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Article Summaries for May 2016 Psychosomatic Medicine, Volume 78, Issue 4

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000355

Inflammation is a potential key mechanism underlying the link between major depressive disorder and various medical illnesses. Byrne et al. provide a systematic review of research on the association between inflammation and brain function and structures that are relevant to depression. They document that medial and ventral prefrontal cortical and subcortical regions are involved in the neural mechanisms linking inflammation to depressive symptoms.

Pages 389–400; Web:

In an accompanying editorial, Krishnadas and Harrison suggest that inflammation may be conceptualized as a generalized physiologic (or pathologic) response to a stressor that triggers a cascade of events that affect core information processing systems in the brain, leading ultimately to a discrete behavioral phenotype (e.g., anhedonia/motivational reorientation) that spans diagnostic categories.

Pages 384–388; Web:

Depressive symptoms can increase risk of mortality, but the biological mechanisms involved are insufficiently understood. Hughes et al. measured markers of inflammation and cardiovascular function, several of which are novel, in a prospective cohort study. Depressive symptoms and inflammation markers contributed independently to an increased risk of mortality. No evidence was found for a meditation effect of biological factors in the association between depression and mortality; depression and biological measures primarily showed additive effects.

Pages 401–411; Web:

Self-care is a potential behavioral pathway in the association between psychological factors with health outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of 65 studies, Kessing et al. found that several psychological factors (depression, self-efficacy, and mental well-being) were consistently associated with specific facets of self-care. Because these associations were predominantly observed with self-reported indices of self-care, the findings highlight the need to conduct prospective studies that quantify self-care using objective measures to determine the association between psychological factors and health behaviors.

Pages 412–431; Web:

The MitraClip device is a promising tool to treat heart failure patients with severe mitral regurgitation. Nikendei et al. assessed cognitive function and psychosocial measures before and after the MitraClip intervention; comparison data were collected from healthy participants. In the intervention group, significant improvements were observed in measures of memory and executive function as well as in depression, anxiety, and quality of life scores.

Pages 432–442; Web:

Research assessing the health benefits of supportive social relationships has primarily focused on benefits that come from the support one receives. Using socially rewarding and stressful laboratory tasks, Inagaki et al. assessed the effects of both receiving and giving social support as associated with vulnerability for negative psychological outcomes and neural activity. Both self-reported receiving and giving of social support were associated with reduced vulnerability for negative psychological outcomes. However, giving but not receiving support was related to reduced stress-related activity, greater reward-related activity, and greater caregiving-related activity based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Pages 443–453; Web:

Mestre et al. tested the relationship of anxiety to caloric intake and perception of food cues. Participants viewed food and nonfood images while undergoing fMRI. Questionnaires were used to assess anxiety, eating behavior, and appetite, and participants also underwent brain scanning before and after eating. The findings suggest that anxiety promotes increased consumption of calories and high-fat foods in women. The results also showed that in women anxiety altered specific brain responses to satiety.

Pages 454–464; Web:

Vancampfort et al. conducted a systematic review and meta-analyses to investigate the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Results indicated that people with PTSD are at a 50% increased risk of experiencing type 2 diabetes compared with healthy individuals.

Pages 465–473; Web:

To examine whether autonomic imbalance (sympathetic overactivity, parasympathetic underactivity) predicts metabolic risks, Wulsin et al. analyzed data on 1143 participants in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort at baseline and at 4, 8, and 12-year follow-up. Two measures of autonomic imbalance (low heart rate variability and high resting heart rate) significantly increased the odds of developing metabolic syndrome. These findings suggest that autonomic imbalance may provide a promising target for clinical trials to reduce obesity and prevent diabetes and heart disease in high-risk populations.

Pages 474–480; Web:

Hostility is a psychological trait that has long been associated with an elevated risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). One possible mechanism is dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Before and after participants were randomized to either cognitive behavior therapy or a control condition, Hajjari et al. examined ANS activity in individuals with high scores on hostility scales. Reduction in anger and hostility scores did not alter ANS activity at rest and in response to challenge, raising questions about the role of the ANS in the link between hostility and CAD.

Pages 481–491; Web:

Older adults with depression are more likely to experience bone fractures, but it is unclear whether reduced bone mineral density (BMD) is associated with depression. Stubbs et al. conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare BMD in adults 60 years or older with or without depression. Hip BMD was reduced in older adults with depression, but the effect size was small.

Pages 492–500; Web:

In a randomized controlled trial, Weise et al. examined whether an Internet-based cognitive behavioral treatment (iCBT) is effective in reducing tinnitus-related distress, tinnitus acceptance, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. The results indicated significant main effects for time that were stronger for the iCBT condition (time × condition effect) on all primary and secondary outcomes. At post-treatment, 73% of iCBT participants reached a marked change with regard to tinnitus-related distress.

Pages 501–510; Web:

Shahabi et al. explored the associations of psychological well-being and carotid intima media thickness (IMT), a subclinical marker of atherosclerosis. In a sample of 485 middle-aged women (38% African American), life satisfaction showed a significant, independent, inverse relationship with IMT. There were no significant associations between IMT and life engagement or life events.

Pages 511–519; Web:

Copyright © 2016 by American Psychosomatic Society