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Firefighters are routinely exposed to various traumatic events and often experience a range of trauma-related symptoms. Although these repeated traumatic exposures rarely progress to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, firefighters are still considered to be a vulnerable population with regard to trauma.
To investigate how the human brain responds to or compensates for the repeated experience of traumatic stress.
We included 98 healthy firefighters with repeated traumatic experiences but without any diagnosis of mental illness and 98 non-firefighter healthy individuals without any history of trauma. Functional connectivity within the fear circuitry, which consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), was examined using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Trauma-related symptoms were evaluated using the Impact of Event Scale – Revised.
The firefighter group had greater functional connectivity between the insula and several regions of the fear circuitry including the bilateral amygdalae, bilateral hippocampi and vmPFC as compared with healthy individuals. In the firefighter group, stronger insula–amygdala connectivity was associated with greater severity of trauma-related symptoms (β = 0.36, P = 0.005), whereas higher insula–vmPFC connectivity was related to milder symptoms in response to repeated trauma (β = −0.28, P = 0.01).
The current findings suggest an active involvement of insular functional connectivity in response to repeated traumatic stress. Functional connectivity of the insula in relation to the amygdala and vmPFC may be potential pathways that underlie the risk for and resilience to repeated traumatic stress, respectively.
To determine the effectiveness of a workplace wellness programme intervention in improving participants’ behaviour towards choosing a healthy diet and the correlation with health indicators.
A retrospective cohort study.
Wellness programme in the Midwest, USA.
Employees (n 12 636) who participated in a wellness programme for three consecutive years during years 2004 to 2013 and who completed web-based health risk questionnaires. The wellness programme included annual health screening, laboratory measures, health risk questionnaire and personalized health-care programme. Participants’ food group intakes, BMI and health indicators were compared between the first and last year of participation. McNemar’s non-parametric test was used for paired nominal data. Pearson correlations were computed for paired food and health indicator measurements. Correlations between dietary intake and BMI, cholesterol and TAG were computed using Pearson correlations and McNemar’s test.
There were negative correlations between intakes of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, healthy eating pattern and health outcome indicators such as BMI and TAG levels. Additionally, the percentage of employees who increased their consumption of fruits (16·88 v. 12·08 %, P<0·001), vegetables (15·20 v. 11·44 %, P<0·001) and dark green leafy vegetables (12·03 v. 7·27 %, P 0·001) was significantly higher than the percentage of participants who decreased their intake of these food groups during the third-year follow-up.
The wellness programme improved some health indicator parameters and had a positive impact on increasing participants’ intakes of fruits, vegetables and whole grains at the third year of follow-up.
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