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1.  Reviewer acknowledgement 2014 
Contributing reviewers
The BioPsychoSocial Medicine editorial team would like to thank the following colleagues who contributed to peer review for the journal in Volume 8 (2014).
PMCID: PMC4324041
2.  Effect of prolonged stress on the adrenal hormones of individuals with irritable bowel syndrome 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of prolonged stress on the salivary adrenal hormones (cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA], DHEA-sulfate [DHEA-S]) of individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The participants were female college students, including 10 with IBS and 16 without IBS (control group), who were scheduled for a 2-week teaching practice at a kindergarten. Participants were asked to collect saliva for determining adrenal hormones immediately and 30 min after awakening and before sleep, 2 weeks before the practice, the first week of the practice, the second week of the practice, and a few days after the practice.
Regarding cortisol/DHEA ratio, significantly increased levels were found during the first week of the practice, and a significant interaction between group and time was found; the ratio at 30 min after awakening in the IBS group was higher than that in the control group. For the other adrenal hormone indexes, no significant differences due to the presence of IBS were found.
Individuals with IBS showed an elevated cortisol/DHEA ratio after awakening compared with individuals without IBS, and the elevated ratio peaked under the prolonged stress. The present study suggests that the cortisol effect is dominant in individuals with IBS under prolonged stress.
PMCID: PMC4308893  PMID: 25632298
Irritable bowel syndrome; Cortisol; Dehydroepiandrosterone; Saliva; Prolonged stress
3.  Psychosocial factors are preventive against coronary events in Japanese men with coronary artery disease: The Eastern Collaborative Group Study 7.7-year follow-up experience 
The Japanese Coronary-prone Behaviour Scale (JCBS) is a questionnaire developed by the Eastern Collaborative Group Study (ECGS), a multi-centre study of coronary-prone behaviour among Japanese men. Subscale C of the JCBS consists of 9 items that have been independently associated with the presence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients undergoing coronary angiography (CAG). There have been no reports of a relationship between any behavioural factor and the prognosis of CAD in Japan. The purpose of the current study was to investigate behavioural correlations with the prognosis of CAD as a part of the ECGS.
We examined the mortality and coronary events of 201 men (58 ± 10, 27-86 years) enrolled in the ECGS from 1990 to 1995, who underwent diagnostic coronary angiography and were administered the JCBS and the Japanese version of the Jenkins Activity Survey (JAS) Form C. Their health information after CAG was determined by a review of their medical records and by telephone interviews that took place from 2002 to 2003.
Cardiac events during the follow-up period (7.7 ± 4.2 years) included 13 deaths from CAD, 25 cases of new-onset myocardial infarction, 26 cases of percutaneous coronary intervention, and 19 cases of coronary artery bypass graft surgery. There was no difference in established risk factors between groups with and without cardiac events. Seven factors were extracted by principal component analysis in order to clarify which factors were measured by the JCBS. Stepwise multivariate Cox-hazard regression analysis, in which 9 standard coronary risk factors were forced into the model, showed that Factor 4 from the JCBS (namely, the Japanese spirit of ‘Wa’) was independently associated with coronary events (hazard ratio: 0.21; p = 0.01). By other Cox-hazards regression analyses of coronary events using each set of JAS scores and the JCBS Scale C score instead of Factor 4 as selectable variables, the JAS scores or the JCBS Scale C score were not entered into the models.
The Japanese spirit of ‘Wa’ is a preventive factor against coronary events for Japanese men with CAD.
PMCID: PMC4304146  PMID: 25621004
Coronary artery disease; Prognosis; Risk; Behavioural medicine; Psychosocial factor; Japanese
4.  Development of an ecological momentary assessment scale for appetite 
An understanding of eating behaviors is an important element of health education and treatment in clinical populations. To understand the biopsychosocial profile of eating behaviors in an ecologically valid way, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is appropriate because its use is able to overcome the recall bias in patient-reported outcomes (PROs). As appetite is a key PRO associated with eating behaviors, this study was done to develop an EMA scale to evaluate the within-individual variation of momentary appetite and uses this scale to discuss the relationships between appetite and various psychological factors.
Twenty healthy participants (age 23.6 ± 4.2 years old) wore a watch-type computer for a week. Several times a day, including just before and after meals, they recorded their momentary psychological stress, mood states, and ten items related to appetite. In addition, they recorded everything they ate and drank into a personal digital assistant (PDA)-based food diary. Multilevel factor analysis was used to investigate the factor structure of the scale, and the reliability and validity of the scale were also explored.
Multilevel factor analyses found two factors at the within-individual level (hunger/fullness and cravings) and one factor at the between-individual level. Medians for the individually calculated Cronbach’s alphas were 0.89 for hunger/fullness, 0.71 for cravings, and 0.86 for total appetite (the sum of all items). Hunger/fullness, cravings, and total appetite all decreased significantly after meals compared with those before meals, and hunger/fullness, cravings, and total appetite before meals were positively associated with energy intake. There were significant negative associations between both hunger/fullness and total appetite and anxiety and depression as well as between cravings, and depression, anxiety and stress.
The within-individual reliability of the EMA scale to assess momentary appetite was confirmed in most subjects and it was also validated as a useful tool to understand eating behaviors in daily settings. Further refinement of the scale is necessary and further investigations need to be conducted, particularly on clinical populations.
PMCID: PMC4302437  PMID: 25614760
Appetite; Ecological momentary assessment; Food diary; Multilevel factor analysis
5.  Absence of change in the gray matter volume of patients with ulcerative colitis in remission: a voxel based morphometry study 
Recent neuroimaging studies have investigated the brain involvement in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Functional studies found abnormalities in cognitive and emotional functions in CD and UC, while a voxel based morphometry (VBM) study found morphological changes in CD. We conducted a VBM study to compare the gray matter (GM) volume of UC patients and controls.
Eighteen UC patients in remission and eighteen healthy controls underwent structural MRI. VBM is a fully automated technique allowing identification of regional differences in the amount of GM, which enables an objective analysis of the whole brain. VBM was used for comparisons between patients and controls.
UC patients were all in remission and had a mild clinical course. There were no differences between patients and controls in GM volume.
The brain morphology of patients with UC in remission is similar to controls. The lack of GM abnormalities in UC patients might reflect the mild clinical course of the inflammatory bowel disorder. Further research involving patients with different degrees of disease severity or during flares could shed more light on potential brain structural changes in UC.
PMCID: PMC4302580  PMID: 25614759
Ulcerative Colitis; Voxel based morphometry; Gray matter volume
6.  Isometric yoga improves the fatigue and pain of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who are resistant to conventional therapy: a randomized, controlled trial 
Biopsychosocial Medicine  2014;8(1):27.
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) often complain of persistent fatigue even after conventional therapies such as pharmacotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or graded exercise therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate in a randomized, controlled trial the feasibility and efficacy of isometric yoga in patients with CFS who are resistant to conventional treatments.
This trial enrolled 30 patients with CFS who did not have satisfactory improvement after receiving conventional therapy for at least six months. They were randomly divided into two groups and were treated with either conventional pharmacotherapy (control group, n = 15) or conventional therapy together with isometric yoga practice that consisted of biweekly, 20-minute sessions with a yoga instructor and daily in-home sessions (yoga group, n = 15) for approximately two months. The short-term effect of isometric yoga on fatigue was assessed by administration of the Profile of Mood Status (POMS) questionnaire immediately before and after the final 20-minute session with the instructor. The long-term effect of isometric yoga on fatigue was assessed by administration of the Chalder’s Fatigue Scale (FS) questionnaire to both groups before and after the intervention. Adverse events and changes in subjective symptoms were recorded for subjects in the yoga group.
All subjects completed the intervention. The mean POMS fatigue score decreased significantly (from 21.9 ± 7.7 to 13.8 ± 6.7, P < 0.001) after a yoga session. The Chalder’s FS score decreased significantly (from 25.9 ± 6.1 to 19.2 ± 7.5, P = 0.002) in the yoga group, but not in the control group. In addition to the improvement of fatigue, two patients with CFS and fibromyalgia syndrome in the yoga group also reported pain relief. Furthermore, many subjects reported that their bodies became warmer and lighter after practicing isometric yoga. Although there were no serious adverse events in the yoga group, two patients complained of tiredness and one of dizziness after the first yoga session with the instructor.
Isometric yoga as an add-on therapy is both feasible and successful at relieving the fatigue and pain of a subset of therapy-resistant patients with CFS.
Trial registration
University Hospital Medical Information Network (UMIN CTR) UMIN000009646.
PMCID: PMC4269854  PMID: 25525457
Chronic fatigue syndrome; Isometric yoga; Fatigue; Treatment; Fibromyalgia
7.  Management of post-hyperventilation apnea during dental treatment under monitored anesthesia care with propofol 
Biopsychosocial Medicine  2014;8(1):26.
Although hyperventilation syndrome generally carries a good prognosis, it is associated with the risk of developing severe symptoms, such as post-hyperventilation apnea with hypoxemia and loss of consciousness. We experienced a patient who suffered from post-hyperventilation apnea. A 17-year-old female who suffered from hyperventilation syndrome for several years developed post-hyperventilation apnea after treatment using the paper bag rebreathing method and sedative administration during a dental procedure. We subsequently successfully provided her with monitored anesthesia care with propofol. Monitored anesthesia care with propofol may be effective for the general management of patients who have severe hyperventilation attacks and post-hyperventilation apnea. This case demonstrates that appropriate emergency treatment should be available for patients with hyperventilation attacks who are at risk of developing post-hyperventilation apnea associated with hypoxemia and loss of consciousness.
PMCID: PMC4260203  PMID: 25493097
Post-hyperventilation apnea; Propofol; Dental treatment
8.  Orthostatic responses in adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome: contributions from expectancies as well as gravity 
Orthostatic intolerance is common in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and several studies have documented an abnormal sympathetic predominance in the autonomic cardiovascular response to gravitational stimuli. The aim of this study was to explore whether the expectancies towards standing are contributors to autonomic responses in addition to the gravitational stimulus itself.
A total of 30 CFS patients (12–18 years of age) and 39 healthy controls underwent 20° head-up tilt test and a motor imagery protocol of standing upright. Beat-to-beat cardiovascular variables were recorded.
At supine rest, CFS patients had significantly higher heart rate, diastolic blood pressure, and mean arterial blood pressure, and lower stroke index and heart rate variability (HRV) indices. The response to 20° head-up tilt was identical in the two groups. The response to imaginary upright position was characterized by a stronger increase of HRV indices of sympathetic predominance (power in the low-frequency range as well as the ratio low-frequency: high-frequency power) among CFS patients.
These results suggest that in CFS patients expectancies towards orthostatic challenge might be additional determinants of autonomic cardiovascular modulation along with the gravitational stimulus per se.
PMCID: PMC4166398  PMID: 25237387
Adolescence; Autonomic nervous system; Chronic fatigue syndrome; Expectancies; Orthostatic intolerance
9.  Depressive symptoms of female nursing staff working in stressful environments and their association with serum creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase – a preliminary study 
The activity of creatine kinase (CK) in serum has recently been reported to be potentially associated with several types of depression. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether serum enzymes, including CK, vary even in a healthy population with depressive symptoms caused by work-related stress. We gave questionnaires and blood examinations to 93 healthy female nursing home workers and did an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the quantitative detection of CK isozyme muscle-type M chain (CK-MM) in serum.
Depressive symptoms were determined using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale and compared with the results of the blood examination and serum CK-MM levels. The CES-D results showed significant negative correlations with total CK and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities and CK-MM level (r = -0.29, p = 0.0062; r = -0.29, p = 0.0065; r = -0.33, p = 0.0016, respectively).
Total CK and LDH activities and serum CK-MM level appear to be associated with the depressive symptoms of healthy nurses working in stressful environments, although the significance level was relatively low. The simultaneous detection of serum CK and LDH activities or serum CK-MM level and LDH activity may be useful as an indicator of depressive symptoms, at least for female nursing staff with work-related stress.
PMCID: PMC4169250  PMID: 25243019
Creatine kinase; Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale; Depressive symptom; Healthy female nursing staff
10.  The outcome of treatment for anorexia nervosa inpatients who required urgent hospitalization 
This study was done to determine which psychosocial factors are related to the urgent hospitalization of anorexia nervosa patients (AN) due to extremely poor physical condition and to evaluate their outcome after inpatient treatment.
133 hospitalized AN patients were classified into an urgent hospitalization (n = 24) or a planned hospitalization (n = 109) group. Multiple regression analysis was done of clinical features, body mass index (BMI), psychological tests [The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), alexithymia, relationship with parents, and the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI)]. The effectiveness of treatment was prospectively determined two years after discharge by the Global Clinical Score (GCS). The hospitalized weight gain and the frequency of outpatient visits were evaluated.
Of the factors assessed, only BMI at admission was related to the necessity of urgent hospitalization (β = − 1.063, P = 0.00). The urgent group had significantly more weight loss after discharge and poorer social adaptation on the GCS, even when the patient had a sufficient increase in body weight during inpatient treatment and an equivalent number of outpatient consultations.
None of the parameters of the psychosocial tests studied were significantly different between the groups. The outcome of the urgent group was poor. Two years after discharge they had difficulty maintaining weight and continued to have poor social adaptation.
PMCID: PMC4163679  PMID: 25225574
Anorexia nervosa; Urgent hospitalization; Outcome; BMI; MMPI; EDI
11.  Development of a novel, short, self-completed questionnaire on empowerment for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and an analysis of factors affecting patient empowerment 
Patient empowerment has recently been proposed as an important concept in self-management for effective glycemic control. A concise self-completed questionnaire for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus was created to comprehensively evaluate their empowerment on the basis of self-managed dietary/exercise behaviors, psychological impact, and family support. The reliability and validity of this short questionnaire were tested and factors relating to patient empowerment were analyzed.
The self-completed empowerment questionnaire was based on questionnaires for self-managed dietary and exercise behaviors, the Appraisal of Diabetes Scale, and the Diabetes Family Behavior Checklist. The questionnaire was trialed on 338 male and female patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who lived with family. The validity and reliability of the questionnaire were investigated and stepwise multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify factors that affect patient empowerment.
The self-completed patient empowerment questionnaire included 13 questions on background data (e.g., age, gender, and HbA1c) and 18 questions within five scales to assess self-managed dietary behaviors, self-managed exercise behaviors, and psychological impact of diabetes, as well as positive and negative feedback in patient-family communication. The questionnaire showed sufficient internal consistency, construct validity, reproducibility, factorial construct validity, and concurrent validity. The results were generally satisfactory, and the questionnaire reflected the particular characteristics of treatment methods. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that patient empowerment was strongly affected by the number of disease-related symptoms, age, and gender.
The results suggest that the concise self-completed empowerment questionnaire developed here is useful for measuring the empowerment of individual patients and evaluating the impact of symptoms and therapies on empowerment.
PMCID: PMC4151376  PMID: 25183994
Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Empowerment questionnaire; Appraisal of diabetes scale; Diabetes family behavior checklist; Self-managed behavior
12.  Unhappiness and mortality: evidence from a middle-income Southeast Asian setting 
A relationship between happiness and mortality might seem obvious, but outside of affluent settings in developed countries there is almost no actual evidence that this is so.
We report our findings on happiness and mortality in Buddhist Southeast Asia. Our data are derived from a prospective nationwide cohort study of 60,569 Thai adults reporting in 2009 and followed up for all-cause mortality over the next four years (296 deaths). We also gathered data on a wide array of covariates and included these in the final model of the unhappiness-mortality effect. All final effect estimates were mutually adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and cohort members who reported being happy ‘little’ or ‘none of the time’ in 2009 were more likely to die (AOR 2.60, 95% Confidence Interval 1.17-5.80). Other significant covariates include being female (<40 years AOR 0.66, ≥40 years AOR 0.57), unmarried (AOR 1.64) and current smokers (AOR 2.45).
Our study provides empirical evidence that the epidemiological effect of happiness is not confined to affluent Western countries, but it also increases the probability of staying alive in a middle-income Asian country.
PMCID: PMC4126076  PMID: 25110517
Happiness; Mortality; Psychological wellbeing; Cohort study; Thailand
13.  Why do general practitioners prescribe antidepressants to their patients? A pilot study 
The frequency of antidepressant (ADs) prescription is high, with general practitioners (GPs) responsible for about 80% of the prescriptions. Some studies considered prescriptions meet DSM criteria, while others stress inadequate use. The importance of biological and psychosocial determinants of GP prescription behaviour remains little explored. We aimed to describe the importance of these biological and psychosocial determinants and their weight in the daily practice of GPs’.
During a week chosen at random, 28 GPs collected the AD prescriptions made within the previous six months, regardless of the reason for the patient contact. Bio psychosocial and AD treatment characteristics were recorded for all patients. In a random sample of 50 patients, patient characteristics were assessed via a structured face-to-face interview with the GP.
The frequency of AD prescription was 8.90% [3.94 -17.02]. The GPs initiated 65.6% [60.1-70.8] of the prescriptions. The rate of AD prescription for non-psychiatric conditions was 18%. Patients had from 1 to 9 conditions, showing a high level of multi-morbidity. There was a strong influence of past medical history and contextual problems, such as work related problems.
AD prescription is related to complex contextual situations and multi-morbid patients. GPs use a bio psycho social approach, rather than a purely biological assessment. Awareness of these influences could improve prescription by GPs.
PMCID: PMC4126991  PMID: 25110516
Antidepressants; Primary care; General practitioner; Prescription; Off label use
14.  Psychosocial perception of adults with onychomycosis: a blinded, controlled comparison of 1,017 adult Hong Kong residents with or without onychomycosis 
A survey was conducted amongst 1,017 Hong Kong residents ages 18 and over to determine their knowledge of fungal nail infections (onychomycosis) and the psychosocial impact of the disease on the relationships, social lives and careers of sufferers.
The Fungal Nail Perception Survey was conducted by email and online between May 29th and June 10th, 2013. Participants were shown three photographs of people with and without onychomycosis of the toenails. Respondents were asked ten questions (repeated for each picture) to ascertain their perceptions of the people in the pictures. Questions were related to perceptions around the ability of sufferers and non-sufferers to form relationships with others, social activities of sufferers and non-sufferers, perceptions of the effect of the disease on the potential for career success, and awareness of fungal nail disease and health. The sub-population who themselves suffered from onychomycosis were asked about self-perception as well as their perception of others with onychomycosis.
Compared with non-sufferers, survey respondents perceived those with onychomycosis as less likely to be able to form good relationships. They also indicated that they would be more likely to exclude sufferers than non-sufferers from social activities and that they would be more likely to feel uncomfortable when sitting or standing beside an infected person than beside an uninfected person. Respondents perceived people with onychomycosis to be less able to perform well in their chosen career than with someone without onychomycosis. Interestingly, those respondents who themselves were infected felt socially excluded, upset and embarrassed by their infection.
Onychomycosis may lead to stigmatization and social exclusion. Misconceptions of onychomycosis are high and education about the disease needs to be improved. Early recognition and treatment of the disease is essential to avoid complications and improve treatment outcomes, which would lead to reduced psychosocial impact on those with fungal nail infections.
PMCID: PMC4107486  PMID: 25057286
Onychomycosis; Hong Kong; Perception; Fungal nail infection; Psychosocial
15.  Effects of gender, age, family support, and treatment on perceived stress and coping of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus 
We previously found that the empowerment of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus can be strongly affected by gender and age in addition to self-managed diet and exercise behaviors and treatment. This study was to examine the effects of gender, age, family support, and treatment on the perceived stress and coping of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus living with family.
A survey was conducted of 140 adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus who were living with family. There was no significant difference in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) between male and female. Perceived stress and coping were measured with the Japanese version of the Appraisal of Diabetes Scale and the Lazarus Type Stress Coping Inventory. Stepwise regression analysis and path analysis were performed to identify factors that affect the perceived stress and coping of patients.
(1) Perceived stress and coping were strongly affected by gender. (2) Perceived stress and coping were affected by age for males, but perceived stress was not affected by age for females. However, females showed a greater “psychological impact of diabetes” than did males. Females aged between 50 and 69 years engaged in active problem solving, but awareness of diabetes was low. (3) Treatment regimens had an effect on HbA1c for both sexes, and diet therapy affected the awareness of diabetes of males and coping of females. (4) For females, “sense of self-control” was strongly associated with coping, and those who were living with non-spouse family members had a greater psychological impact of diabetes than those living with only their spouse. (5) For males, coping was strongly affected by living with their spouse.
The results suggest that perceived stress, coping, and diet regimen are deeply associated with gender and age and that a male with type 2 diabetes mellitus living with his spouse is strongly dependent on support from the spouse. It is important to take into account gender, age, and family environment to provide patients with an individualized approach to addressing perceived stress and to provide education program for coping that can maximize treatment and maintain better, continuous glycemic control.
PMCID: PMC4114439  PMID: 25075211
Appraisal of Diabetes Scale; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Stress Coping Inventory; Gender; Spouse
16.  Comparative survey of go/no-go results to identify the inhibitory control ability change of Japanese children 
This research, conducted in 1998 and 2008, uses go/no-go data to investigate the fundamentals of cognitive functioning in the inhibitory control ability of Japanese children. 844 subjects from kindergarten to junior high school participated in go/no-go task experiments. Performance of go/no-go tasks, which are frequently used to investigate response inhibition, measures a variety of cognitive components besides response inhibition. With normal brain development, the ability to inhibit responses improves substantially in adolescence. An increase over time in the error rate during the go/no-go tasks of subjects of the same age indicates that these processes are not functioning properly. Comparisons between the 1998 and 2008 data revealed several differences in error rates. In 2008, there were increases in the number of errors in groups from each age range. The comparison also revealed that overall error rates peaked at later ages in the 2008 subjects. Taken together, these results show changing conditions in the inhibitory function of the prefrontal cortex. However, the reason for these changing conditions remains unclear. While a lifestyle questionnaire revealed several differences in factors such as bedtimes and hours spent watching TV, analysis did not reveal a significant correlation.
PMCID: PMC4109780  PMID: 25061475
17.  Psychosocial distress and functioning of Greek youth with cystic fibrosis: a cross-sectional study 
To assess psychosocial functioning and distress of children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis compared to healthy controls.
Thirty-six patients with cystic fibrosis aged 8–18 years (24 boys, mean age ± SD: 11.5 ± 2.6 years) and 31 sex- and age-matched healthy control subjects (18 boys, mean age ± SD: 12 ± 2.5 years) were enrolled in the study. In order to assess the self-esteem, social adjustment, and family functioning of these young people, the Culture-free Self-esteem Inventory, the Social Adjustment Scale–Self-Report, and the Family Assessment Device were administered. Emotional/ behavioral problems were assessed through the Youth Self Report and the Child Behavior Checklist given to both the subjects and their parents.
No significant differences were found for self-esteem between the two study groups. Regarding social adjustment, children with cystic fibrosis reported significantly worse friendship and overall adjustment (P < 0.05). Moreover, no difference was found in the levels of family functioning between the two groups. No significant differences between the groups were found in emotional/ behavioral problems from the self-reports. On the contrary, parents of children with cystic fibrosis reported significantly higher levels of withdrawal/ depression, thought problems, and delinquent behavior (P ≤ 0.01) as compared to controls.
Children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis appear to be a psychosocially vulnerable group. A biopsychosocial approach should emphasize the assessment and treatment of the psychosocial distress of these patients alongside multiple somatic treatments.
PMCID: PMC4060862  PMID: 24940354
Children and adolescents; Cystic fibrosis; Family functioning; Psychopathology; Self-esteem; Social adjustment
18.  Modeling students’ instrumental (mis-) use of substances to enhance cognitive performance: Neuroenhancement in the light of job demands-resources theory 
Healthy university students have been shown to use psychoactive substances, expecting them to be functional means for enhancing their cognitive capacity, sometimes over and above an essentially proficient level. This behavior called Neuroenhancement (NE) has not yet been integrated into a behavioral theory that is able to predict performance. Job Demands Resources (JD-R) Theory for example assumes that strain (e.g. burnout) will occur and influence performance when job demands are high and job resources are limited at the same time. The aim of this study is to investigate whether or not university students’ self-reported NE can be integrated into JD-R Theory’s comprehensive approach to psychological health and performance.
1,007 students (23.56 ± 3.83 years old, 637 female) participated in an online survey. Lifestyle drug, prescription drug, and illicit substance NE together with the complete set of JD-R variables (demands, burnout, resources, motivation, and performance) were measured. Path models were used in order to test our data’s fit to hypothesized main effects and interactions.
JD-R Theory could successfully be applied to describe the situation of university students. NE was mainly associated with the JD-R Theory’s health impairment process: Lifestyle drug NE (p < .05) as well as prescription drug NE (p < .001) is associated with higher burnout scores, and lifestyle drug NE aggravates the study demands-burnout interaction. In addition, prescription drug NE mitigates the protective influence of resources on burnout and on motivation.
According to our results, the uninformed trying of NE (i.e., without medical supervision) might result in strain. Increased strain is related to decreased performance. From a public health perspective, intervention strategies should address these costs of non-supervised NE. With regard to future research we propose to model NE as a means to reach an end (i.e. performance enhancement) rather than a target behavior itself. This is necessary to provide a deeper understanding of the behavioral roots and consequences of the phenomenon.
PMCID: PMC4046050  PMID: 24904687
Neuroenhancement; Study demands; Burnout; Job demands resources theory; Students
19.  Possible benefits of singing to the mental and physical condition of the elderly 
The evaluation and management of stress are important for the prevention of both depression and cardiovascular disease. In addition, the maintenance of the oral condition of the elderly is essential to enable them to stay healthy, especially to prevent aspiration pneumonia and improve mental health in an aging society. Therefore, we examined the efficacy of singing on the oral condition, mental health status, and immunity of the elderly to determine if singing could contribute to the improvement of their physical condition.
Forty-four subjects (10 men, 34 women), aged 60 years or older, participated in this study. The efficacy of singing on mental health status and immunocompetence was examined by swallowing function, oral condition, blood, and saliva tests, as well as through questionnaires taken before and after singing.
The results showed that the amount of saliva increased and the level of cortisol, a salivary stress marker, decreased after singing. The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores for feeling refreshed, comfortable, pleasurable, light-hearted, relieved, and relaxed; the tension and confusion subscale score; and the total mood disturbance (TMD) score of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) all showed improvements. Furthermore, the same tendencies were shown regardless of whether or not the subjects liked singing.
Our results suggest that singing can be effective in improving the mental health and oral condition of the elderly.
PMCID: PMC4033614  PMID: 24864162
20.  Gastrointestinal specific anxiety in irritable bowel syndrome: validation of the Japanese version of the visceral sensitivity index for university students 
The visceral sensitivity index (VSI) is a useful self-report measure of the gastrointestinal symptom-specific anxiety (GSA) of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Previous research has shown that worsening GSA in IBS patients is related to the severity of GI symptoms, suggesting that GSA is an important endpoint for intervention. However, there is currently no Japanese version of the VSI. We therefore translated the VSI into Japanese (VSI-J) and verified its reliability and validity.
Material and methods
Participants were 349 university students aged 18 and 19 years and recruited from an academic class. We analyzed data from the VSI-J, Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI), Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Severity Index (IBS-SI). The internal consistency, stability, and factor structure of the VSI-J and its associations with anxiety, depression and severity measures were investigated.
The factor structure of the VSI-J is unidimensional and similar to that of the original VSI (Cronbach’s α = 0.93). Construct validity was demonstrated by significant correlations with ASI (r = 0.43, p < 0.0001), HAD-ANX (r = 0.19, p = 0.0003), and IBS-SI scores (r = 0.45, p < 0.0001). Furthermore, the VSI-J was a significant predictor of severity scores on the IBS-SI and demonstrated good discriminant (p < 0.0001) and incremental (p < 0.0001) validity.
These findings suggest that the VSI-J is a reliable and valid measure of visceral sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3994456  PMID: 24655428
Gastrointestinal-specific anxiety; Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); Motility; Psychosomatics; Validation; Visceral Sensitivity Index (VSI)
21.  High correlation between salivary cortisol awakening response and the psychometric profiles of healthy children 
Cortisol awakening response (CAR) as an indicator of psychological stress and related physical and psychiatric diseases has attracted growing attention from researchers. Although CAR changes have been investigated extensively in children with behavioral and psychiatric disorders, the association between CAR and conventional psychometric scales for healthy children has not been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between salivary CAR and subscales of Profiles of Mood States (POMS), a self-assessment questionnaire widely used to evaluate the temporal emotional states of healthy children.
This study included 18 healthy girls aged 13–16 years. Saliva was collected immediately on awakening, 30 min and 60 min after waking, and then at 2-hour intervals from 9 am to 5 pm. The current mood state, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, and other psychometric profiles were assessed using POMS. The magnitude of salivary CAR and the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) for diurnal salivary cortisol were compared with the profiles. There were significant positive correlations between the magnitude of CAR and the POMS subscales for "Depression-Dejection", "Tension-Anxiety", "Fatigue", and "Confusion". No correlation was found between the AUC salivary cortisol level and the psychometric profiles.
Salivary CAR was associated with various mood states of healthy female children but diurnal salivary cortisol AUC was not. Salivary CAR may be a biomarker of the physical and mental condition of healthy female children.
PMCID: PMC3995602  PMID: 24625309
Cortisol awakening response; Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis; Saliva; Children
22.  Reviewer acknowledgement 2013 
Contributing reviewers
The editors of BioPsychoSocial Medicine would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 7 (2013).
PMCID: PMC3932729  PMID: 24565380
23.  Rational/antiemotional behaviors in interpersonal relationships and the functional prognosis of patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a Japanese multicenter, longitudinal study 
The repression of negative emotions is a personality factor that received considerable attention in the 1950-60s as being relevant to the onset and course of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Despite subsequent, repeated criticisms of the cross-sectional nature of the earlier studies, even to date few prospective studies have been reported on this issue. This multicenter study prospectively examined if “rational and antiemotional” behavior (antiemotionality), characterized by an extreme tendency to suppress emotional behaviors and to rationalize negative experiences in conflicting interpersonal situations, is associated with the functional prognosis of patients with RA.
532 patients with RA who regularly visited one of eight hospitals/clinics in Japan in 2000 were recruited for study. All completed a self-administered baseline questionnaire about lifestyle and psychosocial factors including antiemotionality. Two years after, 460 (mean age, 56.1 years; 54 men and 406 women) of 471 patients who continued to visit the clinics agreed to take the follow-up questionnaire. The functional status of the patients was evaluated by rheumatologists based on the ACR classification system.
A multiple logistic regression model that included baseline demographic, disease activity/severity-related, therapeutic, and socioeconomic factors as covariates found a tendency toward higher antiemotionality to be related to poorer functional status at follow-up. This relationship was not explained by lifestyle factors.
Antiemotionality may be a prognostic factor for the functional status of patients with RA. This finding sheds light on a seemingly forgotten issue in the care of patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC3941968  PMID: 24565416
Rheumatoid arthritis; Psychological stress; Personality; Emotions; Function; Prospective studies
24.  Acupuncture and moxibustion for stress-related disorders 
Acupuncture and moxibustion, which medical doctors are licensed by the government of Japan to perform, can improve the psychological relationship between doctors and patients, especially when it is disturbed by a “game”, a dysfunctional interpersonal interaction that is repeated unintentionally. This advantage is due to the essential properties of acupuncture and moxibustion. Acupuncture and moxibustion are helpful in treating somatoform disorders, especially musculoskeletal symptoms. In Japan, a holistic acupuncture and moxibustion therapy called Sawada-style has been developed. This is based on fundamental meridian points that are considered to have effects on central, autonomic nervous, immune, metabolic, and endocrine systems to regulate the whole body balance. In addition, some of the fundamental points have effects on Qi, blood, and water patterns associated with major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorders, and somatoform disorders. The fixed protocol of Sawada-style would be suitable for large-scale, randomized, controlled studies in the future. Recent systematic reviews indicate that electroacupuncture would be a useful addition to antidepressant therapy for some symptoms accompanying fibromyalgia. Acupuncture and moxibustion are also recommended for irritable bowel syndrome, instead of Western drug therapy. Surprisingly, the dorsal prefrontal cerebral cortex, which is associated with a method of scalp acupuncture applied for gastrointestinal disorders, has been found to be activated in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. It is quite possible that regulation of this cortical area is related to the effect of scalp acupuncture. This acupuncture method can be effective not only for irritable bowel syndrome but also for other stress-related gastrointestinal disorders.
PMCID: PMC3903561  PMID: 24456818
Acupuncture; Moxibustion; Stress; Fibromyalgia; Functional gastrointestinal disorder; Irritable bowel syndrome; Autonomic nervous system; Hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal axis; Sawada-style holistic therapy
25.  Kampo medicine for palliative care in Japan 
Kampo medicines are currently manufactured under strict quality controls. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan has approved 148 Kampo formulas. There is increasing evidence for the efficacy of Kampo medicines, and some are used clinically for palliative care in Japan. The specific aim of this review is to evaluate the clinical use of Kampo medicines in palliative care in the treatment of cancer. The conclusions are as follows: Juzentaihoto inhibits the progression of liver tumors in a dose-dependent manner and contributes to long-term survival. Hochuekkito has clinical effects on cachexia for genitourinary cancer and improves the QOL and immunological status of weak patients, such as postoperative patients. Daikenchuto increases intestinal motility and decreases the postoperative symptoms of patients with total gastrectomy with jejunal pouch interposition, suppresses postoperative inflammation following surgery for colorectal cancer, and controls radiation-induced enteritis. Rikkunshito contributes to the amelioration of anorectic conditions in cancer cachexia-anorexia syndrome. Goshajinkigan and Shakuyakukanzoto reduce the neurotoxicity of patients with colorectal cancer who undergo oxaliplatin and FOLFOX (5-fluorouracil/folinic acid plus oxaliplatin) therapy. Hangeshashinto has the effect of preventing and alleviating diarrhea induced by CPT-11(irinotecan) and combination therapy with S-1/CPT-11. O’rengedokuto significantly improves mucositis caused by anticancer agents.
PMCID: PMC3901338  PMID: 24447861
Kampo medicine; Palliative care; Cachexia; Chemotherapy

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