Somatosensory amplification and its relationship to somatosensory, auditory, and visual evoked and event-related potentials (P300).
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
Somatosensory amplification refers to the tendency to experience benign and ambiguous somatic sensation as intense, noxious, and disturbing. The construct is helpful in assessing the perceptual style of a variety of somatizing conditions, but there is no human study clarifying the effects of neurological function on somatosensory amplification. The present study examines the relationship between somatosensory amplification and different types of evoked potentials. In 33 healthy volunteers (mean age 24 years, 18 men), latencies and amplitudes were recorded using the following parameters: short-latency somatosensory, brainstem-auditory, and visual evoked potentials (SSEP, BAEP, and VEP, respectively) and auditory event-related potentials (ERP). All subjects completed questionnaires for the Somatosensory Amplification Scale (SSAS), 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), and Profile of Mood State (POMS). The SSAS scores were significantly associated with the P200 latency (p=0.020) and P300 amplitude of ERP (p=0.041), controlling for the significant effect of the TAS and POMS depression and tension-anxiety scales. The SSEP, BAEP, and VEP latencies or amplitudes were not statistically significant (all p>0.05). When the subjects were divided into high and low SSAS groups based on the median of the SSAS scores, the P300 amplitude of ERP significantly discriminated the two groups (p=0.023) by multiple logistic regression analysis. Although the findings should be viewed as preliminary because of the small sample size, somatosensory amplification appears to reflect some aspects of long-latency cognitive processing rather than short-latency interceptive sensitivity from the viewpoint of encephalography.
Department of Psychology and the Integrative Neuroscience Research Center, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881, USA.
Alexithymia is associated with emotion processing deficits, particularly for negative emotional information. However, also common are a high prevalence of somatic symptoms and the perception of somatic sensations as distressing. Although little research has yet been conducted on memory in alexithymia, we hypothesized a paradoxical effect of alexithymia on memory. Specifically, recall of negative emotional words was expected to be reduced in alexithymia, while memory for illness words was expected to be enhanced in alexithymia. Eighty-five high or low alexithymia participants viewed and rated arousing illness-related ("pain"), emotionally positive ("thrill"), negative ("hatred"), and neutral words ("horse"). Recall was assessed 45 min later. High alexithymia participants recalled significantly fewer negative emotion words but also more illness-related words than low alexithymia participants. The results suggest that personal relevance can shape cognitive processing of stimuli, even to enhance retention of a subclass of stimuli whose retention is generally impaired in alexithymia.
Neurobehavioral Deficits and Increased Blood Pressure in School-Age Children Prenatally Exposed to Pesticides.
Raul Harari, Jordi Julvez, Katsuyuki Murata, Dana Barr, David C Bellinger, Frodi Debes, Philippe Grandjean
Background. The long-term neurotoxicity risks caused by prenatal exposures to pesticides are unclear, but a previous pilot study of Ecuadorian school children suggested that blood pressure and visuospatial processing may be vulnerable. Objectives. In the same area of northern Ecuador, where floriculture is intensive and relies on female employment, a more intensive cross-sectional study was carried out to assess in greater detail children's neurobehavioral functions at age 6-8 years. Methods. We examined all 87 children attending two grades in the local public school with an expanded battery of neurobehavioral tests. Information on pesticide exposure during the index pregnancy was obtained from maternal interview. The children's current pesticide exposure was assessed from the urinary excretion of organophosphate metabolites and erythrocyte acetylcholine esterase activity. Results. Of 84 eligible participants, 35 were exposed to pesticides during pregnancy due to maternal occupational exposure, and 23 had indirect exposure from paternal work. Twenty-two children had detectable current exposure irrespective of their prenatal exposure status. Only children with prenatal exposure from maternal greenhouse work showed consistent deficits after covariate adjustment, which included stunting and socioeconomic variables. Exposure-related deficits were the strongest for motor speed (Finger Tapping Task); motor coordination (Santa Ana Form Board); visuospatial performance (Stanford-Binet Copying Test); and visual memory (Stanford-Binet Copying Recall Test). These associations corresponded to a developmental delay of 1.5-2 years. Prenatal pesticide exposure was also significantly associated with an average increase of 3.6 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and a slight decrease in body mass index of 1.1 kg/m2. Inclusion of the pilot data strengthened these results. Conclusions. These findings support the notion that prenatal exposure to pesticides - at levels not producing adverse health outcomes in the mother - can cause lasting adverse effects on brain development. Pesticide exposure therefore may contribute to a "silent pandemic" of developmental neurotoxicity.
Attention to bodily sensations and symptom perception in individuals with idiopathic environmental intolerance.
The Danish Research Centre for Chemical Sensitivities, Department of Dermato-Allergology, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Ledreborg Alle 40, 2.th, 2820, Gentofte, Denmark, email@example.com.
INTRODUCTION: Idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) is characterized by non-specific symptoms attributed to exposure to environmental odours or chemicals at levels below those known to induce adverse health effects. A clarification of whether psychological processes involved in sensory perceptions are associated with IEI would add to our understanding of this complex disorder. PURPOSE: To examine if measures of somato-sensory amplification, autonomic perception and absorption are associated with IEI. METHODS: The study included individuals with self-reported or physician-diagnosed IEI. Participants (n = 732) completed questionnaires that included items on descriptive variables of IEI, the Somato-Sensory Amplification Scale (SSAS), the Autonomic Perception Questionnaire (APQ), the Tellegen Absorption Scale (TAS) and a Negative Affectivity Scale (NAS). RESULTS: Multiple, hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed significant positive associations between SSAS, APQ, and IEI, while small and inverse associations were seen between TAS and IEI. CONCLUSIONS: The association with SSAS and APQ suggests that perceptual personality characteristics are important in understanding this disorder.
Fixed belief in cognitive dysfunction despite normal neuropsychological scores: neurocognitive hypochondriasis?
Center for Forensic Studies, Alliant International University - LA, 1000 South Fremont Avenue, Alhambra, CA91803, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
A subset of patients who present for neuropsychological testing report dysfunction in daily life activities secondary to cognitive deficits, but are found on formal testing to have no objective abnormalities, raising the possibility of "neurocognitive hypochondriasis." Such a case is presented, and the factors that appear to give rise to this presentation are explored. Cases of hypochondriacal overconcern regarding cognitive function are likely not rare, particularly given research showing there is little correlation between objective report of cognitive dysfunction and actual test scores in such conditions as mild traumatic brain injury, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, toxic mold exposure, and post-polio syndrome.
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan. email@example.com
Many patients with somatoform disorders are frequently encountered in psychosomatic clinics as well as in primary care clinics. To assess such patients objectively, the concept of somatosensory amplification may be useful. Somatosensory amplification refers to the tendency to experience a somatic sensation as intense, noxious, and disturbing. It may have a role in a variety of medical conditions characterized by somatic symptoms that are disproportionate to demonstrable organ pathology. It may also explain some of the variability in somatic symptomatology found among different patients with the same serious medical disorder. It has been assessed with a self-report questionnaire, the Somatosensory Amplification Scale. This instrument was developed in a clinical setting in the U.S., and the reliability and validity of the Japanese and Turkish versions have been confirmed as well.Many studies have attempted to clarify the specific role of somatosensory amplification as a pathogenic mechanism in somatization. It has been reported that somatosensory amplification does not correlate with heightened sensitivity to bodily sensations and that emotional reactivity exerts its influence on somatization via a negatively biased reporting style. According to our recent electroencephalographic study, somatosensory amplification appears to reflect some aspects of long-latency cognitive processing rather than short-latency interoceptive sensitivity.The concept of somatosensory amplification can be useful as an indicator of somatization in the therapy of a broad range of disorders, from impaired self-awareness to various psychiatric disorders. It also provides useful information for choosing appropriate pharmacological or psychological therapy. While somatosensory amplification has a role in the presentation of somatic symptoms, it is closely associated with other factors, namely, anxiety, depression, and alexithymia that may also influence the same. The specific role of somatosensory amplification with regard to both neurological and psychological function should be clarified in future studies. In this paper, we will explain the concept of amplification and describe its role in psychosomatic illness.
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BMJ Open. 2012 ;2 (5): 22964114
The possible absence of a healthy-worker effect: a cross-sectional survey among educated Japanese women.
Department of Environmental Sciences, International College of Arts and Sciences, Fukuoka Women's University, Fukuoka, Japan.
OBJECTIVES Despite being highly educated in comparison with women in other member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Japanese women are expected to assume traditional gender roles, and many dedicate themselves to full-time housewifery. Women working outside the home do so under poor conditions, and their health may not be better than that of housewives. This study compared the self-rated health status and health behaviours of housewives and working women in Japan. DESIGN Cross-sectional survey. SETTING A national university in Tokyo with 9864 alumnae. PARTICIPANTS A total 1344 women who graduated since 1985 and completed questionnaires in an anonymous mail-based survey. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Health anxiety and satisfaction, receipt of health check-ups, eating breakfast, smoking, and sleep problems according to job status and family demands: housewives (n=247) and working women with (n=624) and without (n=436) family demands. ORs were used for risk assessment, with housewives as a reference. RESULTS After adjustment for satisfaction with present employment status and other confounding factors, working women were more likely than housewives to feel health anxiety (with family demands, OR: 1.68, 95% CI1.10 to 2.57; without family demands, OR: 3.57, 95% CI 2.19 to 4.50) and health dissatisfaction (without family demands, OR: 3.50, 95% CI 2.35 to 5.21); they were also more likely than housewives to eat an insufficient breakfast (with family demands, OR: 1.91, 95% CI 1.22 to 3.00; without family demands, OR: 4.02, 95% CI 2.47 to 6.57) and to have sleep problems (ORs: 2.08 to 4.03). CONCLUSIONS No healthy-worker effect was found among Japanese women. Housewives, at least those who are well educated, appear to have better health status and health-related behaviours than do working women with the same level of education.
A 2-year cohort study on the impact of an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) on depression and suicidal thoughts in male Japanese workers.
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8605, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
Gastric electrical activity and cardiovascular risk factors in relation to autonomic nervous function, hormonal responses, and health-related lifestyles in young men.
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, School of Medicine, Teikyo University, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi, Tokyo 173-8605, Japan.
BACKGROUND Electrogastrography (EGG) is the noninvasive recording of gastric myoelectrical activity. The purpose of the present study was to assess associations of EGG with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), autonomic nervous function, hormonal responses, and health-related lifestyles. METHODS EGG was measured in 435 Japanese men, aged 24-39 years, who worked at the same company. In addition to anthropometric measurements and blood examinations, power spectral analysis of heart rate variability in low-frequency (LF; 0.04-0.15 Hz) and high-frequency (HF; 0.15-0.40 Hz) bands was conducted. LF/HF and HF were used as the indicators of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous activity, respectively. Serum cortisol and catecholamine levels were measured as well. RESULTS In univariate analyses, the EGG frequency was associated positively with the serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and cholesterol level (both-P < 0.0001) and negatively with age, body mass index (BMI), serum triglyceride level, fasting blood sugar, and diastolic blood pressure (all P < 0.05). The EGG frequency tended to increase with increases in the HF band (P = 0.10) and was not significantly associated with the LF/HF ratio (P = 0.45). Neither hormonal responses nor health-related lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol were significant (all P > 0.05). A multivariate analysis indicated that both the HDL cholesterol level and BMI were independent predictors of EGG frequency (both P < 0.05), after adjusting for the significant effects of age, HF, and other CVD factors. CONCLUSIONS Slowed EGG frequency appeared to be linked with various CVD risk factors, including obesity and low HDL cholesterol levels, in young men.
Relationships between effort-reward imbalance, over-commitment, and fatigue in Japanese information-technology workers.
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Kaga, Tokyo, Japan. email@example.com
Autonomic nervous activity changes in relation to the reporting of subjective symptoms among male workers in an information service company.
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, 2-11-1 Kaga, 173-8605, Tokyo, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org.
OBJECTIVES The objective of the study was to clarify the relationship between major subjective symptoms and autonomic nervous system function by power spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV). METHODS Short-term HRV was examined for 413 male workers in a Japanese information service company aged 19-45 years, and questionnaire survey on subjective symptoms and biochemical measurements were conducted at annual health checkup. RESULTS The most prevalent subjective symptom (> or =10%) was dullness, followed by fatigue, backache, diarrhea, sleep disorder, and irritation. HRV in high frequency (HF 0.15-0.40 Hz) bands and the coefficient of variance in the electrocardiographic R-R interval (CVrr) were lower in the subjects with any of these six symptoms than in those without the symptoms. Both parameters were negatively associated with the reporting of any of the six symptoms by multiple regression analyses, controlling for the significant effects of age (HF and CVrr) and plasma cortisol levels (HF). CONCLUSION It was suggested that the reporting of the subjective symptoms is one of good predictors for reduced parasympathetic tones.
Influence of overtime work, sleep duration, and perceived job characteristics on the physical and mental status of software engineers.
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8605, Japan.
To investigate the impact of overtime work, sleep duration, and perceived job characteristics on physical and mental status, a cross-sectional study was conducted on 377 workers (average age; 28 years old) in an information-technology (IT) company, engaged in consultation, system integration solution, and data management relevant to IT system. The psychophysical outcomes of overtime work were assessed using the Hamilton Depression Scale (HDS), Profile of Mood Status (POMS), major physical symptoms, and overtime work data for the preceding three-months. Sleep duration was directly asked by a physician. A job strain index was defined as the ratio of job-demands to job-control scores evaluated using the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). In a univariate analysis, overtime work was significantly related with HDS scores, POMS anger-hostility scores, and the total physical symptom count in both sexes (all p < 0.05), but not in multiple regression models, after controlling for sleep duration and the job strain index. Sleep duration was negatively related to the symptom count in men and to POMS tension-anxiety scores in women (both p < 0.05); the job strain index was positively related to POMS anger-hostility scores in both sexes and to HDS scores and POMS tension-anxiety scores in men (all p < 0.05). Although overtime work was associated with physical and mental complaints, sleep duration and the job strain index seemed to be better indicators for physical and mental distress in overloaded workers.
Association between work-related psychological stress and arterial stiffness measured by brachial-ankle pulse-wave velocity in young Japanese males from an information service company.
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan. email@example.com
OBJECTIVES This study examined the relationship between work-related psychological stress and arterial stiffness in young Japanese workers. METHODS A cross-sectional study was conducted on 396 Japanese male workers, aged 24 to 39 years, employed in a Japanese information service company. Work-related psychological stress was measured by the Job Content Questionnaire based on the job demand-control model. The job-strain index was defined as the ratio of job demand to job-control scores. The outcome of the study was the degree of arteriosclerosis as assessed by brachial pulse-wave velocity (baPWV). The cardiovascular risk factors analyzed were age, heart rate, blood pressure, body mass index, serum lipid, blood sugar levels, catecholamine levels, ethanol consumption, smoking, and overtime. In addition, psychological responses were assessed by tension-anxiety and anger-hostility scales in the Profile of Mood States (POMS). RESULTS The baPWV was positively (P<0.05) associated with physiological variables including age, heart rate, body mass index, and serum levels of total cholesterol, fasting glucose, and noradrenaline, but negatively (P<0.01) associated with the job-strain index. Significant associations were not found on the POMS tension-anxiety and anger-hostility scale scores. The negative correlation between baPWV and the job-strain index was consistent even after control for the effects of significant physiological variables. CONCLUSIONS The association between job stress and baPWV was found to be inconsistent with the results of previous western studies, and it may require further investigation while taking into account occupation, cardiovascular risk factors, and Japanese culture.
Relationship between brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity and heart rate variability in young Japanese men.
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Kaga, Tokyo, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
This study examined the relationship between arterial stiffness and autonomic nervous function in a young population. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 382 Japanese males, aged 24 to 39 years, who worked at the same information service company. Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) was measured using an automatic waveform analyzer, and the spectral power of heart rate variability in the low frequency (LF: 0.04-0.15 Hz) and the high frequency (HF: 0.15-0.40 Hz) band was evaluated by the maximum entropy method. LF/HF and HF were used as the indicators of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous activity, respectively. Psycho-hormonal responses were examined by the Profile of Mood State (tension-anxiety and anger-hostility scales) and Hamilton's Depression Scale with serum cortisol and catecholamine levels. In a univariate analysis, baPWV was positively associated with the following variables (all p <0.05): LF/HF, age, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, heart rate, serum total cholesterol and triglycerides, blood glucose, and plasma cortisol and noradrenaline. Multiple regression analysis indicated that LF/HF was an independent predictor of baPWV (p <0.05), after controlling for significant effects of age, systolic blood pressure, and plasma noradrenaline levels. There was no significant effect of HF on baPWV in this multivariate analysis. Neither mood state nor health-related lifestyle factors such as smoking were significant. It was suggested that baPWV is closely associated with sympathetic nervous activity in young men.
Stress perception and social indicators for low back, shoulder and joint pains in Japan: national surveys in 1995 and 2001.
Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Teikyo University Hospital, Tokyo.
This study aims to clarify the effects of stress perception and related social indicators on three major musculoskeletal symptoms: low back, shoulder, and joint pains in a Japanese population. Twenty health-related variables (stress perception and 19 social indicators) and the three symptoms were obtained from the following Japanese national surveys: the Comprehensive Survey of Living Condition of the People on Health and Welfare, the System of Social and Demographic Statistics of Japan, and the Statistical Report on Health Administration Services. The results were compared among 46 Japanese prefectures in 1995 and 2001. By factor analysis, the 19 indicators were classified into three factors of urbanization, aging and life-regularity, and individualization. The prevalence of stress perception was significantly correlated to the 8 indicators of urbanization factor. Although simple correlation analysis revealed a significant relationship of stress perception only to shoulder pain (in both years) and low back pain (in 2001), the results of multiple regression analysis showed that stress perception and some urbanization factors were significantly associated with all the three symptoms in both years exclusive of joint pain in 1995. Taking the effects of urbanization into consideration, stress perception seems to be closely related to the complaints of musculoskeletal symptoms in Japan.
Urol Int. 2012 Jul 10;: 22796946
Kazuhiro Ohwaki, Fumiyasu Endo, Yuko Kachi, Kazunori Hattori, Osamu Muraishi, Mariko Nishikitani, Eiji Yano
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
Introduction: There is little evidence indicating whether dietary factors influence prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentrations. We examined whether nutritional factors, including energy, protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake were associated with PSA in healthy men. Subjects and Methods: We investigated 13,594 men aged 50 years and over who visited a hospital for a routine health checkup between 2003 and 2007. Dietary intake was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. We performed a multiple linear regression to examine the association between PSA and dietary intake. Results: After controlling for age, body mass index, and physical activity, PSA was significantly negatively associated with percent protein intake (p for trend < 0.001). Compared with the lowest quintile, PSA was 5.8% lower (95% CI:-8.9 to -2.5%) in the highest quintile. We also observed a significant positive association between percent fat intake and PSA concentration (p for trend 0.043). PSA was 3.4% greater (95% CI: 0-6.9%) among men in the highest quintile compared with those in the lowest quintile. Conclusions: Men who had a lower percent protein intake and higher percent fat intake had an elevated PSA level, although the magnitude of these associations was small.
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Clin Neurophysiol. 2012 Apr 25;: 22541740
Pain and Autonomics - Integrative Research (PAIR), Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Philosophenweg 3, University Hospital, Jena, Germany.
OBJECTIVE: Awareness of stimuli originating inside of the body (interoceptive awareness) is thought to have an impact on psychopathology. The aim of the present study was to analyze whether heartbeat perception accuracy is reduced in depressed patients. Furthermore, we investigated whether putative differences are reflected in heartbeat-evoked potentials. METHOD: We assessed the heartbeat perception score in 16 depressed patients and in matched healthy controls. A 63-channel EEG was recorded while participants counted pseudo-randomly presented target tones or heartbeats during a fixed number of cardiac cycles. ECG R-waves served as the trigger for EEG averaging. The cardiac-field artifact was minimized using independent component analysis and current-source density. RESULTS: Behaviorally, the depressed sample showed less accurate heartbeat perception in comparison to the control group (p=.011). The two groups also demonstrated psychophysiological differences, showing that heartbeat-evoked potentials were significantly reduced in depressed patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that heartbeat evoked potentials are objective markers of altered bodily awareness. Reduced interoception during depression may be linked to alexithymia, as well as to both decreased capacity for decision-making and for cognitive processing. SIGNIFICANCE: It may be helpful to practice interoceptive awareness to improve depressive symptoms, for example by practicing meditation.
Laboratory of Neuropsychology, Department of Medical Psychology, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui Province, PR China.
Alexithymia is characterized by difficulties in identifying and describing feelings and in distinguishing between feelings and bodily sensations. Several researchers have examined the impairment of executive functioning in alexithymia; however, only a few studies have been specifically concerned with conflict processing in alexithymia. Utilizing the attention network test (ANT), we investigated whether alexithymia is related to or independent of executive function, especially with respect to conflict processing. Participants included 33 subjects with high alexithymia scores on the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and 30 matched subjects with low alexithymia scores. On the ANT, we found a significant difference between the two groups in conflict processing, and no significant difference in alerting and orienting dimensions. These findings suggested that subjects with high alexithymia scores have selective impairment in conflict processing.
Perceptual measurement in schizophrenia: promising electrophysiology and neuroimaging paradigms from CNTRICS.
Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Schizophrenia Research Center, Orangeburg, NY, USA. email@example.com
The sixth meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) focused on selecting promising imaging paradigms for each of the cognitive constructs selected in the first CNTRICS meeting. In the domain of perception, the 2 constructs of interest were "gain control" and "visual integration." CNTRICS received 6 task nominations for imaging paradigms for gain control and 3 task nominations for integration. The breakout group for perception evaluated the degree to which each of these tasks met prespecified criteria. For gain control, the breakout group believed that one task (mismatch negativity) was already mature and was being incorporated into multisite clinical trials. The breakout group recommended that 1 visual task (steady-state visual evoked potentials to magnocellular- vs parvocellular-biased stimuli) and 2 auditory measures (an event-related potential (ERP) measure of corollary discharge and a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) version of prepulse inhibition of startle) be adapted for use in clinical trials in schizophrenia research. For visual integration, the breakout group recommended that fMRI and ERP versions of a contour integration test and an fMRI version of a coherent motion test be adapted for use in clinical trials. This manuscript describes the ways in which each of these tasks met the criteria used in the breakout group to evaluate and recommend tasks for further development.
University of Leeds, England, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexithymia is a personality trait associated with the reduced ability to regulate, identify, and communicate feelings or emotions and is often linked to psychosomatic disorders. The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate the relationship between individual differences in alexithymia and emotion regulation. Participants classified as scoring either high or low on the revised form of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20; Taylor, Bagby,& Parker Psychother Psychosom 57:34-41, 1992) were asked to view negative and neutral images, adopting three different regulation strategies (expressive suppression, cognitive reappraisal, and attend) while ERPs were recorded. Results revealed an inverse relationship between TAS scores and emotion-related ERP activity during suppression, but not during reappraisal or a control "attend" condition. These results were observed in both early and late ERP latencies. These findings are interpreted according to potential differences between high- and low-TAS individuals regarding the frequency of prior utilization of suppression-based regulation strategies.
BMC Psychiatry. 2011 ;11 :74 21542917
A comparative study on long-term evoked auditory and visual potential responses between Schizophrenic patients and normal subjects.
Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 701, Taiwan.
The electrical signals measuring method is recommended to examine the relationship between neuronal activities and measure with the event related potentials (ERPs) during an auditory and a visual oddball paradigm between schizophrenic patients and normal subjects. The aim of this study is to discriminate the activation changes of different stimulations evoked by auditory and visual ERPs between schizophrenic patients and normal subjects. Forty-three schizophrenic patients were selected as experimental group patients, and 40 healthy subjects with no medical history of any kind of psychiatric diseases, neurological diseases, or drug abuse, were recruited as a control group. Auditory and visual ERPs were studied with an oddball paradigm. All the data were analyzed by SPSS statistical software version 10.0. In the comparative study of auditory and visual ERPs between the schizophrenic and healthy patients, P300 amplitude at Fz, Cz, and Pz and N100, N200, and P200 latencies at Fz, Cz, and Pz were shown significantly different. The cognitive processing reflected by the auditory and the visual P300 latency to rare target stimuli was probably an indicator of the cognitive function in schizophrenic patients. This study shows the methodology of application of auditory and visual oddball paradigm identifies task-relevant sources of activity and allows separation of regions that have different response properties. Our study indicates that there may be slowness of automatic cognitive processing and controlled cognitive processing of visual ERPs compared to auditory ERPs in schizophrenic patients. The activation changes of visual evoked potentials are more regionally specific than auditory evoked potentials.
Motion-onset visual evoked potentials predict performance during a global direction discrimination task.
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, USA. email@example.com
The relationship between cognitive processing stages and event-related potential components has been extensively researched for single components, but even the simplest task comprises multiple electrophysiological and cognitive components. Here we examined the relationship between behavioral measures and several visual evoked potentials (VEPs) related to global motion onset during a visual motion discrimination task. In addition to reaction time and accuracy, the EZ diffusion model was used to characterize elements of the decision process. Results showed that latencies, but not amplitudes, from three VEP components reliably predicted about 40% of the variance in reaction times for motion discrimination. These included the latency from stimulus motion onset to N2 onset, the latency from N2 onset to N2 peak, and the latency from the N2 peak to the peak of a late positive potential. These latencies were also able to predict the rate of information accumulation during the decision process and the duration of non-decision processes, but not the observer's threshold (boundary) for making a response. This pattern of results is consistent with an interpretation of these three latencies as reflecting a non-specific visual perceptual process, a motion-specific process, and a decision process, respectively. The relationship between the earliest interval and drift rate estimated with the EZ model also supports the notion that early perceptual processing might be a constituent part of the decision process itself.
Brain Injury Research Group, Department of Psychology, School of Human Sciences, Swansea University, Swansea, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
The frequency of alexithymia and the proportion of cases reporting low emotional empathy after traumatic brain injury (TBI) were compared with a control group. The study also examined the relationship between alexithymia and emotional empathy, controlling for the influence of cognitive ability, severity of head injury, and time since injury. A total of 64 TBI patients and matched controls completed the 20-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES). The TBI group exhibited a significantly higher frequency of alexithymia (60.9%) and low emotional empathy (64.4%) than did the control group (10.9% and 34.4%). Significant moderate negative correlations were found between TAS-20 and BEES scores, with TAS-20 total scores accounting for a significant amount of variance in BEES scores. However, no significant correlation was obtained between Subscale 1 of the TAS-20 (difficulty identifying feelings) and BEES scores in the TBI group. Additionally, there were no significant relationships between alexithymia, emotional empathy, injury severity, and time since injury. The results suggest an inverse relationship between alexithymia and emotional empathy.
Tampere School of Public Health, University of Tampere, FIN-33014 Tampere, Finland. email@example.com
OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to examine how the outcomes of a structured diagnostic interview for depression are related to the results of a self-report scale in alexithymic and nonalexithymic groups. MATERIALS AND METHODS Subjects (N=389) recruited from primary care and psychiatric care completed the Depression Scale (DEPS) and the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale. Major depression was diagnosed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Short-Form by telephone. RESULTS In the group without major depression, the DEPS scores of the alexithymic subjects were significantly higher than those of the nonalexithymic subjects. In the group with major depression, the ideal cutoff points of the DEPS, assessed by receiver operating characteristic analyses, were essentially higher for the alexithymic patients. CONCLUSIONS Alexithymic subjects without major depression may be rated as depressive if the only criterion is the score on a self-report scale. Furthermore, alexithymic patients may require higher cutoff points in a self-report depression scale.
Tampere School of Public Health, FIN-33014, Tampere, Finland. firstname.lastname@example.org
The relationship between life satisfaction and alexithymia was studied in a sample of 229 patients as a part of a naturalistic follow-up study of depression in Finnish primary health care. The measures were the abbreviated Life Satisfaction Scale and the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale. Depression was assessed by telephone with the short form of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Of all subjects, 19.2% were alexithymic, and 9.2% were depressed. Alexithymia was negatively associated with life satisfaction even when depression and other confounding factors were controlled for. Alexithymia is a risk factor for life dissatisfaction in primary-care patients.
Department of Psychology, University of Bologna.
Alexithymia and its relation with attachment style were evaluated in a group of 69 patients (men, M age = 46.4 yr., SD = 12.6; women, M age = 44.2 yr., SD = 14.4) affected by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Two self-evaluation questionnaires were used for psychological evaluation, the 20 item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ). The TAS-20 analysis showed that the clinical sample taken as a whole did not score in the alexithymic range. The inverse correlations between the Confidence ASQ subscale and the Difficulty Communicating Feelings TAS-20 subscale showed that communication of emotions could develop more easily within the framework of a relational context characterized by safety and confidence. In this group of patients this was represented by the referent caregiver.