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Article Summaries for February–March 2017 Psychosomatic Medicine, Volume 79, Issue 2

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000451
In This Issue

Individuals with panic disorder may be at elevated risk of inflammation-related diseases, but few studies have investigated whether there is a dose-response relationship between anxiety and cytokine levels. Belem da Silva et al. assessed levels of IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α in outpatients with current or remitted panic disorder. Significantly higher levels of IL-6, but not TNF-α or IL-10, were observed in individuals with current panic disorder compared with remitted panic disorder.

Pages 126–132;

Chronic stress in adolescents has been associated with increased inflammation markers. It is unclear whether adolescents’ own ratings or interviewer-based ratings of acute naturalistic stressors are more predictive of inflammation markers. Schreier and Chen found that interviewer-based ratings of acute stressors were more strongly related to health-relevant markers of inflammation (IL-6 and IL-1ra) than adolescents’ own acute stress ratings. These associations only became apparent when examining interactions with chronic background family stress experienced by the adolescent participants.

Pages 133–142;

Exercise has positive effects on neurocognitive processes. Lowe et al. examined aerobic exercise as a means to promote cortical resilience in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPF), a brain region underlying cognitive control. Results indicated that moderate (compared to light) intensity exercise accelerated brain recovery following perturbation of the DLPF region with a variant of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) known as continuous theta-burst stimulation. These findings indicate mechanisms by which exercise benefits brain health, especially executive function and memory.

Pages 143–152;

A meta-analysis conducted by Shi et al. looked at the association between depression and risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and arrhythmias. Results showed that individuals with depression have an elevated risk of SCD. There were similar results for ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation and recurrent atrial fibrillation (AF), but not for new-onset AF.

Pages 153–161;

Childhood adversities have been associated with later psychopathology (see the journal’s special issue on this topic, November December 2016). Busso et al. tested distinct forms of childhood adversities—deprivation (poverty) and threat (interpersonal violence)—in adolescents. Exposure to both types was associated with psychopathology, but physiological reactivity patterns to a standardized social stress task were distinct.

Pages 162–171;

Llabre et al. investigated links between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and chronic diseases in a sample of Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. Most participants (77.2%) had experienced at least one ACE, and 28.7% had experienced four or more. Of six chronic diseases considered, results indicated significant associations with three: cancer, coronary heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Stroke, asthma, and diabetes, were not associated with ACEs.

Pages 172–180;

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increases cardiovascular disease and mortality risk. Burg et al. tested the relationship of PTSD to future incident hypertension, using data from 194,319 recent US military veterans. Over a median 2.4-year follow-up, the hazard ratio for hypertension associated with PTSD was 1.12–1.30, and PTSD treatment reduced the PTSD-associated hypertension risk. Lessening the health impact of PTSD may require very early and ongoing surveillance, risk stratification, and intervention.

Pages 181–188;

Hypnotic suggestion is a validated form of pain control; however, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Derbyshire et al. compared pain responses in individuals with clinical pain (fibromyalgia) and healthy control participants who were exposed to experimental pain (heat). Both groups reported decreased pain in response to suggestions delivered before and during hypnosis. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data, however, demonstrated larger changes in brain activity in association with hypnotic in comparison with nonhypnotic suggestions and strikingly different patterns of brain activity for clinical pain compared with experimental pain.

Pages 189–200;

Studies have shown that African Americans are more pain sensitive in laboratory studies compared to non-Hispanic white (nHW) individuals. Gordon et al. tested the association between chronic stress and acute physiological (cardiovascular and neurohormonal) responses to a standardized social stress task with perceived pain during cold and heat provocation. The relationship between stress reactivity differed between groups such that greater stress reactivity was associated with decreased pain among nHWs, whereas stress reactivity was either unrelated or positively associated with pain among African American participants. No support was found for the hypothesis that chronic stress explains increased pain sensitivity among African Americans in laboratory settings.

Pages 201–212;

A crowd-sourced website was used by Van der Krieke et al. to collect longitudinal ambulatory data and to deliver personalized health feedback. A total of 629 participants completed 28,430 assessments of 43 brief questions related to health and well-being in a 30-day (3 times a day) diary study. Highly educated women were overrepresented among the participants. Almost 40% of the participants completed enough assessments to generate personalized feedback related to well-being, health behavior, and emotions. The web-based approach offers important new possibilities for both data collection and health promotion.

Pages 213–223;

Genomewide association studies have identified consistent genetic associations with obesity, with some studies implicating eating behavior as a primary mechanism. Few studies have replicated genetic associations with dietary intake. In a study using data from the Diabetes Prevention Program, McCaffery et al. replicated prior findings that common alleles within BDNF are associated with total caloric intake. The study provided additional confirmatory evidence of association of the MC4R and the FTO obesity risk regions with dietary intake.

Pages 224–233;

Telomere biology may help to explain the association between depression and physical health and mortality. In a random sample of 3,609 people, Whisman and Richardson found that in men, but not women, depressive symptoms were negatively associated with telomere length in salivary samples. In men, the association remained statistically significant after adjusting for cigarette smoking, body mass index, chronic health conditions, exposure to traumatic life events, and neuroticism.

Pages 234–242;

Exercise has beneficial effects on mood and cognition, but participant expectations, absence of a valid exercise placebo, and demand characteristics can potentially limit the conclusions that can be drawn from investigations. To systematically evaluate these factors, Lindheimer et al. told participants that the purpose of their study was to establish physiologic responses to exercise. Few participants expected a reduction in anxiety or improvements in energy or cognitive performance. Results suggest that when explicit communication is used to indicate that the investigation is targeting physiological responses to exercise, a light-intensity bout of cycling may be insufficient for improving mood and cognitive performance.

Pages 243–253;

Copyright © 2017 by American Psychosomatic Society