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Anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are complex psychiatric conditions, in which both psychological and metabolic factors have been implicated. Critically, the experience of stress can precipitate loss-of-control eating in both conditions, suggesting an interplay between mental state and metabolic signaling. However, associations between psychological states, symptoms and metabolic processes in AN and BN have not been examined.
Eighty-five women (n = 22 AN binge/purge subtype, n = 33 BN, n = 30 controls) underwent remote salivary cortisol sampling and a 2-day, inpatient study session to examine the effect of stress on cortisol, gut hormones [acyl-ghrelin, peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-1] and food consumption. Participants were randomized to either an acute stress induction or control task on each day, and plasma hormones were serially measured before a naturalistic, ad libitum meal.
Cortisol-awakening response was augmented in AN but not in BN relative to controls, with body mass index explaining the most variance in post-awakening cortisol (36%). Acute stress increased acyl-ghrelin and PYY in AN compared to controls; however, stress did not alter gut hormone profiles in BN. Instead, a group-by-stress interaction showed nominally reduced cortisol reactivity in BN, but not in AN, compared to controls. Ad libitum consumption was lower in both patient groups and unaffected by stress.
Findings extend previous reports of metabolic dysfunction in binge-eating disorders, identifying unique associations across disorders and under stress. Moreover, we observed disrupted homeostatic signaling in AN following psychological stress, which may explain, in part, the maintenance of dysregulated eating in this serious illness.
Psychosocial interventions that mitigate psychosocial distress in cancer patients are important. The primary aim of this study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of an adaptation of the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program among adult cancer patients. A secondary aim was to examine pre–post-program changes in psychosocial wellbeing.
The research design was a feasibility and acceptability study, with an examination of pre- to post-intervention changes in psychosocial measures. A study information pack was posted to 173 adult cancer patients 6 months–5 years post-diagnosis, with an invitation to attend an eight-week group-based adaptation of the MSC program.
Thirty-two (19%) consented to the program, with 30 commencing. Twenty-seven completed the program (mean age: 62.93 years, SD 14.04; 17 [63%] female), attending a mean 6.93 (SD 1.11) group sessions. There were no significant differences in medico-demographic factors between program-completers and those who did not consent. However, there was a trend toward shorter time since diagnosis in the program-completers group. Program-completers rated the program highly regarding content, relevance to the concerns of cancer patients, and the likelihood of recommending the program to other cancer patients. Sixty-three percent perceived that their mental wellbeing had improved from pre- to post-program; none perceived a deterioration in mental wellbeing. Small-to-medium effects were observed for depressive symptoms, fear of cancer recurrence, stress, loneliness, body image satisfaction, mindfulness, and self-compassion.
Significance of results
The MSC program appears feasible and acceptable to adults diagnosed with non-advanced cancer. The preliminary estimates of effect sizes in this sample suggest that participation in the program was associated with improvements in psychosocial wellbeing. Collectively, these findings suggest that there may be value in conducting an adequately powered randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of the MSC program in enhancing the psychosocial wellbeing of cancer patients.
Well-being and various forms of agitation in people with dementia can be improved in a person-centered long-term care setting. Data obtained during the Person-Centered Dementia Care and Environment (PerCEN) randomized controlled trial shed light on the factors that influenced the adoption and outcomes of person-centered interventions in long-term care from the perspective of study participants.
Data were obtained from PerCEN participants: individual semi-structured interviews with care managers (29), nurses and care staff (70); telephone surveys with family members (73); staff reports of care approaches; and 131 field note entries recorded by the person-centered care and environment facilitators. Data were interpreted inductively using content analysis, code building, theme development, and synthesis of findings.
All data sources confirmed that, when adopted, the person-centered model increased the number and variety of opportunities for resident interaction, improved flexibility in care regimens, enhanced staff's attention to resident needs, reduced resident agitation, and improved their well-being. Barriers and enablers for the person-centered model related to leadership, manager, staff and family appreciation of the model, staff's capacity, effective communication and team work among direct care staff, care service flexibility, and staff education on how to focus care on the person's well-being.
Successful knowledge translation of the person-centered model starts with managerial leadership and support; it is sustained when staff are educated and assisted to apply the model, and, along with families, come to appreciate the benefits of flexible care services and teamwork in achieving resident well-being. The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number is ACTRN 12608000095369.
To examine patterns and predictors of primary mental health care service use following 2 major Australian natural disaster events.
Utilizing data from a national minimum dataset, descriptive and regression analyses were conducted to identify levels and predictors of the use of the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program over a 2-year period following 2 major Australian bushfire and flood/cyclone disasters.
The bushfire disaster resulted in significantly greater and more enduring ATAPS service volume, while service delivery for both disasters peaked in the third quarter. Consumers affected by bushfires (IRR 1.51, 95% CI 1.20–1.89), diagnosed with depression (IRR 2.57, 95% CI 1.60-4.14), anxiety (IRR 2.06, 95% CI 1.21-3.49), or both disorders (IRR 2.15, 95% CI 1.35-3.42) utilized treatment at higher rates.
The substantial demand for primary mental health care services following major natural disasters can vary in magnitude and trajectory with disaster type. Disaster-specific ATAPS services provide a promising model to cater for this demand in primary care settings. Disaster type and need-based variables as drivers of ATAPS use intensity indicate an equitable level of service use in line with the program intention. Established service usage patterns can assist with estimating capacity requirements in similar disaster circumstances. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:275-282)
Many patients approaching death experience hopelessness, helplessness, and a depressed mood, and these factors can contribute to a difficult end-of-life (EoL) period. Biography services may assist patients in finding meaning and purpose at this time. The aim of our study was to investigate the lived experience of volunteers involved in a biography service in Melbourne, Australia, using a qualitative methodology.
The participants were 10 volunteers who had participated in a biography service within a private palliative care service. Each volunteer was interviewed separately using a study-specific semistructured interview guide. The transcripts of these interviews were then subjected to thematic analysis.
Analysis yielded the following themes: motivations for volunteering; dealing with death, dying, and existential issues; psychosocial benefits of volunteering; and benefits and challenges of working with patients and their families. Our results indicated that volunteering gave the volunteers a deeper appreciation of existential issues, and helped them to be more appreciative of their own lives and gain a deeper awareness of the struggles other people experience. They also suggested that volunteers felt that their involvement contributed to their own personal development, and was personally rewarding. Furthermore, the results highlighted that volunteers found that encounters with family members were sometimes challenging. While some were appreciative, others imposed time limits, became overly reliant on the volunteers, and were sometimes offended, hurt, and angered by what was included in the final biography.
Significance of Results:
It is hoped that the findings of the current study will provide direction for improvements in the biography services that will benefit patients, family members, and volunteers. In particular, our findings highlight the need to provide ongoing support for volunteers to assist them in handling the challenges of volunteering in a palliative care setting.
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