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1.  Comparison of temporal changes in psychological distress after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation among the underlying diseases of Japanese adult patients 
Background
Although hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) can potentially cure some hematological malignancies, patients who undergo HSCT experience psychological distress. However, there have been few studies on the short-term influence of HSCT on psychological distress.
Methods
The subjects were 71 patients with hematological malignancies who underwent HSCT: 33 with acute leukemia, 19 with chronic leukemia, nine with myelodysplastic syndrome, and 10 with malignant lymphoma. Psychological distress was assessed prior to HSCT and on the seventh day after HSCT using the Profile of Mood States (POMS).
Results
With regard to Anger-Hostility, the interaction of time (pre- and post-HSCT) and group (the four groups) was significant in male patients (p = 0.04), but not in female patients. With regard to the other subscales of POMS, there was no significant main effect or interaction in male or female patients.
Conclusion
It may be important to provide psychological support to patients throughout the period of HSCT in consideration of differences in mood changes associated with the underlying disease and patient sex in order to provide efficient psychiatric intervention for both better psychiatric and survival outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-24
PMCID: PMC2603014  PMID: 19025589
2.  Panic disorder and locomotor activity 
Background
Panic disorder is one of the anxiety disorders, and anxiety is associated with some locomotor activity changes such as "restlessness". However, there have been few studies on locomotor activity in panic disorder using actigraphy, although many studies on other psychiatric disorders have been reported using actigraphy. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between panic disorder and locomotor activity pattern using a wrist-worn activity monitor. In addition, an ecological momentary assessment technique was used to record panic attacks in natural settings.
Methods
Sixteen patients with panic disorder were asked to wear a watch-type computer as an electronic diary for recording panic attacks for two weeks. In addition, locomotor activity was measured and recorded continuously in an accelerometer equipped in the watch-type computer. Locomotor activity data were analyzed using double cosinor analysis to calculate mesor and the amplitude and acrophase of each of the circadian rhythm and 12-hour harmonic component. Correlations between panic disorder symptoms and locomotor activity were investigated.
Results
There were significant positive correlations between the frequency of panic attacks and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.55) and between HAM-A scores and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.62).
Conclusion
Panic disorder patients with more panic attacks and more anxiety have greater objectively assessed locomotor activity, which may reflect the "restlessness" of anxiety disorders.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-23
PMCID: PMC2596169  PMID: 19017383
3.  General practitioners' responses to the initial presentation of medically unexplained symptoms: a quantitative analysis 
Background
Physicians in primary and secondary care are frequently confronted with patients with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). In order to solve their patients' problems and out of a fear of overlooking a serious disease, many physicians give their patients full physical examinations and interventions, thereby incorrectly confirming the somatic nature of their condition. Preventing somatization could be achieved by examining the patient's symptom presentation for clues to underlying psychosocial issues and by an appropriate physician response.
Methods
Ninety-seven videotaped medical visits from primary care patients presenting MUS for the first time were analyzed. Patients' presentations were categorized in: (1) symptoms only; (2) symptoms with a clue to an underlying concern; or (3) symptoms with an explicit concern. General practitioners' (GPs') responses to patients' presentation were classified into ignoring or more or less exploring responses. Exploring responses were further subdivided in non-directional explorations, clue explorations and medical explorations.
Results
Results show that most patients presented their symptoms together with a reference to an underlying concern. Yet, most of them did so in an implicit way. GPs usually explored the concern presented by the patients, but most often in a medical way only.
Conclusion
To address the potential psychological basis of patients' medically unexplained symptoms, GPs should pay more attention to the specific clues patients present to them. Likewise, in order to receive full attention, patients should try to present their concerns more explicitly.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-22
PMCID: PMC2596168  PMID: 19014616
4.  The ventro-medial prefrontal cortex: a major link between the autonomic nervous system, regulation of emotion, and stress reactivity? 
Recent progress in neuroscience revealed diverse regions of the CNS which moderate autonomic and affective responses. The ventro-medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) plays a key role in these regulations. There is evidence that vmPFC activity is associated with cardiovascular changes during a motor task that are mediated by parasympathetic activity. Moreover, vmPFC activity makes important contributions to regulations of affective and stressful situations.
This review selectively summarizes literature in which vmPFC activation was studied in healthy subjects as well as in patients with affective disorders. The reviewed literature suggests that vmPFC activity plays a pivotal role in biopsychosocial processes of disease. Activity in the vmPFC might link affective disorders, stressful environmental conditions, and immune function.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-21
PMCID: PMC2590602  PMID: 18986513
5.  Changes in salivary physiological stress markers induced by muscle stretching in patients with irritable bowel syndrome 
Background
Psychophysiological processing has been reported to play a crucial role in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but there has been no report on modulation of the stress marker chromogranin A (CgA) resulting from muscle stretching. We hypothesized that abdominal muscle stretching as a passive operation would have a beneficial effect on a biochemical index of the activity of the sympathetic/adrenomedullary system (salivary CgA) and anxiety.
Methods
Fifteen control and eighteen untreated IBS subjects underwent experimental abdominal muscle stretching for 4 min. Subjects relaxed in a supine position with their knees fully flexed while their pelvic and trunk rotation was passively and slowly moved from 0 degrees of abdominal rotation to about 90 degrees or the point where the subject reported feeling discomfort.
Changes in the Gastrointestinal Symptoms Rating Scale (GSRS), State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS), ordinate scale and salivary CgA levels were compared between controls and IBS subjects before and after stretching. A three-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) with period (before vs. after) as the within-subject factor and group (IBS vs. Control), and sex (men vs. female) as the between-subject factors was carried out on salivary CgA.
Results
CgA showed significant interactions between period and groups (F[1, 31] = 4.89, p = 0.03), and between groups and sex (F[1, 31] = 4.73, p = 0.03). Interactions between period and sex of CgA secretion were not shown (F[1, 3] = 2.60, p = 0.12). At the baseline, salivary CgA in IBS subjects (36.7 ± 5.9 pmol/mg) was significantly higher than in controls (19.9 ± 5.5 pmol/mg, p < 0.05). After the stretching, salivary CgA significantly decreased in the IBS group (25.5 ± 4.5 pmol/mg), and this value did not differ from that in controls (18.6 ± 3.9 pmol/mg).
Conclusion
Our results suggest the possibility of improving IBS pathophysiology by passive abdominal muscle stretching as indicated by CgA, a biochemical index of the activity of the sympathetic/adrenomedullary system.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-20
PMCID: PMC2588633  PMID: 18983682
6.  The reliability and validity of a Japanese version of symptom checklist 90 revised 
Objective
To examine the validity and reliability of a Japanese version of the Symptom Checklist 90 Revised (SCL-90-R (J)).
Methods
The English SCL-90-R was translated to Japanese and the Japanese version confirmed by back-translation. To determine the factor validity and internal consistency of the nine primary subscales, 460 people from the community completed SCL-90-R(J). Test-retest reliability was examined for 104 outpatients and 124 healthy undergraduate students. The convergent-discriminant validity was determined for 80 inpatients who replied to both SCL-90-R(J) and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
Results
The correlation coefficients between the nine primary subscales and items were .26 to .78. Cronbach's alpha coefficients were from .76 (Phobic Anxiety) to .86 (Interpersonal Sensitivity). Pearson's correlation coefficients between test-retest scores were from .81 (Psychoticism) to .90 (Somatization) for the outpatients and were from .64 (Phobic Anxiety) to .78 (Paranoid Ideation) for the students. Each of the nine primary subscales correlated well with their corresponding constructs in the MMPI.
Conclusion
We confirmed the validity and reliability of SCL-90-R(J) for the measurement of individual distress. The nine primary subscales were consistent with the items of the original English version.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-19
PMCID: PMC2582234  PMID: 18957078
7.  High-utilizing Crohn's disease patients under psychosomatic therapy* 
Objective
Few studies have been published on health care utilization in Crohn's disease and the influence of psychological treatment on high utilizers.
Methods
The present sub study of a prospective multi center investigation conducted in 87 of 488 consecutive Crohn's disease (CD) patients was designed to investigate the influence of the course of Crohn's disease on health care utilization (hospital days (HD) and sick leave days (SLD) collected by German insurance companies) and to examine the conditions of high-utilizing patients. Predictors of health care utilization should be selected. Based on a standardized somatic treatment, high health care utilizing patients of the psychotherapy and control groups should be compared before and after a one-year treatment.
Results
Multivariate regression analysis identified disease activity at randomization as an important predictor of the clinical course (r2 = 0.28, p < 0.01). Health care utilization correlated with duration of disease (p < 0.04), but the model was not significant (r2 = 0.15, p = 0.09). The patients' level of anxiety, depression and lack of control at randomization predicted their health-related quality of life at the end of the study (r2 = 0.51, p < 0.00001). Interestingly, steroid intake and depression (t1) predicted the combined outcome measure (clinical course, HRQL, health care utilization) of Crohn's disease at the end of the study (r2 = 0.22, p < 0.001).
Among high utilizers, a significantly greater drop in HD (p < 0.03) and in mean in SLD were found in the treatment compared to the control group.
Conclusion
The course of Crohn's disease is influenced by psychological as well as somatic factors; especially depression seems important here. A significant drop of health care utilization demonstrates the benefit of psychological treatment in the subgroup of high-utilizing CD patients. Further studies are needed to replicate the findings of the clinical outcome in this CD subgroup.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-18
PMCID: PMC2579292  PMID: 18851749
8.  The relationship between health-related quality of life and social networks among Japanese family caregivers for people with disabilities 
Aims
The purpose of this study was to examine HRQOL depending on whether the participants have family members with disabilities or not. In addition, we examined the relationship between HRQOL and social networks among family caregivers in Japan.
Methods
The study has a cross-sectional design. Survey forms were distributed to 9205 people aged 30 and older who visited a dispensing pharmacy within fifteen areas of Japan. We collected data on gender, age, job status, and care giving status for persons with disabilities. Moreover, we assessed support size, social support, and HRQOL. Out of the 2029 questionnaires returned, 1763 (male: 663, female: 1100, mean age = 63.06 ± 13.34) were valid for statistical analyses (the available response rate was 19.15%).
Results
A significant difference in HRQOL was identified between family caregivers and non-family caregivers. Further, in males (N = 101), the results confirmed that only social support predicted the PCS and MCS scores, while other variables did not predict either score. On the other hand, in females (N = 144), it was found from the second step of hierarchical multiple regression analysis that only age explained the PCS score, while job status and support size explained the MCS score.
Conclusion
It is reasonable to conclude that the HRQOL of family caregivers was lower than that of non-family caregivers, and that the HRQOL of family caregivers was estimated by their social networks.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-17
PMCID: PMC2569038  PMID: 18828912
9.  A prospective study of the psychobehavioral factors responsible for a change from non-patient irritable bowel syndrome to IBS patient status 
Background
To investigate non-patient irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) change to IBS and to determine factors predictive of the onset of IBS, individual biological factors, psychological factors, behavioral factors, and environmental factors were examined.
Methods
The subjects were 105 non-patient IBS (male = 59, female = 46, average age:21.49 ± 2.37), including 68 of the diarrhea-predominant type and 37 of the constipation-predominant type selected from 1,409 university and technical college students by use of a questionnaire based on the Rome II diagnostic criteria. The subjects were followed for three years, and various characteristics and IBS symptoms were serially observed (12 times). The IBS incidence rate was calculated.
Results
During the three years, 37 non-patient IBS (35.24%) changed to IBS: 28 diarrhea-predominant type and 9 constipation-predominant type. All IBS symptoms disappeared in 26 non-patient IBS subjects (24.76%). According to quantification method II (discriminant analysis), seven factors (stressor, two kinds of stress coping styles, cognitive appraisal, eating habits, sleeping time, and psychologically abuse) were adopted as a predictive model for IBS incidence and were confirmed as predictive of IBS.
Conclusion
The results of this research show that non-patient IBS is a changeable state that can change into IBS or persons without symptoms. Most of the non-patient IBS subjects who became asymptomatic had had symptoms for six months or less. Furthermore, the longer a non-patient IBS subject had symptoms, the higher the risk of a change to IBS became. The findings suggest the usefulness of identifying and approaching non-patient IBS as early as possible to prevent the onset of IBS. It must be noted that the persons surveyed in the present study had only the diarrhea-predominant and constipation-predominant types. Therefore, the findings of the present study are limited only these two types. Further study including the mixed type is needed.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-16
PMCID: PMC2564973  PMID: 18817571
10.  In the shadow of the welfare society ill-health and symptoms, psychological exposure and lifestyle habits among social security recipients: a national survey study 
Background
In Sweden social security is a means-tested financial allowance. The Social Services Act states that an individual is entitled to financial support when his/her needs are not met in any other way. The aim of the present study was to analyse the prevalence and impact of various illness factors and symptoms in social security recipients compared to non-recipients in a welfare state, in this case Sweden.
Methods
A simple random sample of 20 100 individuals was selected from a national survey that covered all individuals in the 18–84 year age group in Sweden. A postal survey was thereafter conducted. Multiple logistic regression was employed as a statistical test. Odds ratio (OR) and a 95% confidence interval (CI) was used.
Results
Social security recipients were found to have a significantly higher risk in most of the studied variables. Reduced psychological wellbeing measured by means of the GHQ12 was significantly higher in this group compared to the rest of the population (OR 1.41 CI 1.03–1.94) and their lack of trust was greater (OR 1.96, CI 1.45–2.66). They reported more sleep disturbances (OR 2.16, CI 1.58–2.94) and suffered from anxiety (OR 1.74, CI 1.28–2.36). Their dental health was worse (OR 2.44, CI 1.82–3.28) and they had more pain in their hands and legs (OR 1.57, CI 1.16–2.12). Social security recipients were more often humiliated (OR 1.79, CI 1.31–2.44) and exposed to threat (OR 1.69, CI 1.09–2.61). They were less physically active (OR 1.56, CI 1.17–2.08), had a poorer diet (OR 1.95, CI 1.45–2.63) and were more often smokers (OR 3.20, CI 2.37–4.33).
Implication
The challenge for the welfare state consists of recognising the significance of both structural and lifestyle factors as a means of reducing the health gap.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-15
PMCID: PMC2556693  PMID: 18808701
11.  Stress and psychological factors before a migraine attack: A time-based analysis 
Background
The objective of this study is to examine the stress and mood changes of Japanese subjects over the 1–3 days before a migraine headache.
Methods
The study participants were 16 patients with migraines who consented to participate in this study. Each subject kept a headache diary four times a day for two weeks. They evaluated the number of stressful events, daily hassles, domestic and non-domestic stress, anxiety, depressive tendency and irritability by visual analog scales. The days were classified into migraine days, pre-migraine days, buffer days and control days based on the intensity of the headaches and accompanying symptoms, and a comparative study was conducted for each factor on the migraine days, pre-migraine days and control days.
Results
The stressful event value of pre-migraine days showed no significant difference compared to other days. The daily hassle value of pre-migraine days was the highest and was significantly higher than that of buffer days. In non-domestic stress, values on migraine days were significantly higher than on other days, and there was no significant difference between pre-migraine days and buffer days or between pre-migraine days and control days. There was no significant difference in the values of domestic stress between the categories. In non-domestic stress, values on migraine days were significantly higher than other days, and there was no significant difference between pre-migraine days and buffer days or between pre-migraine days and control days.
There was little difference in sleep quality on migraine and pre-migraine days, but other psychological factors were higher on migraine days than on pre-migraine days.
Conclusion
Psychosocial stress preceding the onset of migraines by several days was suggested to play an important role in the occurrence of migraines. However, stress 2–3 days before a migraine attack was not so high as it has been reported to be in the United States and Europe. There was no significant difference in the values of psychological factors between pre-migraine days and other days.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-14
PMCID: PMC2556692  PMID: 18799013
12.  Application of ecological momentary assessment in stress-related diseases 
Many physical diseases have been reported to be associated with psychosocial factors. In these diseases, assessment relies mainly on subjective symptoms in natural settings. Therefore, it is important to assess symptoms and/or relationships between psychosocial factors and symptoms in natural settings. Symptoms are usually assessed by self-report when patients visit their doctors. However, self-report by recall has an intrinsic problem; "recall bias". Recently, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) has been proposed as a reliable method to assess and record events and subjective symptoms as well as physiological and behavioral variables in natural settings. Although EMA is a useful method to assess stress-related diseases, it has not been fully acknowledged, especially by clinicians. Therefore, the present brief review introduces the application and future direction of EMA for the assessment and intervention for stress-related diseases.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-13
PMCID: PMC2475521  PMID: 18616833
13.  Effects of antidepressant treatment on heart rate variability in major depression: A quantitative review 
Background
The literature measuring effects of antidepressant and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for major depression on heart rate variability (HRV) in medically well individuals was reviewed.
Methods
Fourteen studies evaluating HRV were included. Twenty three pre-post or within group comparisons were available. Treatment impact on measures of HRV was pooled over studies. We examined different classes of antidepressants, and for short and long electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings separately.
Results
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) were associated with declines in most measures of HRV and significant increase in heart rate (HR) in studies with short recording intervals. No significant changes were found for longer recording times.
Treatment effects with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were more variable. Short-recording studies revealed a significant decrease in HR and an increase in one HRV measure. In two 24-hour recording studies no significant changes were observed. No relationship between ECT and HRV has been established in the literature. The effects of other drugs are reported.
Limitations
Few studies measure the effects of treatment of depression on HRV. Existing studies have generally used very small samples, employing a variety of measurements and methodologies.
Conclusion
We confirm that TCAs are associated with a large decrease in HRV and increase HR. However, data for SSRIs is not clear. Although the effect of SSRIs on HRV is weaker than for TCAs, evidence shows that SSRIs are associated with a small decrease in HR, and an increase in one measure of HRV. The use of TCAs in depression leads to changes in HRV that are associated with increased risk of mortality.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-12
PMCID: PMC2478652  PMID: 18590531
14.  Does psychological status influence clinical outcomes in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other chronic gastroenterological diseases: An observational cohort prospective study 
Background
Whether there is a temporal relationship between psychological problems and clinical outcomes in patients with diseases of the digestive tract has not been widely researched. Thus, our aims were 1) To observe and compare prospectively clinical outcomes in relation to psychological co-morbidity in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic hepatitis C (HCV) and, 2) To test the hypothesis that patients with psychological co-morbidities are less likely to have a satisfactory response to standard treatment at 12 months.
Methods
Overall, 139 patients were enrolled in this observational cohort prospective study. Over the ensuing year, physical and psychological measures were made at baseline and after 12 months (HADS, SCL90, SF-12 and disease activity measures). A logistic regression was conducted to observe any relationship between baseline characteristics and patients' clinical outcomes after 12 months.
Results
Overall, there was no relationship between psychological status and quality of life at baseline and relapse at 12 months (p > 0.05). However, patients with inactive disease at baseline were at lower risk of relapse after 12 months (OR = 0.046, CI: 0.012–0.178). No significant relationship was found between psychological problems such as depression/anxiety and a total number of relapses in the IBD group. However, interestingly, patients with an active disease at baseline tended to have a greater number of relapses (OR = 3.07, CI: 1.650–5.738) and CD participants were found at lower risk of relapse than UC participants (OR = 0.382, CI: 0.198–0.736).
Conclusion
In contrast to previous investigations, this study suggests that there is no temporal relationship between psychological problems at baseline and clinical outcomes over time. Longer and larger prospective studies are needed to better understand this result.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-11
PMCID: PMC2443162  PMID: 18538012
15.  Plasma intact fibroblast growth factor 23 levels in women with anorexia nervosa 
Background
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)23 is a novel phosphaturic factor associated with inorganic phosphate homeostasis. Previous human studies have shown that serum FGF23 levels increase in response to a high phosphate diet. For anorexia nervosa (AN) patients, inorganic phosphate homeostasis is important in the clinical course, such as in refeeding syndrome. The purpose of this study was to determine plasma levels of intact FGF23 (iFGF23) in restricting-type AN (AN-R) patients, binge-eating/purging-type AN (AN-BP) patients, and healthy controls.
Methods
The subjects consisted of 6 female AN-R patients, 6 female AN-BP patients, and 11 healthy female controls; both inpatients and outpatients were included. Plasma iFGF23, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-(OH)2D), and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels were measured. Data are presented as the median and the range. A two-tailed Mann-Whitney U-test with Bonferroni correction was used to assess differences among the three groups, and a value of p < 0.017 was considered statistically significant.
Results
There were no differences between AN-R patients and controls in the iFGF23 and 1,25-(OH)2D levels. In AN-BP patients, the iFGF23 level (41.3 pg/ml; range, 6.1–155.5 pg/ml) was significantly higher than in controls (3.8 pg/ml; range, not detected-21.3 pg/ml; p = 0.001), and the 1,25-(OH)2D was significantly lower in AN-BP patients (7.0 pg/ml; range, 4.2–33.7 pg/ml) than in controls (39.7 pg/ml; range, 6.3–58.5 pg/ml; p = 0.015). No differences in plasma 25-OHD levels were observed among the groups.
Conclusion
This preliminary study is the first to show that plasma iFGF23 levels are increased in AN-BP patients, and that these elevated plasma FGF23 levels might be related to the decrease in plasma 1,25-(OH)2D levels.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-10
PMCID: PMC2346464  PMID: 18412981
16.  Relationship between cognitive appraisals of symptoms and negative mood for subtypes of irritable bowel syndrome 
Background
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.
Method
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-9
PMCID: PMC2323019  PMID: 18394202
17.  Childhood physical abuse in outpatients with psychosomatic symptoms 
Background
In Japan and Asia, few studies have been done of physical and sexual abuse. This study was aimed to determine whether a history of childhood physical abuse is associated with anxiety, depression and self-injurious behavior in outpatients with psychosomatic symptoms.
Methods
We divided 564 consecutive new outpatients at the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine of Kyushu University Hospital into two groups: a physically abused group and a non-abused group. Psychological test scores and the prevalence of self-injurious behavior were compared between the two groups.
Results
A history of childhood physical abuse was reported by patients with depressive disorders(12.7%), anxiety disorders(16.7%), eating disorders (16.3%), pain disorders (10.8%), irritable bowel syndrome (12.5%), and functional dyspepsia(7.5%). In both the patients with depressive disorders and those with anxiety disorders, STAI-I (state anxiety) and STAI-II (trait anxiety) were higher in the abused group than in the non-abused group (p < 0.05).
In the patients with depressive disorders, the abused group was younger than the non-abused group (p < 0.05). The prevalence of self-injurious behavior of the patients with depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and pain disorders was higher in the abused groups than in the non-abused groups (p < 0.005).
Conclusion
A history of childhood physical abuse is associated with psychological distress such as anxiety, depression and self-injurious behavior in outpatients with psychosomatic symptoms. It is important for physicians to consider the history of abuse in the primary care of these patients.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-8
PMCID: PMC2294137  PMID: 18358076
18.  Symptoms of somatization as a rapid screening tool for mitochondrial dysfunction in depression 
Aims
Somatic symptomatology is common in depression, and is often attributed to the Freudian-inspired concept of "somatization". While the same somatic symptoms and depression are common in mitochondrial disease, in cases with concurrent mood symptoms the diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder and related therapy are typically delayed for many years. A short screening tool that can identify patients with depression at high risk for having underlying mitochondrial dysfunction is presented.
Methods
Six items of the Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP) were found to differentiate among 21 chronically-depressed Swedish subjects with low versus normal muscle ATP production rates. A screening tool consisting of the six KSP questions was validated in the relatives of American genetics clinic patients, including in 24 matrilineal relatives in families with maternally inherited mitochondrial disease and in 30 control relatives.
Results
Among the depressed Swedish patients, the screening tool was positive in 13/14 with low and 1/7 with normal mitochondrial function (P = 0.0003). Applied to the American relatives of patients, the screening tool was positive in 13/24 matrilineal relatives and in 1/30 control relatives (P = 2 × 10-5).
Conclusion
Our preliminary data suggest that a small number of specific somatic-related questions can be constructed into a valid screening tool for cases at high risk for having a component of energy metabolism in their pathogenesis.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-7
PMCID: PMC2278159  PMID: 18294386
19.  Somatic awareness in the clinical care of patients with body distress symptoms 
The purpose of this paper is to provide primary care physicians and medical specialists with an experiential psychosomatic framework for understanding patients with body distress symptoms. The framework relies on somatic awareness, a normal part of consciousness, to resolve the dualism inherent in conventional multidisciplinary approaches. Somatic awareness represents a guiding healing heuristic which acknowledges the validity of the patient's physical symptoms and uses body sensations to identify the psychological, physiological, and social factors needed for symptom self-regulation. The experiential approach is based on psychobiologic concepts which include bodily distress disorder, central sensitization, dysfunctional breathing, and contextual nature of mood.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-6
PMCID: PMC2288613  PMID: 18291028
20.  Psychological and weight-related characteristics of patients with anorexia nervosa-restricting type who later develop bulimia nervosa 
Background
Patients with anorexia nervosa-restricting type (AN-R) sometimes develop accompanying bulimic symptoms or the full syndrome of bulimia nervosa (BN). If clinicians could predict who might change into the bulimic sub-type or BN, preventative steps could be taken. Therefore, we investigated anthropometric and psychological factors possibly associated with such changes.
Method
All participants were from a study by the Japanese Genetic Research Group for Eating Disorders. Of 80 patients initially diagnosed with AN-R, 22 changed to the AN-Binge Eating/Purging Type (AN-BP) and 14 to BN for some period of time. The remaining 44 patients remained AN-R only from the onset to the investigation period. Variables compared by ANOVA included anthropometric measures, personality traits such as Multiple Perfectionism Scale scores and Temperament and Character Inventory scores, and Beck Depression Inventory-II scores.
Results
In comparison with AN-R only patients, those who developed BN had significantly higher current BMI (p < 0.05) and maximum BMI in the past (p < 0.05). They also scored significantly higher for the psychological characteristic of parental criticism (p < 0.05) and lower in self-directedness (p < 0.05), which confirms previous reports, but these differences disappeared when the depression score was used as a co-variant. No significant differences were obtained for personality traits or depression among the AN-R only patients irrespective of their duration of illness.
Conclusion
The present findings suggest a tendency toward obesity among patients who cross over from AN-R to BN. Low self-directedness and high parental criticism may be associated with the development of BN by patients with AN-R, although the differences may also be associated with depression.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-5
PMCID: PMC2275291  PMID: 18267038
21.  Psychosomatic complaints and sense of coherence among adolescents in a county in Sweden: a cross-sectional school survey 
Background
Over the last five to ten years there has been an increase in psychosomatic complaints (PSC) in Swedish children. The objective of the study was to examine the relation between PSC and sense of coherence (SOC).
Methods
A cross-sectional school survey in the county of Västmanland, Sweden. All 16- and 19-year old adolescents present at school on the day of the survey were asked to complete a questionnaire in their classrooms during a one-lesson hour session under the supervision of their teachers. Totally 3,998 students in both private and public schools, studying in ninth grade elementary school or third grade secondary school participated.
Results
The results from our study show that there is a statistically significant relation between PSC and SOC among adolescents. It also shows that adolescents with a weak SOC score have more symptoms of PSC.
Conclusion
Our study indicates that SOC can help the adolescents to choose a coping strategy that is appropriate for the situation and thereby may prevent them from developing PSC. However, additional studies are needed to confirm our findings.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-4
PMCID: PMC2265297  PMID: 18261203
22.  Case report: a case of intractable Meniere's disease treated with autogenic training 
Background
Psychological stress plays an important role in the onset and course of Meniere's disease. Surgical therapy and intratympanic gentamicin treatment are options for cases that are intractable to conventional medical therapy. Psychotherapy, however, including autogenic training (AT), which can be used for general relaxation, is not widely accepted. This paper describes the successful administration of AT in a subject suffering from intractable Meniere's disease.
Case presentation
A 51-year-old male patient has suffered from fluctuating right sensorineural hearing loss with vertigo since 1994. In May 2002, he was first admitted to our hospital due to a severe vertigo attack accompanied by right sensorineural hearing loss. Spontaneous nystagmus toward the right side was observed. Since April 2004, he has experienced vertigo spells with right-sided tinnitus a few times per month that are intractable to conventional medical therapy. After four months, tympanic tube insertion was preformed in the right tympanic membrane. Intratympanic injection of dexamethasone was ineffective. He refused Meniett therapy and intratympanic gentamicin injection. In addition to his vertigo spells, he suffered from insomnia, tinnitus, and anxiety. Tranquilizers such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants such as serotonin selective re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) failed to stop the vertigo and only slightly improved his insomnia. In December 2006, the patient began psychological counseling with a psychotherapist. After brief psychological counseling along with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), he began AT. He diligently and regularly continued his AT training in his home according to a written timetable. His insomnia, tinnitus, and vertigo spells disappeared within a few weeks after only four psychotherapy sessions. In order to master the six standard formulas of AT, he underwent two more sessions. Thereafter, he underwent follow-up for 9 months with no additional treatment. He is now free from drugs, including tranquilizers, and has continued AT. No additional treatment was performed. When we examined him six and nine months later for follow-up, he was free of vertigo and insomnia.
Conclusion
AT together with CBT can be a viable and palatable treatment option for Meniere's disease patients who are not responsive to other therapies.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-3
PMCID: PMC2265298  PMID: 18221543
23.  Green odor attenuates a cold pressor test-induced cardiovascular response in healthy adults 
Background
Green odor, a mixture of equal amounts of 2E-hexenal (leaf aldehyde) and 3Z-hexenol (leaf alcohol) has been demonstrated to have an anti-stress effect in rats. This study investigated whether or not green odor also has an anti-stress effect in humans.
Methods
Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and the skin temperature of a fingertip were observed after presenting green odor at a concentration of 0.03% or vehicle via inhalation through the nose for 10 min to eight healthy normotensive adults. We also assessed the pleasantness of green odor and its effect on mood states via assessment with the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire. Cardiovascular response to green odor and the vehicle were compared among 11 additional healthy adults by use of the cold pressor test.
Results
Of 19 subjects, 15 (79%) reported that the green odor was pleasant. Green odor had no effect on blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature, or POMS score under non-stressful conditions. In the second experiment, green odor attenuated cold pressor test-induced increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and facilitated the recovery of skin temperature.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that green odor has an anti-stress effect in healthy humans.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-2
PMCID: PMC2259378  PMID: 18197969

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