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1.  The effectiveness of the Uchida-Kraepelin test for psychological stress: an analysis of plasma and salivary stress substances 
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and sympathetic adrenomedullary (SAM) system are the major stress-response pathways. Plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) represents HPA axis activity, while plasma catecholamines are used as markers of the SAM system. Salivary alpha amylase (AA), chromogranin A (CgA), and immunoglobulin A (IgA) are candidate markers of stress activation, although their role has not been established. The Uchida-Kraepelin (U-K) test is a questionnaire that requires intense concentration and effort, and has been used as a tool to induce mental stress. However, it is not clear whether or not the test is effective as a psychological/mental stressor.
In this study, normal young women took the U-K test and serial measurements of plasma ACTH and catecholamines (dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline) (n = 10), as well as salivary AA, CgA, and IgA (n = 16) before, during and after the test.
We found no changes in any of these parameters at any time point during or after the U-K test.
Our findings indicate that the U-K test is not a suitable for measuring the psychological/mental stress of young women because the plasma data showed that it did not affect the HPA axis and SAM system. The U-K test should be employed carefully as a psychological/mental stressor due to insufficient scientific evidence of its effectiveness. In addition, salivary AA, CgA, and IgA should not simply be compared with previous reports, because the mechanism of secretion and normal range of each salivary parameter remain unknown. Salivary AA, CgA, and IgA may not be suitable candidate markers of psychological/mental stress.
PMCID: PMC2679058  PMID: 19341484
2.  Response of spinal myoclonus to a combination therapy of autogenic training and biofeedback 
Clinical evidence indicates that certain types of movement disorders are due to psychosomatic factors. Patients with myoclonic movements are usually treated by a variety of therapeutic agents. Autogenic training (AT), a recognized form of psychosomatic therapies, is suitable for certain types of neurological diseases. We describe a patient with myoclonus who failed to respond to conventional medical therapy. His symptoms were exaggerated by psychogenic factors, especially anger.
Case presentation
A 42-year-old man was admitted to our hospital, Preventive Welfare Clinic, for severe paroxysmal axial myoclonus of the left shoulder and abdominal muscles. The initial diagnosis was "combination of spinal segmental myoclonus and propriospinal myoclonus". The myoclonic movements did not occur during sleep but were aggravated by bathing, alcohol drinking, and anger. Psychological examination indicated hostile attribution. Although considered not to be a case of psychogenic myoclonus, a "psychogenic factor" was definitely involved in the induction of the organic myoclonus. The final diagnosis was "combination of spinal segmental myoclonus and propriospinal myoclonus accompanied by features of psychosomatic disorders". The patient underwent psychosomatic therapy including AT and surface electromyography (EMG)-biofeedback therapy and treatment with clonazepam and carbamazepine.
AT and EMG-biofeedback resulted in shortening the duration and reducing the amplitude and frequency of the myoclonic discharges.
Psychosomatic therapy with AT and surface EMG-biofeedback produced excellent improvement of myoclonic movements and allowed the reduction of the dosage of conventional medications.
PMCID: PMC2173903  PMID: 17931427

Results 1-2 (2)