research

Welcome to the BNHC's healthy lifestyle research pages. These pages are regularly updated with the latest research news. See below for all items posted to date or else select from yoga, tai chi, qigong, diet, exercise and lifestyle pages. If you are familiar with using RSS feeds, please note the RSS option at the top of the page.



Low-carb diets better at controlling diabetes

Very low-carbohydrate diets, consisting of foods with the lowest-possible glycemic index rating, lead to greater improvement in blood sugar control.

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Dark chocolate may help weight loss

Danish scientists have shown that dark chocolate is far more filling than milk chocolate, lessening subsequent cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

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Diet drinks associated with diabetes

Daily consumption of fizzy diet drinks is associated with significantly greater risks for metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) and type-2 diabetes, according to an observational study carried out in the USA.

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Mediterranean diet prevents chronic diseases

Adherence to a Mediterranean diet can provide protection against major chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, according to a new systematic review and meta-analysis by Italian investigators.

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Fish and birds in childhood prevent eczema

A Swedish cohort study of 4921 infants has found that introducing fish into the children’s diet before nine months of age decreased their likelihood of developing eczema by 24%.

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Dark chocolate in moderation reduces inflammation

Dark chocolate contains high concentrations of flavonoids and may have anti-inflammatory properties.

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Berry compound reduces effects of ageing

A diet rich in antioxidant compounds from berries and grapes has been shown to reverse cognitive decline and improve memory in laboratory animals of advanced age.

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Broccoli could reverse diabetic heart damage

Eating broccoli could reverse diabetes-induced damage to coronary blood vessels, according to a British research team.

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Eating until full and eating quickly triple obesity risk

A combination of eating until full and eating quickly may increase the risk for becoming overweight by three-fold.

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Coffee may help protect against type 2 diabetes

Regular consumption of coffee (and possibly black tea) is associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes according to the results of a cohort study involving 36,908 Singaporean Chinese men and women.

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Coffee may be good

Higher coffee consumption is associated with lower liver cancer risk.

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Soya bad for sperm

Eating soya-based food may lower sperm count and play a role in male infertility, especially in obese men, according to Harvard researchers.

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Red yeast rice good for heart

A large clinical study carried out in China, on patients who had suffered a heart attack, found that an extract of Chinese red yeast rice (hong qu mi) significantly reduced the rate of a second heart attack.

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Vitamin C lowers diabetes risk

A cohort study from the UK has found that higher plasma vitamin C levels are associated with a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes.

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Vegan diet protects rheumatoid arthritis patients from cardiovascular disease

Eating a gluten-free vegan diet could protect rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients against heart attacks and stroke.

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Coffee and tea protect against stroke

Drinking large quantities of coffee or tea every day appears to protect male smokers against stroke.

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Mediterranean diet prevents diabetes

A Mediterranean diet provides significant protection against type 2 diabetes.

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Dash for heart health

Adherence to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke among middle-aged women.

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Almonds promote growth of good bacteria

Tests in a device that simulates the human digestive system have concluded that almonds can act as an effective prebiotic,

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A glass of wine for your liver’s sake

Modest wine consumption, defined as one glass a day, may decrease your chances of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

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Flavonoids protect smokers against cancer

A case-control study of 558 lung cancer cases has found that lung cancer is inversely associated with the consumption of antioxidant plant flavonoids among tobacco smokers, but not among non-smokers.

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Plant foods preserve muscle mass

Western diets rich in protein, cereal grains and other acid-producing foods lead to the development of metabolic acidosis with age, triggering muscle wastage.

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Oats for cholesterol reduction

A review of recent research strongly supports the link between eating oatmeal and lowering cholesterol levels.

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Sweet drinks linked to gout

Consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks and fructose is strongly associated with an increased risk of gout in men.

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Steam your greens

Some cooking methods can preserve, and even boost, the nutrient content of vegetables.

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Honey better than drugs for kids’ night-time coughs

Honey is more effective at soothing children’s night-time coughs than over-the-counter antitussive medication.

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High meat intake linked to cancer

Data from a very large US health study are providing convincing information on the links between various diet and lifestyle factors and a variety of diseases.

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Mediterranean diet and regular exercise prevent death

Eating a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

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Mediterranean diet and regular exercise prevent death

Eating a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Researchers assessed conformity with the Mediterranean diet in 380,296 of the participants of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, with no history of chronic disease.

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Vitamin D protects against heart disease and cancer

Vitamin D deficiency is already known to be associated with osteoporosis, now two new studies suggest that it may also be associated with heart disease and poorer prognosis for some cancers.

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Eat three meals a day

Eating regular meals is better for health than eating one large meal a day.

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Obesity linked with cancer risk

Being overweight increases the risk of developing many forms of cancer.

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Apples and fish during pregnancy protect against atopy

Intake of apples and fish by women during pregnancy may reduce the risk of their children developing atopic conditions, according to the results of a longitudinal cohort study of nearly 2000 Dutch children.

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‘Fruity’ vegetables and fish reduce atopy

Another mother and child study, this time from the Spanish island of Menorca, supports a potential protective effect of ‘fruity’ vegetables and fish intake during childhood on wheeze and atopy respectively.

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Caffeine and miscarriage

Too much caffeine during pregnancy may double the risk of miscarriage.

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Fast for a healthy heart

New research suggests that Mormons' habit of fasting for one day a month may benefit their hearts.

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Diet improves fertility

Following a ‘fertility diet’ may favourably influence fertility in otherwise healthy women.

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Food restriction increases rats’ pleasure

A brain-imaging study of genetically obese rats has added to existing evidence that dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with reward, pleasure, movement and motivation, plays a role in obesity.

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Diet and diabetes

Research into the impact of diet on diabetes is showing that a variety of nutritional interventions can help prevent or ameliorate both forms of the disease, confirming the theories of traditional Chinese medicine.

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Eat less, stay fit

Caloric restriction has previously been shown to extend lifespan in animal models.

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Diet and dementia

A recent article by Canadian authors highlights associations between dietary choices and risk of dementia.

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Refined carbs are bad for the eyes

People who eat more refined carbohydrates have a higher risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the retinal disease that is the leading cause of blindness.

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Coffee may increase hypertension

Coffee drinking seems to increase the risk of requiring antihypertensive drug treatment.

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Yoga helps women with fibromyalgia

A Canadian team has found that an eight-week yoga intervention is associated with improvements in pain, psychological functioning and cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia (FM).

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Yoga boosts anti-anxiety brain chemical

A 12-week yoga intervention results in greater improvements in mood and anxiety than equivalent walking exercise, according to a study from the USA.

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Yoga’s health benefits rival exercise

A review of studies comparing the effects of yoga and exercise indicates that yoga may be as effective as or better than exercise at improving a variety of health-related outcomes.

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Yoga helps with eating disorders

Yoga can reduce eating disorder symptoms in adolescents, according to a study from the USA.

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Yoga improves cancer survivors’ sleep

A brief yoga intervention significantly improves sleep quality for cancer survivors.

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Yoga reduces anxiety

Participation in yoga classes can lead to significant reduction in anxiety in women who suffer from anxiety disorders.

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Yogis have healthier hearts

Heart rate variability, which is indicative of a healthy heart, has been shown to be higher in yoga practitioners than in non-practitioners, according to Indian research.

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Yoga experts show less inflammation and stress

Expert yoga practitioners exhibit lower levels of inflammatory markers compared with novices, possibly due to differences in their responses to stress.

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Yoga good for menopause

The effect of yoga on menopausal symptoms, has been examined by Indian researchers.

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Yoga improves menopausal minds

A study carried out in India has assessed the efficacy of yoga therapy on cognitive abilities in climacteric syndrome.

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Yoga for chronic low back pain

Indian researchers have compared the effect of a short-term intensive residential yoga program with physical exercise (control) on pain and spinal flexibility in subjects with chronic low-back pain (CLBP).

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Yoga beneficial for heart failure

An eight-week regimen of yoga, in addition to standard medical therapy, can improve exercise tolerance and positively affect levels of inflammatory markers in patients with chronic heart failure.

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Qigong prevents swimmers from catching colds

Practising qigong may protect elite swimmers from upper respiratory tract infections (URIs), US researchers have found.

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Qigong improves quality of life

People who practice qigong report improved health-related quality of life compared with non-practitioners, according to a study from Taiwan.

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Qigong has multiple benefits for cancer patients

An Australian team has found that taking part in a qigong exercise programme has multiple health benefits for cancer patients.

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Qigong improves blood-pressure in wheelchair-bound elderly

The findings of a Chinese study suggest that qigong exercise may help improve blood pressure in elderly wheelchair-bound adults.

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Qigong improves children’s wellbeing at school

Qigong lessons for children offer a possible way to improve wellbeing at school, according to research carried out in Sweden.

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Qigong benefits neck pain

A German team has compared qigong and exercise therapy in patients with chronic neck pain.

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Qigong effective for tinnitus

German researchers report that qigong training could be a useful adjunctive therapy for patients with tinnitus.

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External qigong can ease chronic pain

External qigong treatment (EQT) can significantly reduce subjective feelings of pain in patients suffering from a variety of chronic pain conditions.

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The effects of Qigong meditation on the prefrontal cortex

A Canadian study has provided evidence that qigong meditation has a significant effect on the activation of the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

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Qigong improves addiction treatment outcomes

A small pilot study from the USA suggests that qigong meditation can contribute positively to addiction treatment outcomes, with results at least as good as those of an established stress management program.

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Qigong effective for type 2 diabetes

An American study has found that 12 weeks of qigong therapy resulted in significant reductions in fasting glucose levels in patients with type two diabetes.

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Qigong training improves computer operators' stress

A study has investigated the effects of qigong on stress among computer operators.

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Qigong and drug addiction

A study carried out at the Changzhou Drug Treatment Centre in China by Prof. Kevin Chen (of the University of Medicine & Dentistry, Newark, New Jersey) and two Chinese colleagues, has examined the potential benefit of qigong in heroin addiction.

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Qigong and exercise therapy reduce neck pain

Qigong and exercise therapy are both effective at reducing chronic neck pain.

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Qigong training improves exercise capacity in cardiac impairment

Qigong training can increase the exercise capacity of patients with cardiac impairment.

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Pain, the brain and qigong

Functional changes relating to pain processing occur in the brain during the practice of qigong.

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Qigong enhances flu shot

Researchers in the USA have found that a combination of tai chi and qigong (TQ) can enhance older adults' immune responses to the flu vaccine.

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How does qigong improve balance?

The mechanisms by which tai chi can improve balance were investigated in a randomised controlled trial of 49 healthy older adults.

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Qigong for metabolic syndrome

A 12-week programme of tai chi and qigong prompted a significant fall in blood glucose levels and significant improvements in other indicators of metabolic syndrome in 11 middle-aged to older adults.

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More motivation means more qigong and better concentration

A study from Sweden has investigated whether self-determined motivation and perceived stress are related to concentration during qigong exercise, and to the amount of exercise carried out.

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30 minutes qigong is enough to improve mood

Forty-one regular qigong practitioners engaged in either 30 or 60 minutes of qigong exercise within a randomised cross-over design.

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Qigong for stress

A small American study has investigated the effectiveness of a qigong training program in reducing stress in hospital staff.

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Qigong enhances sleep and psychological wellbeing

Spanish scientists have assessed the effects of qigong practice on serum cytokines, mood and subjective sleep quality.

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Effects of qigong on saliva

An Iranian team has analysed the effects of a qigong program on various saliva parameters, including volume, pH and secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) levels.

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Qigong studies

A randomised pilot study has found that eight weeks of qigong improved self-esteem and mood in individuals with traumatic brain injury compared with controls.

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Qigong for brain injury

A randomised pilot study has examined the effects of qigong on individuals with traumatic brain injury. Twenty individuals with traumatic brain injury attended either a qigong exercise session or a non-exercise-based leisure activity, for one hour per week over eight weeks.

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Lasting benefits of qigong meditation

Brain scans of meditators show that the effects of long-term meditation practice are carried over into non-meditating states.

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Psychophysiological outcomes of qigong

Hong Kong investigators have attempted to unravel the clinical benefits and underlying psychophysiological mechanisms of qigong based on information from 26 published RCTs.

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Qigong decreases inflammation in cancer patients

In Australia, a team investigating the use of medical qigong therapy (MQ) has found that it can improve cancer patients' quality of life (QOL).

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Qigong beneficial for chronic fatigue

A small, uncontrolled UK pilot study has found evidence of benefit for qigong in treating chronic fatigue.

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Qigong for knee osteoarthritis

Forty-four elderly subjects (mean age 69) with knee osteoarthritis were randomised to an eight-week tai chi qigong training programme or a waiting list control group.

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Qigong effective for type 2 diabetes

An American study has found that 12 weeks of qigong therapy resulted in significant reductions in fasting glucose levels in patients with type two diabetes.

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Tai chi benefits Parkinson's patients

In a four-year study of 195 subjects with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease, tai chi has been found to  improve postural stability and walking ability and to reduce the risk of falling.

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Voluntary control over autonomic processes via tai chi and meditation

Physiological responses normally associated with involuntary autonomic thermoregulation can be voluntarily activated during a tai chi exercise.

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Tai chi prevents weight gain in breast cancer survivors

Tai chi can help prevent weight gain and maintain lean body mass in breast cancer survivors by stabilising insulin levels, say American researchers.

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Tai chi reduces inflammation

Practising tai chi can lead to a reduction in levels of inflammatory markers in the blood of older adults.

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Tai chi helps overcome cognitive effects of chemotherapy

A US pilot study suggests that tai chi may be able to help cancer patients with cognitive problems that can arise as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment.

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Tai chi improves post-menopausal health

Taking part in a 12-week tai chi programme has multiple health benefits for post-menopausal women, particularly for those suffering from age-related loss of muscle strength.

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Tai chi beneficial in heart failure

Tai chi exercise has measurable benefits for patients with chronic systolic heart failure (HF).

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Seniors who practice tai chi perform better in cognitive tests

Older adults who practice tai chi (TC) demonstrate better performance in cognitive tests than those who take part in conventional exercise or who do not exercise.

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A single tai chi class is psychologically beneficial

A UK study has shown that participating in a single tai chi class is associated with significant improvements in psychological wellbeing.

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Tai chi prevents cognitive decline in at-risk seniors

Hong Kong researchers have found that tai chi (TC) may offer specific cognitive benefits in elderly people at risk of progressive cognitive decline.

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Tai chi improves metabolic parameters in obese diabetics

Tai chi (TC) can improve metabolic parameters in obese diabetic patients, according to Taiwanese researchers.

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20 minutes of tai chi benefits type A personalities

A Japanese study has investigated the influence of personality type on the change in mood status after a brief period of tai chi (TC).

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Taichi qigong improves lung function in COPD

A three-month programme of simplified (13-form) taichi qigong (two x sixty minute sessions a week) was found to be superior to both an exercise group (walking plus breathing techniques) and a control group (usual activities) in improving symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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