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Life experiences have been associated with significant changes in brain structure and functioning. This experience-dependent plasticity is thought to reflect the capacity of our nervous systems to adapt to environmental demands, and ultimately shape cognition. This chapter focuses on how such experiences and environment can specifically impact the hippocampus, a structure important for learning, memory, and healthy cognition. The hippocampal memory system maintains a competitive relationship with other memory systems, in particular the caudate nucleus of the striatum, part of the basal ganglia. Specific types of behavior, such as spatial-based vs. response-based navigational strategies, can influence these memory systems both positively and negatively and lead to long-term neuroplastic changes. Overreliance on non-hippocampus dependent navigational strategies is associated with a reduction in hippocampus volume and activity across the lifespan. Emerging research is now pointing to the wide use of electronic devices – GPS, smartphones, and video games – as a contributing factor to greater reliance on non-hippocampus dependent memory. Given the limited, but concerning, evidence that reliance on electronic devices can interact with already established factors related to underuse of the hippocampal memory system, further study is needed to better understand how these imbalances occur and how they can be mitigated.
The structural changes recent-onset posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) subjects were rarely investigated. This study was to compare temporal and causal relationships of structural changes in recent-onset PTSD with trauma-exposed control (TEC) subjects and non-TEC subjects.
T1-weighted magnetic resonance images of 27 PTSD, 33 TEC and 30 age- and sex-matched healthy control (HC) subjects were studied. The causal network of structural covariance was used to evaluate the causal relationships of structural changes in PTSD patients.
Volumes of bilateral hippocampal and left lingual gyrus were significantly smaller in PTSD patients and TEC subjects than HC subjects. As symptom scores increase, reduction in gray matter volume began in the hippocampus and progressed to the frontal lobe, then to the temporal and occipital cortices (p < 0.05, false discovery rate corrected). The hippocampus might be the primary hub of the directional network and demonstrated positive causal effects on the frontal, temporal and occipital regions (p < 0.05, false discovery rate corrected). The frontal regions, which were identified to be transitional points, projected causal effects to the occipital lobe and temporal regions and received causal effects from the hippocampus (p < 0.05, false discovery rate corrected).
The results offer evidence of localized abnormalities in the bilateral hippocampus and remote abnormalities in multiple temporal and frontal regions in typhoon-exposed PTSD patients.
This Research Reflection short review presents an overview of the effects of heat stress on dairy cattle udder health and discusses existing heat stress mitigation strategies for a better understanding and identification of appropriate abatement plans for future stress management. Due to high ambient temperatures with high relative humidity in summer, dairy cows respond by changes of physical, biochemical and biological pathways to neutralize heat stress resulting in decreased production performance and poorer immunity resulting in an increased incidence of intramammary infections (IMI) and a higher somatic cell count (SCC). In vitro studies on bovine polymorphonuclear cells (PMN) suggested that heat stress reduces the phagocytosis capacity and oxidative burst of PMN and alters the expression of apoptotic genes and miRNA which, together with having a negative effect on the immune system, may explain the increased susceptibility to IMI. Although there are limited data regarding the incidence rate of clinical mastitis in many countries or regions, knowledge of SCC at the cow or bulk tank level helps encourage farmers to improve herd health and to develop strategies for infection prevention and cure. Therefore, more research into bulk tank SCC and clinical mastitis rates is needed to explain the effect of heat stress on dairy cow udder health and functions that could be influenced by abatement plans.
In the United States, about 5 percent of the adult population (10 percent of current consumers of alcohol) suffers from an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Risk factors for AUD include genetic predisposition, difficult experiences in childhood, regular use of any addictive drug during early adolescence, and certain psychiatric syndromes. A severe, persistent type of AUD usually emerges before age 25, causing much dangerous intoxicated behavior. A less severe type has a later onset, fewer harmful consequences, and a more favorable prognosis. The course of alcohol AUD over decades is quite variable among those who continue to drink. Prolonged heavy use of alcohol damages the liver and many other organs and body systems, contributing to death in many with AUD. Women are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of chronic alcohol use. AUD typically emerges at a later age in women, but the problems escalate more rapidly. Most who drink alcohol do not become addicted, so use is generally accepted. Other, more addictive drugs (such as methamphetamine and opioids) appear to be more dangerous, but due to its widespread use, alcohol is a greater threat to public health.
Approximately half of the individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder also suffer from SUD. Disorders of unipolar depression and anxiety are associated with an incidence of SUD double or triple that seen in the general population. Self-medication of distressing states with addictive drugs results in SUD for some individuals. Conversely, heavy drug use can cause or worsen non-drug psychiatric disorders. The co-occurrence of both disorders could also result from a third factor such as genetic predisposition. The term “addictive personality” has little scientific credibility, but certain personality disorders (antisocial, bipolar) and factors (impulsivity, negativity) are also SUD risk factors. However, many with SUD do not display these troublesome extremes of emotion and behavior. A major risk factor for SUD is regular use of an addictive drug before age 15 – an early indicator of addictive vulnerability associated with a four-fold increase in the probability of eventual SUD. Other adolescent risk factors include deviant and drug-using friends, expectations of positive drug effects, and impaired self-regulation of behavior, emotions, and cognition.
In this article various constructions of English with the form A + N are considered, with particular reference to stress patterns. It is shown that there are several such patterns, and that stress patterns do not correlate with fixed effects. It is also argued that a simple division between compound and phrase does not seem to provide a motivation for the patterns found. The patterns seem to be determined partly by factors which are known to influence stress patterns in N + N constructions, and partly by lexical class, though variability in which expression belongs to which class is acknowledged. It is concluded that this is an area of English grammar that needs further research.
Evacuees’ quality of life can be improved by investigating both their health problems and the conditions of evacuation centers during natural disasters.
This study aims to develop new evacuee and evacuation center information sheets that focus on infection control, oral health and dentures, mental health, and rehabilitation during natural disasters.
The analysis was conducted with the Delphi method by questioning doctors from various fields (infectious disease, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and dentistry) about the information that may be needed for evacuees and in the evacuation center environment.
Two information sheets were created in this study. One is an evacuation center environmental health assessment sheet that includes information about the overview of evacuees’ health and the evacuation center environment. The other is an evacuee registration sheet that would be completed by the evacuees themselves.
The information sheets developed in this study will be useful in times of disaster because they have the potential to improve evacuee health conditions, as well as evacuation center environments.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been identified as a potential risk factor for developing dementia. There are currently, however, no meta-analyses quantifying this risk.
To systematically review and quantify the risk of future dementia associated with PTSD across populations. PROSPERO registration number CRD42019130392.
We searched nine electronic databases up to 25 October 2019 for longitudinal studies assessing PTSD and risk of dementia. We used random- and fixed-effects meta-analyses to pool estimates across studies.
PTSD was associated with a significant risk for all-cause dementia: pooled hazard ratio HR = 1.61 (95% CI 1.43–1.81, I2= 85.8%, P < 0.001; n = 1 693 678; 8 studies). Pooled HR was 1.61 (95% CI 1.46–1.78; I2= 80.9%, P < 0.001; n = 905 896; 5 studies) in veterans, and 2.11 (95% CI 1.03–4.33, I2= 91.2%, P < 0.001; n = 787 782; 3 studies) in the general population. The association between PTSD and dementia remained significant after excluding studies with high risk of bias (HR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.39–1.73, I2= 83.9%, P < 0.001; n = 1 684 928; 7 studies). Most studies included were retrospective and there was evidence of high heterogeneity.
This is the first meta-analysis quantifying the association of PTSD and risk of dementia showing that PTSD is a strong and potentially modifiable risk factor for all-cause dementia. Future studies investigating potential causal mechanisms, and the protective value of treating PTSD are needed.
Research into mental disorders has found mental imagery to be a maintaining factor for psychological distress. However, studies investigating mental imagery in eating disorders are scarce.
The aim of the present study was to compare spontaneous mental imagery related to eating, weight and/or appearance and intrusive prospective imagery in women with an eating disorder with female healthy controls.
Spontaneous mental imagery and intrusive prospective imagery were assessed in adult women with an eating disorder (n = 29) and in female healthy controls (n = 32) using a semi-structured interview and the Impact of Future Events Scale, respectively.
In comparison with healthy controls, the spontaneous mental images in individuals with an eating disorder involved more sensory modalities (U = 156.50, p < .001, r = –.51), were more vivid (t (52) = 2.04, p = .047, d = .55), negative (U = 103.00, p < .001, r = –.62), and anxiety provoking (U = 158.50, p < .001, r = –.49), and were experienced with a lower sense of control (U = 215.00, p = .009, r = –.36). The emotional impact of intrusive prospective imagery (U = 105.00, p < .001, r = –.66) was also higher in individuals with an eating disorder, as was the number of negative prospective images (U = 283.00, p = .016, r = –.31).
Our findings are consistent with previous research on mental imagery in other psychiatric disorders, and provide possibilities for incorporating imagery-based techniques in treatment interventions.
Smoking rates in people with depression and anxiety are twice as high as in the general population, even though people with depression and anxiety are motivated to stop smoking. Most healthcare professionals are aware that stopping smoking is one of the greatest changes that people can make to improve their health. However, smoking cessation can be a difficult topic to raise. Evidence suggests that smoking may cause some mental health problems, and that the tobacco withdrawal cycle partly contributes to worse mental health. By stopping smoking, a person's mental health may improve, and the size of this improvement might be equal to taking antidepressants. In this article we outline ways in which healthcare professionals can compassionately and respectfully raise the topic of smoking to encourage smoking cessation. We draw on evidence-based methods such as cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and outline approaches that healthcare professionals can use to integrate these methods into routine care to help their patients stop smoking.
Desiccation-tolerant (DT) plant germplasm (i.e. seeds, pollen and spores) survive drying to low moisture contents, when cytoplasm solidifies, forming a glass, and chemical reactions are slowed. DT germplasm may survive for long periods in this state, though inter-specific and intra-specific variation occurs and is not currently explained. Such variability has consequences for agriculture, forestry and biodiversity conservation. Longevity was previously considered in the context of morphological features, cellular constituents or habitat characteristics. We suggest, however, that a biophysical perspective, which considers the molecular organization – or structure – within dried cytoplasm, can provide a more integrated understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that control ageing rates, hence the variation of longevity among species and cell types. Based on biochemical composition and physical–chemical properties of dried materials, we explore three types of the interplay between structural conformations of dried cytoplasm and ageing: (1) cells that lack chlorophyll and contain few storage lipids may exhibit long shelf life, with ageing probably occurring through slow autoxidative processes within the glassy matrix as it relaxes; (2) cells with active chlorophyll may die quickly, possibly because they are prone to oxidative stress promoted by the photosynthetic pigments in the absence of metabolic water and (3) cells that lack chloroplasts but contain high storage lipids may die quickly during storage at −20°C, possibly because lipids crystallize and destabilize the glassy matrix. Understanding the complex variation in structural conformation in space and time may help to design strategies that increase longevity in germplasm with generally poor shelf life.
Associations have been observed between socioeconomic status (SES) and language outcomes from early childhood, but individual variability is high. Exposure to high levels of stress, often associated with low-SES status, might influence how parents and infants interact within the early language environment. Differences in these early language behaviors, and in early neurodevelopment, might underlie SES-based differences in language that emerge later on. Analysis of natural language samples from a predominantly low-/mid-income sample of mother-infant dyads, obtained using the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) system, found that maternal reports of exposure to stressful life events, and perceived stress, were negatively correlated with child vocalizations and conversational turns when infants were 6 and 12 months of age. Greater numbers of vocalizations and conversational turns were also associated with lower relative theta power and higher relative gamma power in 6- and 12-month baseline EEG – a pattern that might support subsequent language development.
Outbreaks and containment measures implemented to control them can increase stress in affected populations. The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on perceived stress levels in the Jordanian population is unknown.
To determine the perceived stress level and factors associated with it in the Jordanian population during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Required data such as the perceived stress scale (PSS-10) and possible predictors of perceived stress were collected through a web-based survey. Statistical analysis was conducted through SPSS.
The mean (standard deviation) of perceived stress score was 19.8 (6.7). Regression analysis reviled that stress was increased in females, young adults, usually being stressed more than others by a health problem, increased perceived severity of the disease, increased overall worry score, and student’s worry regarding their studies/graduation. While perceived stress was decreased if participants’ self-rated health status score increased.
In the context of increasing public health preparedness the results of this study can be used in designing interventions to alleviate stress in susceptible segments of the Jordanian community.
The objective of this study was to examine associations between media contact and posttraumatic stress in a sample with a large number of individuals who were directly exposed to the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks and to compare outcomes in exposed and unexposed participants.
Structured interviews and questionnaires were administered to a volunteer sample of 254 employees of New York City businesses 35 months after the attacks to document disaster trauma exposures, posttraumatic stress outcomes, and media contact and reactions.
Media variables were not associated with psychopathological outcomes in exposed participants, but media contact in the first week after the attacks and feeling moderately/extremely bothered by graphic 9/11 media images were associated with re-experiencing symptoms in both the exposed and unexposed participants. Feeling moderately/extremely bothered by graphic media images was associated with hyperarousal symptoms in exposed participants.
The findings suggest that media contact did not lead to psychopathology in exposed individuals, although it was associated with normative distress in both exposure groups. Because of the potential for adverse effects associated with media contact, clinicians and public health professionals are encouraged to discuss concerns about mass trauma media contact with their patients and the public at large.
Investigation of treatments that effectively treat adults with post-traumatic stress disorder from childhood experiences (Ch-PTSD) and are well tolerated by patients is needed to improve outcomes for this population.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two trauma-focused treatments, imagery rescripting (ImRs) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), for treating Ch-PTSD.
We conducted an international, multicentre, randomised clinical trial, recruiting adults with Ch-PTSD from childhood trauma before 16 years of age. Participants were randomised to treatment condition and assessed by blind raters at multiple time points. Participants received up to 12 90-min sessions of either ImRs or EMDR, biweekly.
A total of 155 participants were included in the final intent-to-treat analysis. Drop-out rates were low, at 7.7%. A generalised linear mixed model of repeated measures showed that observer-rated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms significantly decreased for both ImRs (d = 1.72) and EMDR (d = 1.73) at the 8-week post-treatment assessment. Similar results were seen with secondary outcome measures and self-reported PTSD symptoms. There were no significant differences between the two treatments on any standardised measure at post-treatment and follow-up.
ImRs and EMDR treatments were found to be effective in treating PTSD symptoms arising from childhood trauma, and in reducing other symptoms such as depression, dissociation and trauma-related cognitions. The low drop-out rates suggest that the treatments were well tolerated by participants. The results from this study provide evidence for the use of trauma-focused treatments for Ch-PTSD.
Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show a different stress-related cognitive style compared with healthy controls (HC). The FK506 binding protein 5 gene (FKBP5), one of the PTSD known risk factors, is involved in the stress response through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and brain volumetric alterations. The present study aimed to uncover the neural correlates of stress-related cognitive styles through the analysis of the regional brain volumes and FKBP5 genotype in patients with PTSD compared with HC.
In this study, 51 patients with PTSD and 94 HC were assessed for stress-related cognitive styles, PTSD symptoms severity, and genotype of FKBP5 single nucleotide polymorphisms, and underwent T1-weighted structural magnetic resonance imaging. Diagnosis-by-genotype interaction for regional brain volumes was examined in 16 brain regions of interest.
Patients with PTSD showed significantly higher levels of catastrophizing, ruminative response, and repression, and reduced distress aversion and positive reappraisal compared with HC (p < 0.001). Significant diagnosis-by-genotype interactions for regional brain volumes were observed for bilateral hippocampi and left frontal operculum. A significant positive correlation between the severity of the repression and left hippocampal volume was found in a subgroup of patients with PTSD with FKBP5 rs3800373 (AA genotype) or rs1360780 (CC genotype).
The present study showed the influences of FKBP5 genotype on the distorted cognitive styles in PTSD by measuring the volumetric alteration of hippocampal regions, providing a possible role of the hippocampus and left frontal operculum as significant neurobiological correlates of PTSD.
The research described in this technical research communication examines the hypothesis that sublethal stress conditions can improve the survival of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis during drying and subsequent storage. After drying, the L. lactis that had adapted to acid or osmotic stresses did not differ statistically in terms of cell viability loss compared to the control samples tested (~0.38 log cycles). However, the cells that had adapted to oxidative conditions demonstrated a cell viability loss of only 0.01 log cycles. After 45 d of storage at temperatures of 4 and 25 °C, the final L. lactis sample populations were shown to be higher (112.5%) when they had been submitted to sublethal conditions of oxidative stress. When the cell samples were exposed to acid stress conditions, they exhibited a viability loss (0.82 log cycles) that was statistically different from the control sample (0.58 log cycles) after 45 d. Osmotic stress conditions did not demonstrate any influence over cell survival rates. Thus, submitting cells to oxidative stress conditions prior to storage has been shown to be a potential strategy for producing dehydrated cultures of L. lactis strains that are less sensitive to oxygen exposure.
Occupational groups operating in dangerous environments may witness the development of acute stress reaction (ASR) in team members. Witnessing ASR in team members may increase the risk of developing subsequent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
To describe ASR symptoms that individuals witness, assess the relationship between witnessing a team member exhibiting ASR symptoms and an individual's own PTSD symptoms, and describe common intervention responses by peers.
Cross-sectional, anonymous surveys were conducted with US soldiers who were previously deployed (sample 1; n = 176) and currently deployed sample 2; n = 497). Surveys assessed combat experiences, PTSD (PTSD Checklist-5), ASR exposure and intervention responses. Analyses included frequencies and binary logistic regression.
Witnessing at least one ASR symptom during a combat-related event was reported by 51.7% in sample 1 and 42.4% in sample 2; the most commonly observed symptoms were being unable to function or being detached. Controlling for combat experiences, high levels of witnessing a team member exhibit ASR symptoms was associated with increased risk of subthreshold PTSD or PTSD in sample 1 (odds ratio (OR) = 8.69, 95% CI 2.29–42.60) and approached significance in sample 2 (OR = 1.67, 95% CI 0.98–2.81). Common intervention responses included providing a directive or yelling; many also reported being unsure how to respond.
Witnessing team members who exhibit ASR symptoms appears to be associated with screening positive for subthreshold PTSD or PTSD. Results suggest the need for further research into how to prepare individuals to manage ASR in team members and to examine ASR in other high-risk occupations.
Some Gene × Environment interaction (G×E) research has focused upon single candidate genes, whereas other related work has targeted multiple genes (e.g., polygenic scores). Each approach has informed efforts to identify individuals who are either especially vulnerable to the negative effects of contextual adversity (diathesis stress) or especially susceptible to both positive and negative contextual conditions (differential susceptibility). A critical step in all such molecular G×E research is the selection of genetic variants thought to moderate environmental influences, a subject that has not received a great deal of attention in critiques of G×E research (beyond the observation of small effects of individual genes). Here we conceptually distinguish three phases of G×E work based on the selection of genes presumed to moderate environmental effects and the theoretical basis of such decisions: (a) single candidate genes, (b) composited (multiple) candidate genes, and (c) GWAS-derived polygenic scores. This illustrative, not exhaustive, review makes it clear that implicit or explicit theoretical assumptions inform gene selection in ways that have not been clearly articulated or fully appreciated.
High rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are documented within refugee populations. Although research supports effectiveness of trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapy (TF-CBT) among Western populations, little research exists for its efficacy among refugees living in camps and settlements in developing nations.
To investigate whether a culturally sensitive, group-based TF-CBT programme (EMPOWER) delivered in a Ugandan refugee settlement effectively reduced refugees’ post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), and whether sociodemographic factors, trauma characteristics, or PTSS severity related to programme completion or treatment outcomes.
Method and Results:
Data linkages were conducted on information provided by 174 Congolese refugees living in a Ugandan settlement (mean age = 33.4 years, SD = 11.7; 49% male). Using a quasi-experimental design, participants who initially completed the intervention (n = 43) delivered across nine 90-minute sessions, reported significant reductions in self-reported PTSS with a large effect size. The delayed treatment group (n = 55) also reported significant treatment gains once they received the intervention. Participants who completed the programme reported significantly greater initial PTSS severity than those who dropped out, while no sociodemographic factors, trauma characteristics or PTSS were associated with better treatment outcomes.
A culturally sensitive, group-based TF-CBT programme delivered in a refugee settlement meaningfully reduces refugees’ PTSS severity and is equally effective for all participants, with the highest retention rates found among those in greatest need of treatment. Programmes such as this, with capacity to treat hundreds of people simultaneously, represent highly cost-effective, accessible, disseminable and effective treatment for PTSS among refugees living in humanitarian settings in developing nations.