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Article Summaries for April 2018 Psychosomatic Medicine, Volume 80, Issue 3

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000577

Shared genetic background may account for the phenotypic associations between depression and Type-2 diabetes (T2DM). Using summary statistics from three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for depressive symptoms and glycemic traits, Haljas et al. found no significant overall genetic correlation between depression and T2DM or glycemic measures. These findings indicate differences in the underlying biology of depression and T2DM. However, several potential pleiotropic loci were identified among depressive symptoms, T2DM, and fasting glucose.

Pages 242–251;

A high genetic risk score (GRS) for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and low socioeconomic position (SEP) interact to exacerbate each other’s effect on the prevalence of T2DM. Using cross-sectional and 5-year follow-up data, van Zon et al. found a strong association between low SEP and T2DM in participants with a low GRS in the longitudinal analyses. This deserves attention in future studies because cross-sectional results suggest that a weak genetic predisposition may buffer the negative effect of low SEP in the development of T2DM.

Pages 252–262;

Pinheiro et al. investigated genetic and environmental factors that can account for the co-occurrence of poor sleep quality and low back pain. Analysis and modeling suggested a causal effect of sleep quality on low back pain and also a reverse effect. Apart from environmental factors that affect both conditions, there are individual-specific events that influence low back pain that are differ from those influencing sleep quality. These results require confirmation in longitudinal studies that will also help to identify the direction of the causal pathways.

Pages 263–270;

Social isolation negatively influences both behavior and cardiovascular function. Environmental enrichment (EE), which involves exposure to novel items that provide physical and cognitive stimulation, may protect against adverse effects of social isolation. Using the socially monogamous prairie vole model, Normann et al. investigated the potential for EE to remediate depressive behaviors, heart rate, and heart rate variability following social isolation. EE reversed behavioral and cardiovascular consequences of social isolation to a level similar to reuniting with a previous social partner.

Pages 271–277;

Characteristics of cardiovascular recovery from acute stress, but not reactivity to stress, may be a key pathway between low socioeconomic status (SES) and risk for cardiovascular diseases. A systematic review and meta-analysis by Boylan et al. considered moderators of the association of SES with blood pressure and heart rate reactivity and recovery in acute stress tasks. No significant association between SES and reactivity to stress was found. However, higher SES was associated with better recovery.

Pages 278–293;

Ahmadi et al. investigated the relationship of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with coronary artery distensibility (measured by computed-tomography angiography) and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). In a study of 246 people with and without PTSD, the coronary distinsibility index (CDI) was associated with severity of PTSD symptoms. Both impaired CDI and PTSD were independently associated with an increased risk of MACE during follow-up, and evidence indicated an interaction between these two factors. The findings highlight the important role of CDI in identifying individuals with PTSD at risk for MACE.

Pages 294–300;

Exaggerated cardiovascular reactivity to acute psychological stress has been associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). Brindle et al. tested the hypothesis that poor nocturnal sleep would moderate the relationship between cardiovascular reactivity and IMT. Participants completed a two-night laboratory sleep study and psychological stress testing. Slow-wave sleep significantly moderated the relationship between all cardiovascular stress reactivity variables and IMT. Greater stress reactivity was associated with higher IMT values in the low SWS group and lower IMT values in the high slow wave sleep group. Nocturnal slow-wave sleep may buffer the effect of daytime stress-related disease processes.

Pages 301–306;

Reduced heart rate variability (HRV) is associated with cardiovascular disease. Thio et al. investigated whether reduced HRV might also be related to chronic kidney disease (CKD). In the population-based PREVEND Study, renal outcomes (CKD, eGFR, urinary albumin) were measured at baseline and three consecutive examinations (median follow-up 7.4 years). HRV measures were assessed at baseline. Results suggest that reduced HRV was not associated with future decreases in kidney function. Cross-sectional associations between low HRV and CKD indices may reflect consequences of CKD rather than a causal factor in the development of CKD.

Pages 307–316;

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction may play a role in the development of fibromyalgia (FM). Early childhood adversities (ECA) are common in FM, but whether they moderate stress reactivity is unknown. In a study comparing individuals with and without FM, Coppens et al. observed a blunted cortisol response and elevated subjective stress levels in FM patients on the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). In FM patients, however, ECA history was not associated with levels of cortisol or subjective stress or with cortisol response to the TSST.

Pages 317–326;

Physical activity levels are typically lower and feelings of fatigue are elevated during pregnancy. In a clinical parallel group trial of 124 women, O’Connor et al. found that feelings of fatigue were lessened among pregnant women who adopted a 12-week low-to-moderate intensity strength training program compared to controls who did not exercise. Appropriate strength training during a healthy pregnancy appears to provide a safe, nonpharmacological energy boost to pregnant women.

Pages 327–332;

Copyright © 2018 by American Psychosomatic Society