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1.  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
2.  Effect of day-to-day variations in adrenal cortex hormone levels on abdominal symptoms 
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is known to be related to abdominal symptoms, and the relationship between abdominal pain and cortisol secretory patterns has been previously investigated using a cross-sectional approach. Here, we investigated the effect of day-to-day variations in salivary cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate levels on abdominal symptoms in healthy individuals.
Eleven college students (4 males and 7 females) participated in this study. The participants were asked to collect their saliva immediately after awakening and before bedtime for eight consecutive days. They also completed a questionnaire about abdominal symptoms before bedtime. The linear mixed model was applied to analyze the effects of the day-by-day variability or the 8-day average adrenal hormone level (at awakening, before bedtime, slope from awakening to bedtime) on abdominal symptoms.
The day-to-day variability of cortisol levels before bedtime was negatively related with loose stool, while the day-to-day variability of the cortisol slope was positively correlated with loose stool. A low 8-day average dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate level at awakening was positively related with frequent bowel movements, loose stool, and long bouts of severe abdominal pain. Likewise, a low 8-day average dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate slope was positively related with long bouts of abdominal pain.
Low cortisol levels before bedtime and a steeper diurnal cortisol slope during the day may be related to bouts of diarrhea during the day.
PMCID: PMC2848621  PMID: 20298587
3.  Relationship between cognitive appraisals of symptoms and negative mood for subtypes of irritable bowel syndrome 
The onset and course of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are strongly influenced by psychological factors, and treatment often includes cognitive-behavioral therapy. We conducted a study of the relationships between cognitive appraisal of IBS symptoms and negative mood for the subtypes of IBS.
The participants were 1087 college students who completed a set of questionnaires that included the Rome II Modular Questionnaire, Self-reported IBS Questionnaire, Cognitive Appraisal Rating Scale, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
The participants included 206 individuals with IBS; 61 had diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBSD) and 45 had constipation-predominant IBS (IBSC). The overall IBS group scored higher on anxiety and depression than the control group. The IBSD and IBSC groups each had significantly higher scores for anxiety but did not significantly differ from the control group in scores for depression. There were no significant differences between the IBSD and IBSC groups in their cognitive appraisal of IBS symptoms. For the IBSD group, anxiety was significantly, positively correlated with commitment, effect, and threat, and depression was significantly, negatively correlated with controllability. In contrast, there were no significant correlations between mood and cognitive appraisal for the IBSC group. Multiple regression analyses with abdominal symptoms as dependent variables and cognitive appraisals as independent variables showed that for the IBSD group, abdominal pain was significantly, positively correlated with commitment, and abdominal discomfort was significantly, positively correlated with appraisal of effect and threat. For the IBSC group, abdominal pain and hard stool were significantly, positively correlated with commitment, and abdominal discomfort was significantly, positively correlated with appraisal of effect and threat.
IBS patients as a general group report high levels of anxiety and depression. However, IBSD and IBSC were both associated only with high anxiety, but not depression, when compared to the non-IBS control group. For the IBSD group, anxiety was associated with cognitive appraisals, but this association was not found for the IBSC group. These groups did not differ in their associated cognitive appraisals, and are similar in terms of the positive relationship between abdominal pain and discomfort and the cognitive appraisals of coping.
PMCID: PMC2323019  PMID: 18394202

Results 1-3 (3)