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1.  Altered autonomic nervous system activity as a potential etiological factor of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder 
Background
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) encompasses a wide variety of cyclic and recurrent physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms occurring during the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and abating shortly following the beginning of menses. Although PMS is widely recognized, its etiopathogenesis is not yet understood. The present study investigates whether the activity of the autonomic nervous system, which plays a vital role in orchestrating physiological homeostasis within the human body, is altered during the menstrual cycle of women with different degrees of premenstrual symptomatology.
Methods
Sixty-two women in their 20s to 40s with regular menstrual cycles participated in this study. All subjects were examined during the follicular and late luteal phases. Cycle phase was determined by the onset of menstruation and oral temperature and was verified by concentrations of ovarian hormones, estrone, and pregnanediol in a urine sample taken early in the morning. Autonomic nervous system activity was assessed by means of heart-rate variability (HRV) power spectral analysis during supine rest. The Menstrual Distress Questionnaire was used to evaluate physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms accompanying the menstrual cycle of the subjects. The subjects were categorized in three groups, Control, PMS, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) groups, depending on the severity of premenstrual symptomatology.
Results
No intramenstrual cycle difference in any of the parameters of HRV was found in the Control group, which had no or a small increase in premenstrual symptoms. In contrast, Total power and high frequency power, which reflect overall autonomic and parasympathetic nerve activity, respectively, significantly decreased in the late luteal phase from the follicular phase in the PMS group. As for the PMDD group, which had more severe symptoms premenstrually, heart-rate fluctuation as well as all components of the power spectrum of HRV were markedly decreased regardless of the menstrual cycle compared to those of the other two groups.
Conclusion
Several theories have been proposed to explain the underlying mechanisms of PMS with its complex web of bio-psycho-social factors. Although causes and consequences continue to elude, the present study provides intriguing and novel findings that the altered functioning of the autonomic nervous system in the late luteal phase could be associated with diverse psychosomatic and behavioral symptoms appearing premenstrually. In addition, when symptoms become more severe (as seen in women with PMDD), the sympathovagal function might be more depressed regardless of the menstrual cycle.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-24
PMCID: PMC2253548  PMID: 18096034
2.  Specific components of face perception in the human fusiform gyrus studied by tomographic estimates of magnetoencephalographic signals: a tool for the evaluation of non-verbal communication in psychosomatic paradigms) 
Aims
The aim of this study was to determine the specific spatiotemporal activation patterns of face perception in the fusiform gyrus (FG). The FG is a key area in the specialized brain system that makes possible the recognition of face with ease and speed in our daily life. Characterization of FG response provides a quantitative method for evaluating the fundamental functions that contribute to non-verbal communication in various psychosomatic paradigms.
Methods
The MEG signal was recorded during passive visual stimulus presentation with three stimulus types – Faces, Hands and Shoes. The stimuli were presented separately to the central and peripheral visual fields. We performed statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analysis of tomographic estimates of activity to compare activity between a pre- and post-stimulus period in the same object (baseline test), and activity between objects (active test). The time course of regional activation curves was analyzed for each stimulus condition.
Results
The SPM baseline test revealed a response to each stimulus type, which was very compact at the initial segment of main MFG170. For hands and shoes the area of significant change remains compact. For faces the area expanded widely within a few milliseconds and its boundaries engulfed the other object areas. The active test demonstrated that activity for faces was significantly larger than the activity for hands. The same face specific compact area as in the baseline test was identified, and then again expanded widely. For each stimulus type and presentation in each one of the visual fields locations, the analysis of the time course of FG activity identified three components in the FG: MFG100, MFG170, and MFG200 – all showed preference for faces.
Conclusion
Early compact face-specific activity in the FG expands widely along the occipito-ventral brain within a few milliseconds. The significant difference between faces and the other object stimuli in MFG100 shows that processing of faces is already differentiated from processing of other objects within 100 ms. Standardization of the three face-specific MEG components could have diagnostic value for the integrity of the initial process of non-verbal communication in various psychosomatic paradigms.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-23
PMCID: PMC2222590  PMID: 18053195
3.  The empathic brain and its dysfunction in psychiatric populations: implications for intervention across different clinical conditions 
Empathy is a concept central to psychiatry, psychotherapy and clinical psychology. The construct of empathy involves not only the affective experience of the other person's actual or inferred emotional state but also some minimal recognition and understanding of another's emotional state. It is proposed, in the light of multiple levels of analysis including social psychology, cognitive neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology, a model of empathy that involves both bottom-up and top-down information processing underpinned by parallel and distributed computational mechanisms. The predictive validity of this model is explored with reference to clinical conditions. As many psychiatric conditions are associated with deficits or even lack of empathy, we discuss a limited number of these disorders including psychopathy/antisocial personality disorders, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, and alexithymia. We argue that future clinical investigations of empathy disorders can only be informative if behavioral, dispositional and biological factors are combined.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-22
PMCID: PMC2206036  PMID: 18021398
4.  Rikkunshi-to attenuates adverse gastrointestinal symptoms induced by fluvoxamine 
Background
Upper gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as nausea and vomiting are common adverse events associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and may result in discontinuation of drug therapy in patients with depressive disorder. Rikkunshi-to (formulation TJ-43), a traditional herbal medicine, has been reported to improve upper GI symptoms and comorbid depressive symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia. The aim of the present study was to determine if TJ-43 reduces GI symptoms and potentiates an antidepressant effect in a randomized controlled study of depressed patients treated with fluvoxamine (FLV).
Methods
Fifty patients with depressive disorder (19–78 years, mean age 40.2 years) were treated with FLV (n = 25) or FLV in combination with TJ-43 (FLV+TJ-43) (n = 25) for eight weeks. The following parameters of the two groups were compared: The number of patients who complained of adverse events and their symptoms; GI symptoms quality of life (QOL) score, assessed by the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS), Japanese edition, before and two weeks after beginning treatment; and depressive symptoms assessed by the Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), before and 2, 4, and 8 weeks after beginning treatment.
Results
The number of patients who complained of adverse events in the FLV+TJ-43 group (n = 6) was significantly lower than the number complaining in the FLV group (n = 13) (P < 0.05). The number of patients who complained of nausea was also lower in the FLV+TJ-43 group (n = 3) than in the FLV group (n = 9) (P < 0.05). By two weeks after treatment, GSRS scores had improved in the FLV+TJ-43 group, but not in the FLV group. SDS scores were not different between the two groups at any of the assessment points.
Conclusion
This study suggests that Rikkunshi-to reduces FLV-induced adverse events, especially nausea, and improves QOL related to GI symptoms without affecting the antidepressant effect of FLV.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-21
PMCID: PMC2204024  PMID: 18001480
5.  Insecure attachment is associated with the α-EEG anomaly during sleep 
Background
The α-EEG anomaly during sleep, originally associated with chronic pain, is noted in several psychiatric and medical conditions and is also present in some normal subjects. The exact significance of the α-EEG anomaly is uncertain, but it has been suggested to be a nonspecific response to a variety of noxious stimuli. We propose that attachment insecurity, which is often associated with a state of hypervigilance during wakefulness, may be associated with the α-EEG anomaly during sleep.
Methods
Thirty one consecutive patients referred to a Sleep Disorders Clinic for clinical assessment of sleep complaints underwent standard polysomnographic recording. The degree of alpha activity in polysomnographs was scored visually according to standard criteria. Attachment insecurity was measured with the Experience in Close Relationships – Revised questionnaire.
Results
Attachment anxiety was significantly associated with the proportion of sleep in which α waves were present (df = 1, F = 5.01, p = 0.03). The relationship between the α-EEG anomaly and attachment anxiety was not explained by the distribution of sleep and mood diagnoses, medications, anxiety symptoms or depression symptoms.
Conclusion
Interpersonal style in close relationships may be related to sleep physiology. Further research to determine the nature of the relationship between attachment, sleep and other factors that are related to each of these, such as a history of personal adversity, is warranted.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-20
PMCID: PMC2186352  PMID: 17976231
6.  Sense of control and diabetes mellitus among U.S. adults: A cross-sectional analysis 
Background
Little is known about the influence of psychosocial factors on diabetes mellitus. The aim of this study was to improve understanding of the association between two psychosocial factors- sense of control and social support- and diabetes mellitus.
Methods
The authors analyzed data from 2,592 U.S. households in the 1995 survey of the Aging, Status, and the Sense of Control study. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine whether sense of personal control and social support were associated with DM and whether gender, race, and Hispanic ethnicity modified these associations.
Results
After adjusting for age, obesity, and socioeconomic position, a one point increase in sense of control (i.e., a stronger sense of control) was associated a significant reduction in risk of diabetes mellitus (odds ratio = 0.67, 95% confidence interval: 0.47, 0.95). A weak social support system was associated with a non-significant risk of diabetes (odds ratio = 1.32, 95% confidence interval: 0.93, 1.89). No effect modification was detected.
Conclusion
Sense of control deserves greater attention as a predictor of diabetes mellitus. Further studies of the contribution of psychosocial factors to diabetes mellitus should assess the temporal nature of this relationship.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-19
PMCID: PMC2151060  PMID: 17971217
7.  Response of spinal myoclonus to a combination therapy of autogenic training and biofeedback 
Introduction
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.
Results
AT and EMG-biofeedback resulted in shortening the duration and reducing the amplitude and frequency of the myoclonic discharges.
Conclusion
Psychosomatic therapy with AT and surface EMG-biofeedback produced excellent improvement of myoclonic movements and allowed the reduction of the dosage of conventional medications.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-18
PMCID: PMC2173903  PMID: 17931427
8.  Clinical application of somatosensory amplification in psychosomatic medicine 
Many patients with somatoform disorders are frequently encountered in psychosomatic clinics as well as in primary care clinics. To assess such patients objectively, the concept of somatosensory amplification may be useful. Somatosensory amplification refers to the tendency to experience a somatic sensation as intense, noxious, and disturbing. It may have a role in a variety of medical conditions characterized by somatic symptoms that are disproportionate to demonstrable organ pathology. It may also explain some of the variability in somatic symptomatology found among different patients with the same serious medical disorder. It has been assessed with a self-report questionnaire, the Somatosensory Amplification Scale. This instrument was developed in a clinical setting in the U.S., and the reliability and validity of the Japanese and Turkish versions have been confirmed as well.
Many studies have attempted to clarify the specific role of somatosensory amplification as a pathogenic mechanism in somatization. It has been reported that somatosensory amplification does not correlate with heightened sensitivity to bodily sensations and that emotional reactivity exerts its influence on somatization via a negatively biased reporting style. According to our recent electroencephalographic study, somatosensory amplification appears to reflect some aspects of long-latency cognitive processing rather than short-latency interoceptive sensitivity.
The concept of somatosensory amplification can be useful as an indicator of somatization in the therapy of a broad range of disorders, from impaired self-awareness to various psychiatric disorders. It also provides useful information for choosing appropriate pharmacological or psychological therapy. While somatosensory amplification has a role in the presentation of somatic symptoms, it is closely associated with other factors, namely, anxiety, depression, and alexithymia that may also influence the same. The specific role of somatosensory amplification with regard to both neurological and psychological function should be clarified in future studies. In this paper, we will explain the concept of amplification and describe its role in psychosomatic illness.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-17
PMCID: PMC2089063  PMID: 17925010
9.  Cilnidipine lowered psychological stress-induced increase in blood pressure in a hypertensive man: a case report 
Background
In some hypertensive patients, psychological stress makes blood pressure difficult to control and causes physical symptoms such as headache or dizziness. We report the case of a hypertensive man whose psychological stress-induced increase in blood pressure was attenuated by cilnidipine.
Case Presentation
The patient (a 72-year-old man) had hypertension and was on antihypertensive therapy. When mentally concentrating, he experienced occipital headaches and dizziness, and despite thorough testing, no abnormality was found. He was subsequently referred to our department. The mirror drawing test (MDT), a psychological stress test, increased blood pressure by about 40 mmHg, and the patient described occipital headache. Plasma noradrenaline level also increased from 212 to 548 pg/ml. We therefore switched the patient from nifedipine, an L-type calcium (Ca) channel blocker, to cilnidipine, an L-type/N-type Ca channel blocker with suppressive effects on sympathetic activity. Cilnipidine attenuated MDT-induced an increase in blood pressure and plasma noradrenaline level and prevented the development of headache during testing.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that cilnidipine is a useful antihypertensive agent for hypertensive patients in whom psychological stress causes marked fluctuations in blood pressure.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-16
PMCID: PMC2045659  PMID: 17900335
10.  Psychopathological features of anorectic patients who dropped out of inpatient treatment as assessed by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 
Background
Anorexia nervosa often requires inpatient treatment that includes psychotherapeutic intervention in addition to physical and nutritional management for severe low body weight. However, such patients sometimes terminate inpatient treatment prematurely because of resistance to treatment, poor motivation for treatment, unstable emotions, and problematic behaviors. In this study, the psychopathological factors related to the personality of anorexic patients that might predict discontinuation of inpatient treatment were investigated using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
Methods
Subjects were 75 consecutive anorectic inpatients who received cognitive behavioral therapy with a behavior protocol governing privileges in a university hospital based general (not psychiatric) ward. The MMPI was done on admission for all patients. A comparison was done of patients who completed the process of inpatient treatment, including attainment of target body weight (completers), and patients who dropped out of inpatient treatment (dropouts). Results: No significant differences between completers (n = 51) and dropouts (n = 24) were found in the type of eating disorder, age of onset, duration of illness, age, or BMI at admission. Logistic regression analysis found the MMPI scales schizophrenia (Sc), hypomania (HYP), deviant thinking and experience, and antisocial attitude to be factors predicting completion or dropout.
Conclusion
Dropouts have difficulty adapting to inpatient treatment protocols such as our behavior protocol governing privileges because they have social and emotional alienation, a lack of ego mastery (Sc), emotional instability (HYP) and an antisocial attitude. As a result, they have decreased motivation for treatment, leave the hospital without permission, attempt suicide, or shoplift, which leads them to terminate inpatient treatment prematurely. Treatments based on cognitive behavioral therapy with a behavior protocol governing privileges should be carefully adopted for anorectic patients who exhibit the psychopathological elements identified in this study.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-15
PMCID: PMC1971270  PMID: 17651492
11.  Measuring Japanese mothers' perception of child abuse: development of a Japanese version of the child abuse blame scale – physical abuse (CABS-PA-J) 
Background
The Child Abuse Blame Scale – Physical Abuse (CABS-PA) was translated into Japanese and its subscale items modified by the authors according to the Japanese cultural context. The aim of the current study was to investigate the appropriateness, reliability, and clinical applicability of the CABS-PA Japanese version (CABS-PA-J). Modifications were made to enable the determination of child abuse recognition in a Japanese cultural setting and early clinical intervention in child abuse cases.
Methods
The CABS-PA text was translated into Japanese, then back translated. The appropriateness of scale item translations was verified based on e-mail discussions with the original CABS-PA author. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were performed to examine the validity of CABS-PA-J responses and to confirm the validity of factor structure. Criterion-related validity was also confirmed. The Japanese scale was used to examine the characteristic differences between mothers of premature infants (< 1500 g) and those of other infants (≧ 1500 g).
Results
Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses found the factor structure to be similar between the original scale and the translated CABS-PA-J, suggesting adequate factor validity. There was a statistically significant correlation between social support from a spouse or third party and the abuse score on a subscale, partially demonstrating criterion-referenced validity. Similarities and differences were found in the stress reactions of the mothers of premature infants (< 1500 g) and those of other infants (≧ 1500 g).
Conclusion
CABS-PA-J was shown to be appropriate and reliable. It is an effective tool for determining the recognition of child abuse among Japanese mothers.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-14
PMCID: PMC1950522  PMID: 17623078
12.  Psychosocial factors associated with smoking and drinking among Japanese early adolescent boys and girls: Cross-sectional study 
Background
Smoking and drinking alcohol among early adolescents are serious public health concerns, but few studies have been conducted in Japan to assess their prevalence and etiology. A regional survey was conducted in eight schools in two Japanese school districts to identify psychosocial factors associated with smoking and drinking behaviors for boys and girls.
Methods
Junior high school students from seventh to ninth grades (N = 2,923) completed a self-reported questionnaire between December 2002 and March 2003. Relationships between psychosocial variables (i.e., self-assertive efficacy to resist peer pressure, parental involvement, school adjustment, and deviant peer influence) and smoking and drinking were investigated using logistic regression analyses and path analyses.
Results
Smoking in the last six months was significantly more prevalent in boys (7.9%) than girls (5.1%). The prevalence of drinking in the last six months was similar in boys (23.7%) and girls (21.8%). Self-efficacy to resist peer pressure was negatively associated with both smoking and drinking among both boys and girls and provided both direct and indirect effects through deviant peer influence. Parental involvement showed indirect effects through school adjustment and/or deviant peer influence to both smoking among both boys and girls and drinking among girls, although parental involvement showed direct effects on smoking only for boys. School adjustment was negatively associated with smoking among both boys and girls and drinking among girls.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that self-assertive efficacy to resist peer pressure, parental involvement, school adjustment and deviant peer influence are potentially important factors that could be addressed by programs to prevent smoking and/or drinking among early adolescent boys and girls in Japan.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-13
PMCID: PMC1934913  PMID: 17610717
13.  Pilot study of fluvoxamine treatment for climacteric symptoms in Japanese women 
Background
Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression and can be used as nonhormonal alternatives to manage hot flashes for women with a history of breast cancer and unable to take hormone replacement therapy. There are, however, few reports on the efficacy of SSRIs for the treatment of natural postmenopausal climacteric symptoms. In this pilot study, we evaluate the SSRI, fluvoxamine, for controlling climacteric symptoms and vasomotor symptoms, in particular.
Methods
Twenty-two patients were enrolled from our hospital. All were orally administered fluvoxamine (50 mg daily). Climacteric and depressive symptoms were assessed using simple menopausal index (SMI) and self-rating questionnaire for depression (SRQ-D), respectively, at baseline, and at 2 and 6 weeks post-treatment.
Results
Six weeks following drug administration, neither the SRQ-D nor SMI scores significantly decreased compared to baseline. The mean levels of vasomotor symptoms and mental symptoms decreased significantly following fluvoxamine administration, while skeletal muscle symptom scores did not.
Conclusion
We were able to demonstrate that fluvoxamine was effective in treating not only depressive moods in climacteric symptoms but also the associated vasomotor symptoms. There are several limitations to this preliminary study. Future controlled studies are needed to further evaluate the efficacy of fluvoxamine for climacteric disturbances.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-12
PMCID: PMC1899513  PMID: 17547780
14.  Age and gender differences of psychogenic fever: a review of the Japanese literature 
Background
Psychogenic fever is one of the most common psychosomatic diseases. Patients with psychogenic fever have acute or persistent body temperature above normal range in psychologically stressful situations. In spite of numerous case reports on psychogenic fever, there are few epidemiological studies. Therefore, our goal was to investigate the age distribution and gender differences of psychogenic fever in Japan.
Methods
To achieve this goal, we searched Medline and Ichushi WEB, a Japanese medical database, and added other publications that were not included in these databases. Thus, we reviewed 195 Japanese cases of psychogenic fever published in 62 papers.
Results
Psychogenic fever patients ranged from 3 to 56 years old, with the highest number of cases occurring in 13 year-olds in both sexes. The male: female ratio of 1: 1.19 suggested a slight predominance of female cases. Psychogenic fever accounted for 18% of fever cases of unknown origin in children and 2–6% of the psychosomatic diseases of pediatric patients. Patients with psychogenic fever were not only found in pediatrics departments, but also in psychosomatic medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, anesthesiology, dentistry, and obstetrics/gynecology departments.
Conclusion
The age of psychogenic fever patients ranged from 3 to 56 years old and the male: female ratio was 1:1.19. Psychogenic fever is seen especially in adolescence in Japan.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-11
PMCID: PMC1888691  PMID: 17511878
15.  Effect of juggling therapy on anxiety disorders in female patients 
Aims
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of juggling therapy for anxiety disorder patients.
Design and Method
Subjects were 17 female outpatients who met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders. Subjects were treated with standard psychotherapy, medication and counseling for 6 months. For the last 3 months of treatment, subjects were randomized into either a non-juggling group (n = 9) or a juggling therapy group (juggling group: n = 8). The juggling group gradually acquired juggling skills by practicing juggling beanbags (otedama in Japan) with both hands. The therapeutic effect was evaluated using scores of psychological testing (STAI: State and Trate Anxiety Inventry, POMS: Profile of Mood Status) and of ADL (FAI: Franchay Activity Index) collected before treatment, 3 months after treatment (before juggling therapy), and at the end of both treatments.
Results
After 6 months, an analysis of variance revealed that scores on the state anxiety, trait anxiety subscales of STAI and tension-anxiety (T-A) score of POMS were significantly lower in the juggling group than in the non-juggling group (p < 0.01). Depression, anger-hostility scores of POMS were improved more than non-jugglers. In the juggling group, activity scores on the vigor subscale of POMS and FAI score were significantly higher than those in the non juggling group (p < 0.01). Other mood scores of POMS did not differ between the two groups.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that juggling therapy may be effective for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-10
PMCID: PMC1876467  PMID: 17470298
16.  Intra- and extra-familial adverse childhood experiences and a history of childhood psychosomatic disorders among Japanese university students 
Background
Japan has been witnessing a considerable increase in the number of children with psychosomatic disorders. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the risk of psychosomatic disorder in adolescents and intra- and extra-familial adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
Methods
A retrospective cohort study of 1592 Japanese university students (52% male, mean age 19.9 years) who completed a survey about intra- and extra-familial ACEs and the incidence of childhood psychosomatic disorders. Intra-familial ACEs included domestic violence, physical violence, emotional abuse, illness in household, parental divorce, no parental affection, and dysfunctional family. Extra-familial ACEs included physical violence or negative recognition by teachers, being bullied in elementary or junior high school, or sexual violence.
Results
The frequency of psychosomatic disorders among the respondents was 14.8%. Among the 7 intra-familial ACEs, emotional abuse (relative risk, RR = 1.9) and illness in household (RR = 1.7) increased the risk of psychosomatic disorders. Estimates of the relative risk for the 5 extra-familial ACEs were statistically significant and ranged from 1.5 for being bullied in elementary school or physical violence from teachers to 2.4. Students who had 3 or more intra-familial ACEs and 2 or more extra-familial ACEs had a 3.0 relative risk for psychosomatic disorder.
Conclusion
These results suggest that intra- and extra-familial ACEs are associated with the development of psychosomatic disorders. Therefore, sufficient evaluation of ACEs should be performed in adolescent patients with psychosomatic disorder.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-9
PMCID: PMC1852322  PMID: 17407551
17.  Lower peripheral circulation in eumenorrheic young women with premenstrual symptoms 
Background
A majority of women from all cultures and socioeconomic levels experience diverse psychosomatic and behavioral symptoms premenstrually, a phenomenon commonly termed premenstrual syndrome, although symptoms and discomfort levels vary from woman to woman. The underlying pathological mechanisms of premenstrual syndrome remain unknown; however, altered function or even slight disorder of the blood circulation system, which contributes to the orchestrations of the human internal environment, could cause bio-psychological changes leading to complaints and ultimately compromising a woman's overall health. The present study, therefore, investigates to what extent and how the menstrual cyclicity of peripheral circulation is associated with premenstrual symptomatology.
Methods
Twenty-one eumenorrheic young women participated in this study. All subjects were investigated during the follicular and late luteal phases. Cycle phase was determined by the onset of menstruation and oral temperature and was verified by concentrations of ovarian hormones, estrone, and pregnanediol in a urine sample taken early in the morning. Peripheral circulation was evaluated with the Astrim (Sysmex, Kobe), a portable non-invasive monitoring device using the principle of near-infrared spectroscopy, which calculates the venous oxygenation index (VOI) based on the ratio of light absorption of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin, a proven reliable indicator of peripheral blood circulation. The Menstrual Distress Questionnaire was applied to measure physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms accompanying the menstrual cycle of the subjects.
Results
The oral temperature and urinary ovarian hormones adjusted for creatinine significantly increased in the late luteal phase in all subjects. While 10 subjects experienced no symptoms during the menstrual cycle, 11 subjects had apparent physical and psychological discomfort in the late luteal phase. We found that VOI decreased more significantly in the late luteal phase than in the follicular phase only in women with premenstrual discomfort although the symptoms were not unbearable enough to cause the disruption of daily activities.
Conclusion
Several models have tried to explain the etiopathogenesis of premenstrual syndrome. Although causes and consequences remain enigmatic, our data suggest that the peripheral circulation could alter in the luteal phase, which might be partly associated with premenstrual psychosomatic symptoms in eumenorrheic young women.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-8
PMCID: PMC1851706  PMID: 17391537
18.  Age and gender effect on alexithymia in large, Japanese community and clinical samples: a cross-validation study of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) 
Background
The construct validity of alexithymia and its assessment using the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) in Japan is unknown. Low reliability has been found for the third factor of the TAS-20 in some cultures, and the factor structure for psychosomatic disorder patients has not been adequately investigated. Although alexithymia most likely has certain developmental aspects, this has infrequently been investigated.
Methods
The newly-developed Japanese TAS-20 was administered to a normative sample (n = 2,718; 14–84 y.o.), along with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) for cross validation. Psychosomatic patients (n = 1,924, 12–87 y.o.) were tested to evaluate the factor structure in a clinical sample. College students (n = 196) were used for a test-retest study. Internal reliability and consistency were assessed, and the factorial structure was evaluated using confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses for both the normative and the clinical samples. The correlations between the TAS-20 and the NEO-FFI factor scores were evaluated. Age-related and gender differences in the TAS-20 were explored using analysis of variance in the normative sample.
Results
The original three-factor model of the TAS-20 was confirmed to be valid for these Japanese samples, although a 4-factor solution that included negatively keyed items (NKI) as an additional factor was more effective. Significant correlations of the TAS-20 with the NEO-FFI were found, as has been previously reported. Factor analyses of the normative and patient samples showed similar patterns. The TAS-20 total, difficulty in identifying feelings (DIF), and difficulty in describing feelings (DDF) scores were high for teenagers, decreased with age, and from 30s did not change significantly. In contrast, externally oriented thinking (EOT) scores showed an almost linear positive correlation with age. DIF scores were higher for females, while EOT scores were higher for males, without any interaction between gender and age differences.
Conclusion
The original three-factor concept of the TAS-20 was generally supported for practical use. Age-related differences in TAS-20 scores indicate developmental aspects of alexithymia. Alexithymia is made up of two components with different developmental paths: DIF/DDF and EOT.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-7
PMCID: PMC1838425  PMID: 17371586
19.  Translation and validation of a Japanese version of the irritable bowel syndrome-quality of life measure (IBS-QOL-J) 
Aims
To compare quality of life (QOL) for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) between the U.S. and Japan, it is indispensable to develop common instruments. The IBS-QOL, which is widely used in Western countries, was translated into Japanese as there has been a lack of Japanese disease-specific QOL measures for IBS.
Methods
The original 34 items of the IBS-QOL were translated from English into Japanese through two independent forward translations, resolution, back translation, and resolution of differences. Forty nine patients who had GI symptoms but did not have any organic diseases (including 30 IBS patients diagnosed by Rome II criteria) were recruited from Tohoku University Hospital in Sendai, Japan and completed a Japanese version of the IBS-QOL (IBS-QOL-J) concomitant with a Japanese version of the IBS severity index (IBSSI-J) twice within 7–14 days.
Results
The IBS-QOL-J demonstrated high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha; 0.96) and high reproducibility (intraclass correlation coefficient; 0.92, p < 0.001). Convergent analyses confirmed that the overall score of IBS-QOL-J was significantly correlated with overall severity of IBS symptoms on the IBSSI-J (r = -0.36, p = 0.01) and with the individual items on the IBSSI-J that assess interference with life in general (r = -0.47, p = 0.001) and dissatisfaction with bowel habits (r = -0.32, p < 0.05). Eight patients who reported continuous abdominal pain in the past 6 months had significantly lower scores in the IBS-QOL-J than those who did not (53.7 +- 12.7 vs. 73.6 +- 19.5, p < 0.01). Age, sex, education or marital status did not affect scores on the measure.
Conclusion
The IBS-QOL-J is a reliable instrument to assess the disease-specific QOL for IBS. Considering cross-cultural comparison, this measure is likely to be a valuable tool to investigate the QOL in Japanese patients with IBS.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-6
PMCID: PMC1832201  PMID: 17371576
20.  Personality may influence reactivity to stress 
Background
Possible mechanisms behind psychophysiological hyperreactivity may be located at a cognitive-emotional level. Several personality traits have been associated with increased cardiovascular reactivity. Subjects with white coat hypertension, which may constitute a kind of hyperreactivity, are found to suppress their emotions and adapt to the surroundings to a larger extent than controls.
We hypothesized in this study that a) stress reactivity is related to personality, and that b) responses to cold pressor test (CPT) and mental stress test (MST) are associated with different personality traits.
Methods
87 men were selected from the 1st, 50th and 99th percentile of a blood pressure screening. Cardiovascular and catecholamine responses to MST and CPT were recorded. Fifteen personality traits were assessed using the Karolinska Scale of Personality. Possible independent explanatory predictors for cardiovascular and catecholamine variables at baseline and during stress were analyzed in multiple linear regression analyses using a stepwise forward procedure.
Results
Multiple regression analyses showed that muscular tension (β = 0.298, p = 0.004), irritability (β = 0.282, p = 0.016), detachment (β = 0.272, p = 0.017), psychasthenia (β = 0.234, p = 0.031) and somatic anxiety (β = 0.225, p = 0.046) were significant explanatory variables of reactivity to CPT. During MST, verbal aggression (β = -0.252, 0.031) and detachment (β = 0.253, p = 0.044) were significant predictors of norepinephrine and diastolic blood pressure response, respectively.
Based on KSP-trait quartiles, delta (Δ) systolic (p = 0.025) and Δ diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.003) during MST were related to detachment score, with the highest reactivity in the 4th quartile, while Δ norepinephrine was significantly related to muscular tension (p = 0.033). Δ systolic and Δ diastolic blood pressure responses to CPT were dependent on detachment (p = 0.049 and p = 0.011, respectively) and psychasthenia (p = 0.020 and p = 0.015), while high verbal aggression was associated with lower reactivity measured by Δ norepinephrine (p = 0.037).
Conclusion
The present study indicates that stress reactivity is clearly related to different personality traits, without any single trait being dominant over others. Furthermore, personality seems to have as much, or even more, importance of predicting responses to CPT than responses to MST.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-5
PMCID: PMC1828739  PMID: 17371575
21.  Translation and equivalence assessment for a Japanese version of the modified Parental Nurturance Scale: a comparative study 
Background
This paper reports on the modification of the Parental Nurturance Scale (PNS), translation of the modified version (PNSM) from English to Japanese, and equivalence assessment between the PNSM and the translated version (PNSM-J). The PNS was modified so as to enable its use in nurturance studies where the prime source of nurturance might vary between respondents.
Method
It was translated into Japanese through the forward-backward translation procedure. With attempting to enhance representativeness of language in the target populations, translators used were married couples that consisted of a native English speaker and a native Japanese speaker. Multiple translations were produced and used to make a single Japanese version. A panel of reviewers identified problems in conceptual and semantic equivalence between the original and the translated versions. The Japanese version was altered accordingly with reference to alternate Japanese forms from the original English to Japanese translations. The altered translation was again re-translated into English and problematic differences were checked. This forward-backward process was repeated until satisfactory agreement was attained. The PNSM was administered to 222 native English speakers and the PNSM-J to 1320 native Japanese speakers.
Results
Factor analysis and target rotation revealed a nearly identical factor structure and factor loadings of the items of the PNSM and PNSM-J between the different cultural groups. High Cronbach's alpha coefficient supported the reliability of the test scores on both versions.
Conclusion
The equivalence between the two scales was supported. It is suggested that the PNSM and PNSM-J are suitable tools for comparative cross-cultural studies.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-4
PMCID: PMC1805774  PMID: 17371574
22.  Temporomandibular disorder is associated with a serotonin transporter gene polymorphism in the Japanese population 
Aims
Recent genetic studies have linked serotonin-related genetic polymorphisms with diverse disorders characterized by functional somatic symptoms, including chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Methods
We investigated three serotonin-related genetic polymorphisms by screening genomic DNA of 36 temporomandibular disorder (TMD) patients.
Results
A significant increase of longer alleles (l and xl) was found in the TMD patients compared to the controls both by the genotype-wise and the allele-wise analyses (both p < 0.01 by χ2 test and Fisher's exact test).
Conclusion
Genetic factors that involve the serotonergic system may play a role in the pathogenesis of TMD.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-3
PMCID: PMC1805776  PMID: 17371573
23.  BioPsychoSocial Medicine: a new open access journal 
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-1
PMCID: PMC1805775  PMID: 17371572
24.  Psychological adjustment of men with prostate cancer: a review of the literature 
Objective
Prostate cancer (PCA) is the most common malignancy and a major cause of death in men but, importantly, a substantial proportion will live for several years following diagnosis. However, they face the prospect of experiencing symptoms, side-effects of treatment and diminished quality of life. The patient's psychological adjustment is particularly complex, given the potential trajectory of the disease, from the point of diagnosis, with its immediate impact, to the phase of palliative care, with its attendant issue of facing mortality. Since a comprehensive review of the literature on psychological adjustment of men with PCA has not yet been done, we have documented relevant research, integrated findings and drawn conclusions, where possible, in order to map out clinical and research implications.
Method
We searched 5 databases for the period 1994 – July 2006, during which most of the work in the field has been done.
Results
We found few studies of substance among the 60 we examined to draw conclusions about psychological adjustment to prostate cancer and its treatment. This is in marked contrast to the picture in breast cancer. While some patterns have emerged, many gaps remain to be filled.
Discussion
Aspects of methodology need attention, particularly longitudinal, prospective designs, incorporation of control groups and the use of valid and reliable measures. There is scope for qualitative studies as a complement to quantitative research.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-2
PMCID: PMC1805773  PMID: 17371571

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