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1.  Effects of controlled breathing exercises and respiratory muscle training in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: results from evaluating the quality of evidence in systematic reviews 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:184.
This paper reviews evidence and quality of Systematic Reviews (SRs) on the effects of breathing control exercises (BCEs) and respiratory muscle training (RMT) on breathlessness/dyspnea and other symptoms, and quality of life (QOL) for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
A search for BCE and RMT literature in COPD published between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2013 was performed in the following databases: PubMed, Ovid, CINAHL, PsycINFO, AMED, Cochrane and PEDro. The AMSTAR criteria were used to evaluate quality.
After reviewing 642 reports, seven SRs were identified on RMT and BCEs. Three SRs were of high quality, three were of moderate quality, and one was of low quality. Two high-quality SRs reported significantly beneficial effects of RMT on dyspnea, and one reported significant effects on disease-specific QOL and fatigue. In these SRs, pooled data analyses were performed with three to fourteen single randomised control trials (RCTs) included in the analysis. In one of the SRs the quality of the single RCTs were rated by the authors to be between 5–7 (with10 best) and in the other one the quality of the single RCTs were rated to be between 30-83% of the maximum score.
One high-quality SR found a significant positive effect of BCE based on pooled data analysis with two single RCTs in regard to pursed-lip breathing (PLB) on breathlessness. In this SR, one single RCT on diaphragmatic breathing (DB) and another one on yoga breathing (YB) showed effect on disease-specific QOL. The single RCTs included in the SR were rated by the authors in the SRs to be of low and moderate quality.
Based on three high-quality SRs performing pooled data analyses, there is evidence that RMT has effect on breathlessness, fatigue and disease-specific QOL and PLB on breathlessness. There is also evidence that single studies on DB and YB has effect on disease-specific QOL. Few RCTs are available and the variable quality of the single RCTs in the SRs, seem to require more RCTs in particular for BCEs, but also RMT before conclusions regarding effects and high quality SRs can be written.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-184) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4258938  PMID: 25416306
Chronic obstructive Pulmonary disease; Controlled breathing; Respiratory muscle training; Diaphragmatic breathing; Pursed lip breathing; Overview
2.  Psoriasis Patients' Knowledge about the Disease and Treatments 
Patients' knowledge about psoriasis and its treatment has been randomly studied previously. The aim of the study is to investigate patients' knowledge about psoriasis in relation to undergoing patient education in the context of climate therapy (CT). The psoriasis knowledge questionnaire (PKQ) was used in a follow-up pre–post study design of Norwegian patients with psoriasis at the age of 20 years and older undergoing CT at Gran Canaria (Spain). Patients completed the PKQ and provided selected demographic, clinical and health information before (T1), immediately after (T2), and 3 months after (T3) CT. Disease severity was assessed using the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI). 254 psoriasis patients were included (74%). The PKQ score improved significantly from T1 to T2 and T3 (P < 0.001 for both comparisons). Although patient's knowledge improved, further research should use gold standard designs (experiments) to study the effects of educational interventions in different contexts.
PMCID: PMC3707276  PMID: 23864852
3.  Promoting sense of coherence: Salutogenesis among people with psoriasis undergoing patient education in climate therapy 
BMC psychology  2013;1(1):11.
There is a need for further investigation of sense of coherence (SOC), the central concept of salutogenesis, and its relationship with long-term illnesses such as psoriasis. The aim of this study is to investigate the development of SOC during patient education in the context of climate therapy and to explore factors that may predict changes in SOC among people with psoriasis.
A prospective design included a baseline assessment and two follow-ups after a 3-week patient education and climate therapy programme (follow-up 1) and again 3 months later (follow-up 2). A total of 254 adults (aged 20–80) with psoriasis participated. SOC was measured by the SOC Questionnaire, illness perception was measured by the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire, and positive and active engagement in life was measured by the positive and active engagement subscale of the Health Education Impact Questionnaire. Paired-sample t tests were used to evaluate changes in SOC from the baseline to follow-up. Multiple linear regression was used to analyse the ability of socio-demographic and clinical variables, illness perception and positive and active engagement in life to predict the changes in SOC.
The SOC score changed significantly by 2.65 points, (95% CI = 0.621, 3.685) from the baseline to follow-up 1. SOC score was still improved by 1.15 points (95% CI = 0.073, 0.223) at follow-up 2.
Baseline and change in positive and active engagement in life were linked to change in SOC with standardized beta 0.170 (95% CI = 0.024, 0.319) and 0.259 (95% CI = 0.092, 0.428), respectively. In addition illness coherence perception at baseline and change in emotional representations were significantly associated with the change in SOC with standardized beta 0.212 (95% CI = 0.073, 0.361) and –0.270 (95% CI = –0.481, –0,077), respectively.
SOC improved significantly from before to after patient education in the context of climate therapy. The results indicate that improving positive and active engagement in life, coping with emotional distress and a coherent understanding of the illness might provide important opportunities to improve SOC among people with psoriasis.
PMCID: PMC4270020  PMID: 25566363
4.  Illness perception among patients with chest pain and palpitations before and after negative cardiac evaluation 
Patients with chest pain or palpitations often have poor outcomes following a negative cardiac evaluation, with symptom persistence, limitations in everyday activities, and reduced health-related quality of life. The aims of this study were to evaluate illness perceptions before and after negative cardiac evaluations and measure the ability of a self-report questionnaire to predict outcomes.
Patients (N = 138) referred for chest pain or palpitations to a cardiac outpatient clinic were assessed before and six months after a negative cardiac evaluation. In addition to Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (BIPQ), all patients completed the Beck Depression Inventory and SF-36 Health Survey.
The emotional reactions to and understanding of symptoms had not improved six months after a negative cardiac evaluation. A stronger correlation between illness perceptions and health at follow-up than before the cardiac evaluation might explain the tendency for poor outcomes among these patients. Most of the eight BIPQ item scores before the negative cardiac evaluation were predictive of the outcome six months later. A single question asking about the perceived consequences of the complaints (BIPQ Item 1) rated before the cardiac evaluation was collapsed into a dichotomous variable with a cut-off at ≥4 which yields a sensitivity of 51%, a specificity of 85%, a positive predictive value of 71%, a negative predictive value of 69%, and an odds ratio of 5.7 (r = .38, p < .001) in predicting poor outcomes.
Assessing illness perceptions is important in patients with negative cardiac tests for understanding and predicting outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3538579  PMID: 23017128
Non-cardiac chest pain; Benign palpitations; Negative cardiac evaluation; Psychosomatic medicine; Illness perception
5.  Emotional Functioning and School Contentment in Adolescent Survivors of Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Infratentorial Astrocytoma, and Wilms Tumor 
Purpose: Cancer in childhood may disrupt normal developmental processes and cause psychosocial problems in adolescent survivors of childhood cancers (ACCSs). Previous studies report inconsistent findings. Study aims were to assess subjective well-being (SWB), psychological distress, and school contentment in survivors of three dissimilar childhood cancers. Patients and methods: Nordic patients treated for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), infratentorial astrocytoma (IA), and Wilms tumor (WT) in childhood from 1985 to 2001, aged ≥1 year at diagnosis, and aged 13–18 years at the time of study were eligible for this questionnaire-based survey that included items on SWB, psychological distress, school contentment, self-esteem, and personality traits; 65% (151/231) responded. An age-equivalent group from a Norwegian health survey (n=7910) served as controls. Results: The median age of ACCSs was 16 years; 52% were males. ACCSs reported better SWB (p=0.004) and self-esteem (p<0.001). They had fewer social problems in school (p=0.004) and their school contentment tended to be higher than controls. SWB and school contentment were positively influenced by self-esteem. However, ACCSs reported higher levels of psychological distress (p=0.002), mostly attributable to general worrying. No significant differences in outcomes were found across diagnoses, and time since diagnosis did not significantly affect the results. Conclusion: The overall emotional functioning of ACCSs was good, possibly due to changes in their perception of well-being after having survived a life-threatening disease. However, they seemed more worried than their peers. This may cause an additional strain at a vulnerable period in life.
PMCID: PMC3621515  PMID: 23610734
6.  The impact of change in a doctor's job position: a five-year cohort study of job satisfaction among Norwegian doctors 
Job satisfaction among physicians may be of importance to their individual careers and their work with patients. We lack prospective studies on whether a change in a doctor's job position influences their job satisfaction over a five-year period if we control for other workload factors.
A longitudinal national cohort of all physicians who graduated in Norway in 1993 and 1994 was surveyed by postal questionnaire in 2003 (T1) and 2008 (T2). Outcomes were measured with a 10-item job satisfaction scale. Predictor variables in a multiple regression model were: change in job position, reduction in work-home interface stress, reduction in work hours, age, and gender.
A total of 59% of subjects (306/522) responded at both time points. The mean value of job satisfaction in the total sample increased from 51.6 (SD = 9.0) at T1 to 53.4 (SD = 8.2) at T2 (paired t test, t = 3.8, p < 0.001). The major groups or positions at T1 were senior house officers (45%), chief specialists in hospitals (23%), and general practitioners (17%), and the latter showed the highest levels of job satisfaction. Physicians who changed position during the period (n = 176) experienced an increase in job satisfaction from 49.5 (SD = 8.4) in 2003 to 52.9 (SD = 7.5) in 2008 (paired t test, t = 5.2, p < 0.001). Job satisfaction remained unchanged for physicians who stayed in the same position. There was also an increase in satisfaction among those who changed from positions other than senior house officer at T1 (p < 0.01). The significant adjusted predictor variables in the multiple regression model were the change in position from senior house officer at T1 to any other position (β = 2.83, p < 0.001), any change in job position (from any position except SHO at T1) (β = 4.18, p < 0.01) and reduction in work-home interface stress (β = 1.04, p < 0.001).
The physicians experienced an increase in job satisfaction over a five-year period, which was predicted by a change in job position and a reduction in work-home stress. This study has implications with respect to career advice for young doctors.
PMCID: PMC3342917  PMID: 22340521
7.  Obstructive sleep apnea, verbal memory, and executive function in a community-based high-risk population identified by the Berlin Questionnaire Akershus Sleep Apnea Project 
Cognitive functions in community-dwelling adults at high risk of obstructive sleep apnea have not been described and nor are associations between cognitive functions and obstructive sleep apnea severity fully understood. The study aimed to describe verbal memory and executive function in community-dwelling adults identified by the Berlin Questionnaire and to investigate associations between these cognitive domains and different obstructive sleep apnea severity indicators.
Among 29,258 age- and gender-stratified persons 30–65 years who received the Berlin Questionnaire by mail, 16,302 (55.7%) responded. From 654 randomly drawn respondents with BQ high risk who were approached for study participation, 290 participants (55.9% males, mean age 48.2 years) were included. Verbal memory was assessed by Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and executive function by Stroop test. Obstructive sleep apnea severity indicators were assessed by polysomnography.
Mean (standard deviation) verbal learning score was 42.0 (8.9), mean interference time was 31.1 (12.7), median (25th percentile, 75th percentile) apnea–hypopnea index was 7.7 (2.4–22.2), and mean average oxygen saturation was 94.3 (2.0). Verbal learning score was independently associated with average oxygen saturation (β = 0.721, p = 0.025) in multivariate linear regression models adjusted for putative confounders. Interference time was only related to OSA severity indicators in bivariate analyses.
Verbal memory and executive function impairments were mild in community-dwelling adults at high risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Average oxygen saturation was the indicator of obstructive sleep apnea severity most strongly associated with cognitive function.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11325-011-0493-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3278612  PMID: 21350844
Neurobehavioural manifestations; Polysomnography; Epidemiology; Sleep apnea syndromes; Sleep disordered breathing
8.  The complexity of the relationship between chronic pain and quality of life: a study of the general Norwegian population 
Quality of Life Research  2009;18(8):971-980.
The aims of this paper were to evaluate the relationship between chronic pain and global quality of life (GQOL) and to explore the effect of possible confounders, mediators, and moderators such as selected demographic variables, chronic illnesses, stress-related symptoms, fatigue, and subjective health of the relationship between chronic pain and GQOL.
We used a cross-sectional design, including 1,893 respondents from a population of 4,000 of Norwegian citizens, aged 19–81 years, who were randomly drawn from the National Register by Statistics Norway in November 2000 (48.5%). Pain duration of more than 3 months was categorized as having chronic pain. The Quality of Life Scale, the Fatigue Severity Scale, and the Posttraumatic Stress Scale were used as our main dependent and independent variables, respectively. A series of multiple regression analyses (GLM in SPSS) were applied using GQOL as the dependent variable, entering subsets of independent variables in a theoretically predefined sequence.
In the total model, there was no significant relationship between chronic pain and GQOL. The model explained 39% of the variance in GQOL. For direct effect sizes, stress-related symptoms were related most strongly to GQOL, followed by subjective health, fatigue, chronic illnesses, and selected demographic variables.
These findings support the assumption of a complex and indirect relationship between chronic pain and GQOL.
PMCID: PMC2744798  PMID: 19688608
Chronic pain; General population; Quality of life; Stress-related symptoms; Fatigue
9.  The association between history of diabetic foot ulcer, perceived health and psychological distress: the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study 
While the adverse impact of a history of a foot ulcer on physical health among persons with diabetes is well known, little is known about the association between foot ulcer, perceived health and psychological distress. Results from various studies are difficult to compare as different study designs, samples and/or different questionnaires have been used. The aim of this study was to compare levels of anxiety and depression, psychological well-being and perceived health between persons with diabetes, with or without a history of foot ulcer, and persons without diabetes in a large study of community-dwelling individuals.
This study included 65,126 persons, of whom 63,632 did not have diabetes, 1,339 had diabetes without a history of foot ulcer and 155 had diabetes and a history of foot ulcer. Levels of anxiety and depression were assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Psychological well-being was measured on a four-item scale, and perceived health was measured with a one-item question. We investigated whether levels of anxiety, depression, psychological well-being and perceived health were different in the three study groups using multiple regression models controlling for demographic factors, body mass index, smoking and cardiovascular conditions. Separate multivariate analyses comparing the two diabetes samples were additionally adjusted for diabetes-specific variables.
A history of foot ulcer was significantly associated with more depressive symptoms, poorer psychological well-being and poorer perceived health compared to participants without diabetes. In multivariate analyses, perceived health and psychological well-being were significantly poorer among those with a history of foot ulcer compared to those without diabetes. Among persons with diabetes, perceived health was significantly worse among those with a history of foot ulcer. After multivariate adjustment, levels of anxiety and depression and psychological well-being did not differ between the two diabetes groups.
Perceived health and psychological well-being were significantly poorer among participants with diabetes and a history of foot ulcer compared to those without diabetes. Among people with diabetes, a history of foot ulcer had significant negative impact on perceived health but did not independently contribute to psychological distress.
PMCID: PMC2737541  PMID: 19706152
10.  The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, five-year follow-up study 
BMC Medicine  2005;3:18.
Miscarriage and induced abortion are life events that can potentially cause mental distress. The objective of this study was to determine whether there are differences in the patterns of normalization of mental health scores after these two pregnancy termination events.
Forty women who experienced miscarriages and 80 women who underwent abortions at the main hospital of Buskerud County in Norway were interviewed. All subjects completed the following questionnaires 10 days (T1), six months (T2), two years (T3) and five years (T4) after the pregnancy termination: Impact of Event Scale (IES), Quality of Life, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and another addressing their feelings about the pregnancy termination. Differential changes in mean scores were determined by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and inter-group differences were assessed by ordinary least squares methods.
Women who had experienced a miscarriage had more mental distress at 10 days and six months after the pregnancy termination than women who had undergone an abortion. However, women who had had a miscarriage exhibited significantly quicker improvement on IES scores for avoidance, grief, loss, guilt and anger throughout the observation period. Women who experienced induced abortion had significantly greater IES scores for avoidance and for the feelings of guilt, shame and relief than the miscarriage group at two and five years after the pregnancy termination (IES avoidance means: 3.2 vs 9.3 at T3, respectively, p < 0.001; 1.5 vs 8.3 at T4, respectively, p < 0.001). Compared with the general population, women who had undergone induced abortion had significantly higher HADS anxiety scores at all four interviews (p < 0.01 to p < 0.001), while women who had had a miscarriage had significantly higher anxiety scores only at T1 (p < 0.01).
The course of psychological responses to miscarriage and abortion differed during the five-year period after the event. Women who had undergone an abortion exhibited higher scores during the follow-up period for some outcomes. The difference in the courses of responses may partly result from the different characteristics of the two pregnancy termination events.
PMCID: PMC1343574  PMID: 16343341

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