

Now, a study in 26 healthy people shows that one month of yoga was associated in fewer errors in a modification of the star-tracing task where the star was six pointed with the outline made up of 60 circles (4 mm in diameter).

  • The yoga group showed significant improvement in the number of circles crossed
  • Fewer circles left out for the right hand
  • More circles crossed with the left hand alone in the control group

The investigators concluded. “One month of yoga improved reversal ability, eye-hand co-ordination, speed, and accuracy — which are necessary for mirror star tracing.”

I’m not aware of a study where yoga was used to improve these skills in people with HIV. But it might be worthwhile.

Photo: Your amazing brain

10/22/06 11:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.