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Article Summaries for November–December 2015 Psychosomatic Medicine, Volume 77, Issue 9

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000285
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Poor global self-ratings of health are predictive of adverse health outcomes. Cohen et al. analyzed data on self-rated health and their association with susceptibility to a common cold virus. The results, in healthy adults aged 18 to 55, showed that poorer self-ratings of health were associated with an increased risk of developing a cold when exposed to a common cold virus. The findings contribute to growing evidence that self-rated health is an important indicator of disease risk, even in healthy young and middle-aged adults.

Pages 959–968; Web:

In an accompanying editorial, Cho and Irwin suggest that self-rated health could potentially serve as a simple cost-effective screening tool for susceptibility to infectious or inflammatory disorders. They also discuss whether interventions that target immune/inflammatory mechanisms would prevent the development of disease processes and ultimately mortality in groups identified by poor self-rated health.

Pages 956–958; Web:

Microbiota play a role in a wide range of diseases. In women and girls receiving inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa (AN), Kleiman et al. examined intestinal microbiota at hospital intake and discharge and compared composition and diversity of microbiota of these patients to that of a healthy group. The authors also explored associations between microbiota and depression, anxiety, and eating disorder psychopathology. Results provide evidence of intestinal dysbiosis in AN patients and suggest an association between mood and the intestinal microbiota in AN patients.

Pages 969–981; Web:

Numerous studies have found elevated depressive symptoms among people with Type 2 diabetes, yet the mechanisms remain unclear. McCaffery et al. examined whether genetic loci previously associated with depressive symptoms would predict such symptoms in overweight or obese people with Type 2 diabetes or predict change in depressive symptoms during behavioral weight loss. Of 8 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 6 loci, 3 SNPs selected a priori in 2 loci were associated with baseline depression scores, but in a direction inconsistent with previous research. One gene in the region of KCNE1 predicted change in depression scores at one year following the diabetes support and education intervention while also showing a nominal association with baseline depression scores.

Pages 982–992; Web:

Using major vascular surgery as a model of stressful life event or trauma, King et al. prospectively examined the long-term association of presurgical neuroendocrine factors with stress- and trauma-related psychiatric outcomes. Open surgery was associated with greater risk for postsurgical psychiatric morbidity compared to endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair or nonsurgical treatment. A higher level of pre-surgical salivary cortisol was associated with increased posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms 9 months post surgery, after adjustment for intake scores and history of depression.

Pages 993–1005; Web:

Many recent studies of service members returning from deployment have focused on the health effects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), including persistent postconcussive symptoms (PCS). However, because study designs have typically been cross-sectional, it has been difficult to understand the role of mental health in the etiology of persistent PCS. Examining health surveys of 3319 military personnel at basic training and then after deployment (on average, 4.6 years later), Lee et al. found that pre-military depressive, posttraumatic stress, and somatic symptoms predicted PCS.

Pages 1006–1017; Web:

Psychosocial factors may significantly affect patient outcomes after the receipt of a heart, lung, live, or kidney transplant. Maldonado et al. identified 217 transplant recipients assessed with the Stanford Integrated Psychosocial Assessment for Transplantation (SIPAT) before transplantation at their institution. The primary outcomes of organ failure and mortality occurred in 12 and 21 patients, respectively, and were not significantly associated with the pre-transplant SIPAT scores. However, SIPAT scores were significantly correlated with the probability of poor medical and psychosocial outcomes.

Pages 1018–1030; Web:

Schizophrenia and atopic diseases are commonly comorbid and have been associated with chronic inflammation, which may contribute to an increased risk of stroke in these conditions. Chen et al. divided 63,913 people with schizophrenia and a reference group into subgroups based on the presence or absence of atopic diseases. During follow-up, all patients who developed a stroke were identified. Patients with schizophrenia had an increased risk of developing ischemic stroke. The presence of atopic diseases among patients with schizophrenia was associated with an additional increased risk of developing ischemic stroke.

Pages 1031–1038; Web:

Depressive symptoms have been associated with chronic low-grade inflammation, including an elevated neutrophil count. Smokers often have both high neutrophil count and depressive symptoms. Vulser et al. investigated the cross-sectional association between depressive symptoms and absolute neutrophil count and other blood-based measures in 44,806 participants without a history of chronic disease. Depressive symptoms were positively associated with absolute neutrophil count after adjustment for socio-demographic factors and health-related behaviors. However, this association was no longer significant when analyses were further adjusted for a semi-quantitative measure of smoking, which accounted for more than half of the association. In considering the link between depression and inflammation, the effects of smoking should not be overlooked.

Pages 1039–1049; Web:

Caring for a spouse with dementia is a source of chronic stress and is associated with a heightened prevalence of self-reported sleep problems. Taylor et al. evaluated relationships between coping style and sleep disturbance in 60 caregivers. In fully adjusted models, caregivers were more likely to be classified in the low sleep efficiency group if they scored high on avoidant coping.

Pages 1050–1057; Web:

Positive affect is a protective factor for cardiovascular health and longevity, possibly via behavioral pathways. Sin et al. evaluated cross-sectional and 5-year longitudinal associations between positive affect and health behaviors among patients with stable coronary heart disease. Higher positive affect was cross-sectionally associated with better health behaviors (physical activity, sleep quality, medication adherence, and nonsmoking), but did not predict health behaviors 5 years later. At the 5-year follow-up, however, increases in positive affect co-occurred with improvements in health behaviors.

Pages 1058–1066; Web:

Copyright © 2015 by American Psychosomatic Society