Article Summaries for June 2017 Psychosomatic Medicine, Volume 79, Issue 5

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The association between negative affect and autonomic nervous system measures in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was examined by Dennis et al. using electronic diary assessments and ambulatory ECG monitoring of minute-to-minute heart rate (HR) and heart-rate variability (HRV). PTSD symptom severity was positively associated with heightened HR and decreased HRV during episodes of negative affect. The association between PTSD symptom severity and hyperemic flow was mediated by negative affect–related HRV-based measures of autonomic arousal, which was independent of smoking, alcohol use, and sleep duration.
Pages 496–505; http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000438
Somatization, which may include multiple physical symptoms and health anxiety, contributes to psychopathology and high service use. Maunder et al. examined how maternal sensitivity and adverse childhood experiences are related to somatization. Lower maternal sensitivity (warm, appropriate, and timely responses to infant signals) at 18 months of age was longitudinally associated with somatization at age 5 years. In an accompanying study in adults, there were consistent, significant relationships between attachment insecurity and somatization, with the strongest findings for attachment anxiety and health anxiety. Insecure attachment may mediate between childhood adversity and adult somatization.
Pages 506–513; http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000437
Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is more prevalent in people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Hostinar et al. examined whether the timing of exposure to low socioeconomic status (SES) affects metabolic risk. Analyses of MetS components in 354 participants revealed a stronger effect of early-life SES than current adult SES on metabolic outcomes, suggesting that MetS health disparities originate in childhood.
Pages 514–523; http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000455
Early life stress (ELS) has been shown to influence health later in life. Suarez et al. examined whether FKBP5 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which regulate HPA axis functioning, interact with ELS. Presence of ELS was based on separation of a child from its parents due to evacuations during World War II. Analyses revealed that minor alleles in combination with ELS exposure predict higher insulin and glucose values in midlife. These findings support the role of HPA axis dysregulation in health-related metabolic outcomes.
Pages 524–532; http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000439
Nunley et al. examined associations between scores on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), a measure of psychomotor speed, and cerebral gray matter volumes in middle-aged adults with type 1 diabetes. Results showed that smaller volumes of putamen and thalamus were related to a lower DSST score. This study sets the stage for research on modifiable factors that protect against volume atrophy of basal ganglia structures, potentially resulting in the prevention or delay of psychomotor slowing.
Pages 533–540; http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000449
Cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and obesity are associated with preclinical alterations in cognition and brain structure. Because this information has been derived from studies using either comprehensive risk scores or single isolated factors, Gonzales et al. examined the association patterns of empirically derived cardiovascular disease risk factor domains with neuropsychological cognitive tasks and MRI-based brain structure. They found that different cardiovascular risk factor domains (cholesterol, glucose dysregulation, metabolic dysregulation, and blood pressure) showed divergent associations with cognition and brain structures.
Pages 541–548; http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000448
Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids appears to improve symptoms in psychiatric disorders involving dysregulated mood and impulse control. Ginty et al. used a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial to test whether such supplementation would be similarly beneficial in healthy adults. They found that moderately increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids over 18-weeks in healthy adults did not alter self-reported mood or impulsivity. Omega-3 fatty acids also did not alter functional brain activity during the processing of emotional and reward-related stimuli.
Pages 549–556; http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000453
Cortisol, the end-product of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, plays an important role in modulating sleep, yet studies investigating the association between diurnal cortisol rhythm and sleep patterns in young children are scarce.
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