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Gastric myoelectrical and autonomic cardiac reactivity to laboratory stressors

  • PETER J. GIANAROS (a1), KAREN S. QUIGLEY (a2), J. TOBY MORDKOFF (a2) and ROBERT M. STERN (a2)

Abstract

We evaluated the effects of two laboratory stressors (speech preparation and isometric handgrip) on gastric myoelectrical and autonomic cardiac activity, and the extent to which autonomic responses to these stressors and somatization predict reports of motion sickness during exposure to a rotating optokinetic drum. Both stressors prompted a decrease in preejection period (PEP) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and an increase in a dysrhythmic pattern of gastric myoelectrical activity, termed gastric tachyarrhythmia. Stressor-induced decreases in RSA and higher somatization scores predicted increased reports of motion sickness during drum rotation. These results demonstrate that laboratory stressors concurrently affect gastric myoelectrical activity and autonomic control of the heart, and that stressor-induced decreases in RSA and higher levels of somatization predict motion sickness susceptibility.

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Corresponding author

Address reprint requests to: Peter J. Gianaros, E1329 Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O'Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. E-mail: pjg4@pitt.edu.

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