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Article Summaries for July–August 2019 Psychosomatic Medicine, Volume 81, Issue 6

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000720

Lower brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been associated with cognitive impairments in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Zhen et al. found that T2DM was associated with poorer cognitive functioning and lower BDNF levels. Exploring sex-related patterns, they report that men with T2DM had lower BDNF serum levels and performed worse on cognitive tests, especially for delayed memory, than women. Further study of pathological mechanisms and potential protective factors such as female sex hormones may lead to interventions targeting improved cognitive function in patients with T2DM.

Pages 488–494;

Morbidity from heart failure (HF) has remained essentially unchanged in recent years. One reason may be that depression, co-morbid in approximately 40% of hospitalized HF patients and associated with adverse HF outcomes, often goes unrecognized and untreated. Herbeck Belnap et al. explain the rationale and study design for a trial to evaluate a telephone-delivered collaborative care program for treating depression in patients with HF. The trial will determine whether blended collaborative care for depression and HF is more effective at improving outcomes than collaborative care for HF alone or usual care for HF.

Pages 495–505;

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can be useful for major depression in patients with heart failure (HF), but about half of patients do not improve after CBT. Smagula et al. analyzed a randomized clinical trial, evaluating whether clinical and activity characteristics moderate the effects of CBT. Patients benefited more if they had more medically severe HF, more stable activity patterns, wider active periods, and later evening settling times. With the moderating effect of HF severity on CBT benefits, research is also needed to clarify and address factors in patients with less severe HF.

Pages 506–512;

Depression has been associated with subsequent mortality in patients with a variety of somatic diseases. Bürker et al. examined whether depression, measured approximately 5 years after heart transplantation, was associated with reduced long-term survival during extended follow-up. The results indicate that depression assessed several years after a heart transplantation is associated with increased mortality during follow-up for up to 18.6 years, even after adjustment for relevant sociodemographic and clinical variables. These findings indicate that long-term monitoring of psychological factors is important for heart transplant recipients.

Pages 513–520;

Loneliness is associated with an individual’s risk of morbidity and mortality. O’Súilleabháin et al. investigated the social and emotional dimensions of loneliness. Social loneliness, that is, the lack of an engaging social network, was not associated with mortality in those living alone. No associations emerged for social or emotional loneliness among those not living alone. Emotional loneliness that arises out of the loss or absence of a close emotional attachment figure, experienced as a sense of abandonment, appears to be a toxic component of loneliness in very old adults who live alone.

Pages 521–526;

Delgado-Rodríguez et al. investigated food and emotional cue processing in women with bulimia, comparing them to women without bulimia on measures of event-related brain potentials using individualized stimuli. In bulimia nervosa, strict control over food intake alternates with bouts of overeating. Women with bulimia showed larger late positive potentials during display of pictures of self-selected binge foods and also to pictures containing erotic cues. The findings provide evidence that in bulimia nervosa, dysregulated emotional processing is not limited to food cues. The results are discussed within a transdiagnostic perspective on food-related disorders.

Pages 527–535;

Sympathetic-vagal balance may play a role in the association of job stress with cardiovascular disease risk. Oliveira-Junior et al. investigated whether job strain, low control, and high demand at work are associated with a reduction in heart rate variability (HRV). There was no association of job strain and psychological demand with HRV indices. However, an increase in job control was associated with an enhancement in one HRV index (low frequency HRV).

Pages 536–544;

Epidemiologic data support the role of sleep as a determinant of cardiovascular diseases. Doyle et al. examined associations between daily blood pressure and objectively assessed sleep duration and efficiency. When assessed separately, lower sleep duration and efficiency were associated with higher daytime systolic blood pressure (BP) and higher nighttime BP. When assessed together, sleep duration and efficiency diverge in their associations with BP at different times of day. These results warrant further investigation of possible sleep-related pathways to adverse disease outcomes.

Pages 545–556;

Psychological stress during pregnancy can adversely affect the physical health and development of infants from birth through childhood. Roettger et al. explored whether pregnant women’s cortisol reactivity to an experimental stressor (a videotaped discussion with their partners about relationship problems)—is associated with later infant and child health. Greater maternal cortisol reactivity, but not recovery, was associated with better overall child health and fewer physician visits, fevers, and ear and respiratory infections during the 3-year study period. The study also found that maternal depressive symptoms may moderate the association between cortisol reactivity and adverse child health outcomes.

Pages 557–565;

Copyright © 2019 by American Psychosomatic Society