Objective. To examine practice patterns for diagnosis and treatment of chorioamnionitis among US obstetricians. Study Design. We distributed a mail-based survey to members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, querying demographics, practice setting, and chorioamnionitis management strategies. We performed univariable and multivariable analyses. Results. Of 500 surveys distributed, 53.8% were returned, and 212 met study criteria and were analyzed. Most respondents work in group practice (66.0%), perform
>100 deliveries per year (60.0%), have been in practice >10 years (77.3%), and work in a nonuniversity setting (85.1%). Temperature plus one additional criterion (61.3%) was the most common diagnostic strategy. Over 25 different primary antibiotic regimens were reported, including use of a single agent by 30.0% of respondents. A wide range of postpartum antibiotic duration was reported from no postpartum treatment (34.5% after vaginal delivery, 11.3% after cesarean delivery) to 48 hours of postpartum treatment (24.7% after vaginal delivery, 32.1% after cesarean delivery). No practitioner characteristic was independently associated with diagnostic or therapeutic strategies in multivariable analysis. Conclusion. There is a wide variation in contemporary clinical practices for the management of chorioamnionitis. This may represent a dearth of level I evidence. Future prospective clinical trials may provide more evidence-based practice recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of chorioamnionitis.
Oxytocin is known to have anti-anxiety and anti-stress effects. Using a fear-potentiated startle paradigm in rats, we previously demonstrated that subcutaneously administered oxytocin suppressed acoustic startle following fear conditioning compared with startle before fear conditioning (termed background anxiety), but did not have an effect on cue-specific fear-potentiated startle. The findings suggest oxytocin reduces background anxiety, an anxious state not directly related to cue-specific fear, but sustained beyond the immediate threat. The goal of the present study was to compare the effects of centrally and peripherally administered oxytocin on background anxiety and cue-specific fear. Male rats were given oxytocin either subcutaneously (SC) or intracerebroventricularly (ICV) into the lateral ventricles before fear-potentiated startle testing. Oxytocin doses of 0.01 and 0.1 μg/kg SC reduced background anxiety. ICV administration of oxytocin at doses from 0.002 to 20 μg oxytocin had no effect on background anxiety or cue-specific fear-potentiated startle. The 20 μg ICV dose of oxytocin did reduce acoustic startle in non-fear conditioned rats. These studies indicate that oxytocin is potent and effective in reducing background anxiety when delivered peripherally, but not when delivered into the cerebroventricular system. Oxytocin given systemically may have anti-anxiety properties that are particularly germane to the hypervigilance and exaggerated startle typically seen in many anxiety and mental health disorder patients.
oxytocin; anxiety; fear; startle; PTSD; mood/anxiety/stress disorders; neuropeptides; learning & memory; animal models; oxytocin; fear; startle; PTSD
The glucocorticoid hormone cortisol has been shown to impair episodic memory performance. The present study examined the effect of two doses of hydrocortisone (synthetic cortisol) administration on autobiographical memory retrieval.
Healthy volunteers (n=66) were studied on two separate visits, during which they received placebo and either moderate-dose (0.15 mg/kg IV; n=33) or high-dose (0.45 mg/kg IV; n=33) hydrocortisone infusion. From 75 to 150 min post-infusion subjects performed an Autobiographical Memory Test and the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT).
The high-dose hydrocortisone administration reduced the percent of specific memories recalled (p = 0.04), increased the percent of categorical (nonspecific) memories recalled, and slowed response times for categorical memories (p <0.001), compared to placebo performance (p < 0.001). Under moderate-dose hydrocortisone the autobiographical memory performance did not change significantly with respect to percent of specific or categorical memories recalled or reaction times. Performance on the CVLT was not affected by hydrocortisone.
These findings suggest that cortisol affects accessibility of autobiographical memories in a dose-dependent manner. Specifically, administration of hydrocortisone at doses analogous to those achieved under severe psychosocial stress impaired the specificity and speed of retrieval of autobiographical memories.
Cortisol; Autobiographical memory; Human; Declarative memory; Depression
To examine the practice patterns and attitudes of obstetricians and gynecologists surrounding treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB).
We conducted a cross-sectional study of members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Surveys, which were distributed using a sequential mixed method (both web-based and mail-based) approach, included questions about practice characteristics, practice patterns, and knowledge about treatment options for AUB.
Four hundred seventeen out of 802 questionnaires were returned (52%). The most commonly selected first line choice for AUB treatment was combined oral contraceptives (97% anovulatory, 98% ovulatory). The levonorgestrel intrauterine system was the next most frequently selected option (63% anovulatory, 53% ovulatory). Respondents did not score high on questions about the effectiveness of treatments for AUB. Only 25% (n=86) answered at least two out of the three questions correctly.
Continued education is necessary to increase the utilization of the most effective treatment options for AUB.
Abnormal uterine bleeding; evidence; attitudes; physician survey; treatment preferences
Background: The aim of this study was to assess physicians' perception of their patients' knowledge and opinions regarding regular screening, and the association of their perceptions with physician numeracy and patient education level. Methods: We carried out a survey study of 240 obstetrician-gynecologists. Results: Overall, 99.6% physicians perceive that their patients know that breast cancer is hereditary, 86.5% predicted that there is a gene mutation related to breast cancer, and 79.4% predicted that most breast cancer cases occur in women aged 50 years or greater. Physicians with less educated patients thought that their patients would not know about genetic screening, and physicians with more educated patients thought that their patients would know that mammography does not reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. A total of 66.0% of obstetrician-gynecologists answered all 3 numeracy questions correctly. Less numerate physicians were more likely to indicate that their typical patient would agree with the statement about regular mammography screens than the more numerate physicians. Conclusions: Obstetrician-gynecologists expect that their patients know some things about breast cancer and not others. Some of the physicians' perceptions about patients differ based on numeracy.
Breast cancer; Counseling; Health behavior; Physician-patient interaction; Patient education Physician numeracy
To examine the relationship between induced abortion training and views towards, and use of, office uterine evacuation and misoprostol in early pregnancy failure (EPF) care.
We surveyed 308 obstetrician/gynecologists on their knowledge and attitudes toward treatment options for EPF, and previous training in office uterine evacuation.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported training in office uterine evacuation and 20.3% reported induced abortion training. Induced abortion training was associated with strongly positive views towards both office-based uterine evacuation and misoprostol as treatment for EPF, as compared to those with office uterine evacuation training in other settings. (OR=2.64, p<0.004 and OR=3.22, p<0.003, respectively.) Further, induced abortion training was associated with use of office uterine evacuation for EPF treatment, as compared to those with office evacuation training in other settings (OR=2.90, p=0.004).
Training experiences, especially induced abortion training is associated with use of office uterine evacuation for EPF.
Early pregnancy failure; treatment patterns; induced abortion; training
A survey was distributed, using a sequential mixed-mode approach, to a national sample of obstetrician-gynecologists. Differences between responses to the web-based mode and the on-paper mode were compared to determine if there were systematic differences between respondents. Only two differences in respondents between the two modes were identified. University-based physicians were more likely to complete the web-based mode than private practice physicians. Mail respondents reported a greater volume of endometrial ablations compared to online respondents. The web-based mode had better data quality than the paper-based mailed mode in terms of less missing and inappropriate responses. Together, these findings suggest that, although a few differences were identified, the web-based survey mode attained adequate representativeness and improved data quality. Given the metrics examined for this study, exclusive use of web-based data collection may be appropriate for physician surveys with a minimal reduction in sample coverage and without a reduction in data quality.
survey; online; physician; distribution mode; web-based; internet; questionnaire
Oxytocin reportedly decreases anxious feelings in humans and may therefore have therapeutic value for anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As PTSD patients have exaggerated startle responses, a fear-potentiated startle paradigm in rats may have face validity as an animal model to examine the efficacy of oxytocin in treating these symptoms. Oxytocin (0, 0.01, 0.1, or 1.0 μg, subcutaneously) was given either 30 min before fear conditioning, immediately after fear conditioning, or 30 min before fear-potentiated startle testing to assess its effects on acquisition, consolidation, and expression of conditioned fear, respectively. Startle both in the presence and absence of the fear-conditioned light was significantly diminished by oxytocin when administered at acquisition, consolidation, or expression. There was no specific effect of oxytocin on light fear-potentiated startle. In an additional experiment, oxytocin had no effects on acoustic startle without previous fear conditioning. Further, in a context-conditioned test, previous light-shock fear conditioning did not increase acoustic startle during testing when the fear-conditioned light was not presented. The data suggest that oxytocin did not diminish cue-specific conditioned nor contextually conditioned fear, but reduced background anxiety. This suggests that oxytocin has unique effects of decreasing background anxiety without affecting learning and memory of a specific traumatic event. Oxytocin may have antianxiety properties that are particularly germane to the hypervigilance and exaggerated startle typically seen in PTSD patients.
oxytocin; anxiety; fear; startle; PTSD; neuropeptides; animal models; mood/anxiety/stress disorders; behavioral science; oxytocin
Chagas disease affects an estimated 300,000 people in the United States, and as many as 300 congenital infections are estimated to occur annually. The level of knowledge about Chagas disease among obstetricians-gynecologists in the United States has not been assessed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 members about Chagas disease. Among 421 respondents, 68.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 63.5–72.6) described their knowledge level about Chagas disease as “very limited.” Only 8.8% (95% CI = 6.2–12.0) knew the risk of congenital infection, and 7.4% (95% CI = 5.1–10.4) were aware that both acute and chronic maternal infections can lead to congenital transmission. The majority of respondents (77.9%; 95% CI = 73.5–81.9) reported “never” considering a diagnosis of Chagas disease among their patients from endemic countries. Most of those who did consider the diagnosis did so “rarely.” Knowledge of Chagas disease among obstetricians-gynecologists in the United States is limited. Greater awareness may help to detect treatable congenital Chagas cases.
The debilitating effects of chronic glucocorticoids excess are well-known, but comparatively little is understood about the role of acute cortisol. Indirect evidence in rodents suggests that acute cortisone could selectively increase some forms of long-duration aversive states, such as “anxiety,” but not relatively similar, briefer aversive states, such as “fear.” However, no prior experimental studies in humans consider the unique effects of cortisol on anxiety and fear, using well-validated methods for eliciting these two similar but dissociable aversive states. The current study examines these effects, as instantiated with short- and long-duration threats.
Healthy volunteers (n = 18) received placebo or a low (20 mg) or a high (60 mg) dose of hydrocortisone in a double-blind crossover design. Subjects were exposed repeatedly to three 150-sec duration conditions: no shock; predictable shocks, in which shocks were signaled by a short-duration threat cue; and unpredictable shocks. Aversive states were indexed by acoustic startle. Fear was operationally defined as the increase in startle reactivity during the threat cue in the predictable condition (fear-potentiated startle). Anxiety was operationally defined as the increase in baseline startle from the no shock to the two threat conditions (anxiety-potentiated startle).
Hydrocortisone affected neither baseline nor short-duration, fear-potentiated startle but increased long-duration anxiety-potentiated startle.
These results suggest that hydrocortisone administration in humans selectively increases anxiety but not fear. Possible mechanisms implicated are discussed in light of prior data in rodents. Specifically, hydrocortisone might increase anxiety via sensitization of corticotrophin-releasing hormones in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.
Amygdala; anxiety; BNST; corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH); cortisol; fear; predictability; startle reflex
To describe health care provider knowledge, attitudes and treatment preferences for early pregnancy failure (EPF).
We surveyed 976 obstetrician/gynecologists, midwives and family medicine practitioners on their knowledge and attitudes toward treatment options for EPF, and barriers to adopting misoprostol and office uterine evacuations. We used descriptive statistics to compare practices by provider specialty and logistic regression to identify associations between provider factors and treatment practices.
Seventy percent of providers have not used misoprostol and 91% have not used an office uterine evacuation to treat EPF in the past 6 months. Beliefs about safety and patient preferences, and prior induced abortion training were significantly associated with use of both of these treatments.
Increasing education and training on the use of misoprostol and office uterine evacuation, and clarifying patient treatment preferences may increase the willingness of providers to adopt new practices for EPF treatment.
Early pregnancy failure; Provider attitudes; treatment patterns
To explore attitudes and hysterectomy practices among gynecologists in the United States and to identify potential barriers to offering minimally invasive hysterectomies.
Mixed-mode (online and on-paper) survey of a random sample of 1500 practicing obstetrician-gynecologists.
Nationwide survey in the United States.
Nonretired obstetrician-gynecologists identified through a physician list from the American Medical Association.
Postal and online survey.
Measurements & Main Results
We received a response from 376 physicians (25.8% response rate). The average age of respondents was 47.9 years, and 87% were generalists. Participants performed on average 4 surgical cases per week and 32 hysterectomies per year, most of which were abdominal hysterectomies. When asked for preferred mode of access for themselves or their spouse, 55.5% chose vaginal hysterectomy (VH), 40.6% chose laparoscopic hysterectomy (LH), and 8% chose abdominal hysterectomy (AH). Younger physicians (<40) and high surgical volume physicians were significantly more likely to chose a laparoscopic approach and identified significantly fewer barriers for performing LH. The main barriers to performing VH were technical difficulty, potential for complications, and caseload of VH. The main barriers for performing LH were training during residency, technical difficulty, personal surgical experience and operating time. The majority of gynecologists wanted to decrease their AH rates and increase their LH rates. The most significant identified contraindications to VH were prior laparotomy, a uterus larger than 12 weeks, narrow introitus, adnexal mass, and minimal uterine descent.
While a large majority of gynecologists would prefer a VH or LH for themselves or their spouse, AH remains the most common hysterectomy method in the United States. A generation gap appears to be brewing with younger gynecologist more in favor of the laparoscopic approach. More emphasis should be placed on training gynecologists in performing minimally invasive hysterectomies, given their desire to change their surgical mode of access.
Minimally; Invasive; Hysterectomy; Barriers
That the fear and stress of life-threatening experiences can leave an indelible trace on the brain is most clearly exemplified by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many researchers studying the animal model of PTSD have adopted utilizing exposure to a predator as a life-threatening psychological stressor, to emulate the experience in humans, and the resulting body of literature has demonstrated numerous long-lasting neurological effects paralleling those in PTSD patients. Even though much more extreme, predator-induced fear and stress in animals in the wild was, until the 1990s, not thought to have any lasting effects, whereas recent experiments have demonstrated that the effects on free-living animals are sufficiently long-lasting to even affect reproduction, though the lasting neurological effects remain unexplored. We suggest neuroscientists and ecologists both have much to gain from collaborating in studying the neurological effects of predator-induced fear and stress in animals in the wild. We outline the approaches taken in the lab that appear most readily translatable to the field, and detail the advantages that studying animals in the wild can offer researchers investigating the “predator model of PTSD.”
animal model of PTSD; indirect predator effects; post-traumatic stress disorder; predation risk; predator stress
Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) has multiple roles in coordinating the behavioral and endocrine responses to a host of environmental challenges, including social stressors. In the present study we evaluated the role of CRH in mediating responses to a moderate social stressor in Wied’s black tufted-eared marmosets (Callithrix kuhlii). Male and female marmosets (n = 14) were administered antalarmin (a selective CRH-1 receptor antagonist; 50μg/kg, p.o.) or vehicle in a blind, counterbalanced, crossover design. One hr after treatment, marmosets were separated from long-term pairmates and then housed alone in a novel enclosure for 7 hr. Behavior was recorded during separation and upon reunion with the partner, and urine samples for cortisol assay collected before, during, and after the intervention. Separation from partners elevated urinary cortisol concentrations over baseline for both conditions, but antalarmin treatment reduced the magnitude of the elevation. Antalarmin also lowered rates of behavioral patterns associated with arousal (alarm and ‘‘e-e’’ vocalizations, object manipulate/chew), but had no effect on contact calls, locomotory activity or alertness. Although most patterns of social behavior upon reunion with the partner were not affected by antalarmin, antalarmin-treated marmosets displayed more sexual behavior (mounts and copulations) upon reunion. These data indicate that antagonism of the CRH-1 receptor acts to reduce the magnitude of both endocrine and behavioral responses to a moderate social stressor without causing any overall reduction in alertness or general activity. This supports the hypothesis that CRH, acting through its type 1 receptor, is involved in coordinating the responses to anxiety-producing events. These results further suggest that the marmoset is a useful model for exploration of the role of CRH in mediating the behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to psychosocial stressors, particularly in the context of heterosexual social relationships.
social stress; HPA axis; primate; CRH; antalarmin
Background. Maternal infection is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, and ob-gyns are in a unique position to help prevent and treat infections. Methods. This paper summarizes studies completed by the Research Department of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists regarding perinatal infections that were published between 2005 and 2009. Results. Obstetrician-gynecologists are routinely screening for hepatitis B and HIV, and many counsel prenatal patients regarding hepatitis B and toxoplasmosis. However, other infections are not regularly discussed, and many cited time constraints as a barrier to counseling. A majority discusses the transmission of giardiasis and toxoplasmosis, but few knew the source of cryptosporidiosis or cyclosporiasis. Conclusions. Many of the responding ob-gyns were unaware of or not adhering to infection management guidelines. Obstetrician-gynecologists are knowledgeable regarding perinatal infections; however, guidelines must be better disseminated perhaps via a single infection management summary. This paper identified knowledge gaps and areas in which practice can be improved and importantly highlights the need for a comprehensive set of management guidelines for a host of infections, so that physicians can have an easy resource when encountering perinatal infections.
To examine the opinions of obstetrician-gynecologists regarding hormone therapy (HT) and the results from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).
Separate surveys were sent to two groups of practicing obstetrician-gynecologists: 1) respondents to a 2004–2005 survey (Follow-up #1), 2) members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network (Follow-up #2 CARN). These studies complete a longitudinal study investigating obstetrician-gynecologists’ opinions of the evidence from WHI.
Response rates were 64.5% and 58.8%, respectively. Responses from both surveys were generally consistent with the results from the 2004–2005 survey. A majority of physicians from both survey populations were skeptical of the combined HT results. Respondents were more likely to find the results of the unopposed estrogen trial convincing. Similar to the results from the 2004–2005 study CARN physicians generally disagreed with the decision to end the WHI trials. Unlike the 2004–2005 study there was no consistent effect of either age or year residency was completed on physician opinions. Similar to the 2004–2005 study physicians that considered alternative therapies viable treatment options were more likely to report they found the trial results convincing. The results from Follow-up #2 CARN indicate that physicians in the south were most likely to prescribe and physicians in the east were least likely, suggesting that unmeasured socio-cultural parameters might influence HT prescribing practice.
Obstetrician-gynecologists remain generally skeptical of the WHI results, though less so of the estrogen only trial. The early end to the trials may have contributed to their skepticism.
Social regulation of the internal milieu is a fundamental behavioral adaptation. Cephalic capability is reflected by anticipatory behaviors to serve systemic physiological regulation. Homeostatic regulation, a dominant perspective, reflects reactive responses; allostatic regulation, the physiology of change, emphasizes longer-term anticipatory, and feedforward systems. Steroids, such as cortisol, and peptides such as corticotrophin releasing hormone are but one example of such anticipatory regulatory systems. The concept of “allostasis” is in part to take account of anticipatory control amidst diverse forms of adaptation underlying this regulatory adaptation that supports social contact and the internal milieu.
social; allostasis; regulation; the internal milieu
Behavioral problems in young children can take on a variety of forms, which are linked to distinct antecedents and co-occurring markers. Internalizing difficulties in young children, for example, have been linked to individual differences in infant temperament and cortisol levels. In addition, there is growing evidence that these biobehavioral mechanisms are also shaped by gender. Four-year-old children participated in a study examining the relations between salivary cortisol and behavioral maladjustment as a function of gender and temperament. Both longitudinal (maternal report of infant temperament at 9 months) and concurrent (morning salivary cortisol at age 4) data were used to predict two forms of maladjustment: ‘Withdrawal’ (maternal report of internalizing behavior and laboratory observation of social reticence) and ‘Acting Out’ (maternal report of externalizing behavior and laboratory observation of solitary active play). High basal cortisol levels were strongly associated with Withdrawal in male participants. However, the relation was significant only in boys who exhibited high levels of negative temperament in infancy. There were no comparable findings with ‘Acting Out’ beyond a main effect of gender reflecting greater difficulty in boys. The data suggested that there are unique biobehavioral mechanisms shaping specific patterns of maladjustment in childhood.
Cortisol; Temperament; Gender; Socioemotional Behavior; Early Childhood; Infancy
Anticipatory physiological regulation is an adaptive strategy that enables animals to respond faster to physiologic and metabolic challenges. The cephalic phase responses are anticipatory responses that prepare animals to digest, absorb and metabolize nutrients. They enable the sensory aspects of the food to interact with the metabolic state of the animal to influence feeding behavior. The anticipatory digestive secretions and metabolic adjustments in response to food cues are key adaptations that affect digestive and metabolic efficiency and aid in controlling the resulting elevation of metabolic fuels in the blood. Cephalic phase responses enable digestion, metabolism and appetite to be regulated in a coordinated fashion. These responses have significant effects on meal size. For example, if the cephalic phase insulin response is blocked the result is poor glucose control and smaller meals. Cephalic phase responses also are linked to motivation to feed, and may play a more direct role in regulating meal size beyond the permissive one of ameliorating negative consequences of feeding. For example, the orexigenic peptide ghrelin appears to display a cephalic phase response, rising before expected meal times. This anticipatory ghrelin response increases appetite; interestingly it also enhances fat absorption, linking appetite with digestion and metabolism.
digestion; appetite; homeostasis; insulin; ghrelin; evolution
Background. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of obstetricians and gynecologists regarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for prevention of healthcare-associated group A streptococcal (GAS) infections as well as general management of pregnancy-related and postpartum infections are unknown.
Methods. Questionnaires were sent to 1300 members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Results. Overall, 53% of providers responded. Postpartum and postsurgical infections occurred in 3% and 7% of patients, respectively. Only 14% of clinicians routinely obtain diagnostic specimens for postpartum infections; providers collecting specimens determined the microbial etiology in 28%. Microbiologic diagnoses were confirmed in 20% of postsurgical cases. Approximately 13% and 15% of postpartum and postsurgical infections for which diagnoses were confirmed were attributed to GAS, respectively. Over 70% of clinicians were unaware of CDC recommendations.
Conclusions. Postpartum and postsurgical infections are common. Providing empiric treatment without attaining diagnostic cultures represents a missed opportunity for potential prevention of diseases such as severe GAS
Giardiasis is one of the most common parasitic diseases in the United States with over 15 400 cases reported in 2005. A survey was conducted by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the knowledge of obstetricians and gynecologists regarding the diagnosis and treatment of giardiasis. The questionnaire was distributed to a random sample of 1200 ACOG fellows during February through June of 2006. Five hundred and two (42%) responded to the survey. The respondents showed good general knowledge about diagnosis, transmission, and prevention; however, there was some uncertainty about the treatment of giardiasis and which medications are the safest to administer during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Fear is an adaptation to danger, but excessive fear underlies diverse forms of mental anguish and pathology. One neural site linked to a sense of adversity is the amygdala, and one neuropeptide, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), is localized within the central nucleus of the amygdala. Glucocorticoids enhance the production of CRH in this region of the brain, resulting in increased attention to external events and, when sustained for longer periods of times, perhaps contributing to anxious depression.
amygdala; fear; angst
Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is typically considered to mediate aversive aspects of stress, fear and anxiety. However, CRF release in the brain is also elicited by natural rewards and incentive cues, raising the possibility that some CRF systems in the brain mediate an independent function of positive incentive motivation, such as amplifying incentive salience. Here we asked whether activation of a limbic CRF subsystem magnifies the increase in positive motivation for reward elicited by incentive cues previously associated with that reward, in a way that might exacerbate cue-triggered binge pursuit of food or other incentives? We assessed the impact of CRF microinjections into the medial shell of nucleus accumbens using a pure incentive version of Pavlovian-Instrumental transfer, a measure specifically sensitive to the incentive salience of reward cues (which it separates from influences of aversive stress, stress reduction, frustration and other traditional explanations for stress-increased behavior). Rats were first trained to press one of two levers to obtain sucrose pellets, and then separately conditioned to associate a Pavlovian cue with free sucrose pellets. On test days, rats received microinjections of vehicle, CRF (250 or 500 ng/0.2 μl) or amphetamine (20 μg/0.2 μl). Lever pressing was assessed in the presence or absence of the Pavlovian cues during a half-hour test.
Microinjections of the highest dose of CRF (500 ng) or amphetamine (20 μg) selectively enhanced the ability of Pavlovian reward cues to trigger phasic peaks of increased instrumental performance for a sucrose reward, each peak lasting a minute or so before decaying after the cue. Lever pressing was not enhanced by CRF microinjections in the baseline absence of the Pavlovian cue or during the presentation without a cue, showing that the CRF enhancement could not be explained as a result of generalized motor arousal, frustration or stress, or by persistent attempts to ameliorate aversive states.
We conclude that CRF in nucleus accumbens shell amplifies positive motivation for cued rewards, in particular by magnifying incentive salience that is attributed to Pavlovian cues previously associated with those rewards. CRF-induced magnification of incentive salience provides a novel explanation as to why stress may produce cue-triggered bursts of binge eating, drug addiction relapse, or other excessive pursuits of rewards.
Objectives: To review what past studies have found with regard to existing clinical practices and approaches to providing preconception care. Methods: A literature review between 1966 and September 2005 was performed using Medline. Key words included preconception care, preconception counseling, preconception surveys, practice patterns, pregnancy outcomes, prepregnancy planning, and prepregnancy surveys. Results: There are no current national recommendations that fully address preconception care; as a result, there is wide variability in what is provided clinically under the rubric of preconception care. Conclusions: In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsored a national summit regarding preconception care and efforts are underway to develop a uniform set of national recommendations and guidelines for preconception care. Understanding how preconception care is presently incorporated and manifested in current medical practices should help in the development of these national guidelines. Knowing where, how, and why some specific preconception recommendations have been successfully adopted and translated into clinical practice, as well as barriers to implementation of other recommendations or guidelines, is vitally important in developing an overarching set of national guidelines. Ultimately, the success of these recommendations rests on their ability to influence and shape women's health policy.
Preconception care; Preconception counseling; Preconception surveys; Practice patterns; Pregnancy outcomes; Prepregnancy planning; Prepregnancy surveys