Oxytocin and Anxiety Disorders.
Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2017 Aug 16;:
Authors: Gottschalk MG, Domschke K
In the present chapter, we review the literature focusing on oxytocin (OT)-centered research in anxiety spectrum conditions, comprising separation anxiety disorder, specific phobias, social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and anxiety-related endophenotypes (e.g., trust behavior, behavioral inhibition, neuroticism, and state/trait anxiety). OT receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphisms have been implicated in gene-environment interactions with attachment style and childhood maltreatment and to influence clinical outcomes, including SAD intensity and limbic responsiveness. Epigenetic OXTR DNA methylation patterns have emerged as a link between categorical, dimensional, neuroendocrinological, and neuroimaging SAD correlates, highlighting them as potential peripheral surrogates of the central oxytocinergic tone. A pathophysiological framework of OT integrating the dynamic nature of epigenetic biomarkers and the summarized genetic and peripheral evidence is proposed. Finally, we emphasize opportunities and challenges of OT as a key network node of social interaction and fear learning in social contexts. In conjunction with multi-level investigations incorporating a dimensional understanding of social affiliation and avoidance in anxiety spectrum disorders, these concepts will help to promote research for diagnostic, state, and treatment response biomarkers of the OT system, advancing towards indicated preventive interventions and personalized treatment approaches.
PMID: 28812274 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
A Precision Medicine Approach to Oxytocin Trials.
Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2017 Aug 16;:
Authors: Andari E, Hurlemann R, Young LJ
In this chapter, we introduce a new area of social pharmacology that encompasses the study of the role of neuromodulators in modulating a wide range of social behaviors and brain function, with the interplay of genetic and epigenetic factors. There are increasing evidences for the role of the neuropeptide oxytocin in modulating a wide range of social behaviors, in reducing anxiety, and in impacting the social brain network. Oxytocin also promotes social functions in patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism and reduces anxiety and fear in anxiety disorders. In this chapter, we will emphasize the importance of integrating basic research and clinical human research in determining optimal strategies for drug discoveries for social dysfunctions and anxiety disorders. We will highlight the significance of adopting a precision medicine approach to optimize targeted treatments with oxytocin in neuropsychiatry. Oxytocin effects on social behavior and brain function can vary from one individual to another based on external factors, such as heterogeneity in autism phenotype, childhood experiences, personality, attachment style, and oxytocin receptor polymorphisms. Hence, targeted therapies for subgroups of patients can help alleviating some of the core symptoms and lead to a better future for these patients and their families.
PMID: 28812273 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
The Influence of Combat Experience on Psychologically Healthy Soldiers' Attentiveness to Environmental Threats.
Mil Med. 2017 Jul;182(7):e1787-e1793
Authors: Ranes B, Long CP, Traynham S, Hayes A
INTRODUCTION: In contrast to previous research that has primarily examined how psychological disorders (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], anxiety) are affected by and affect individuals' threat perceptions, this study examines the relationship between combat experience and threat-monitoring in psychologically healthy Soldiers. Existing research has established how prolonged or intense experiences with war-related stressors can lead individuals to undergo an unconscious fear-conditioning process that affects the circuitry of the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, and anterior cingulate cortex regions of the brain. We predict that the intensity of one's combat experience positively influences Soldiers' attention to environmental threats.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Participants included U. S. Army Soldiers with a score of 50 or below on the PTSD Checklist-Military Version. Participants completed the Combat Exposure Scale and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The experimental prediction task we employed assesses the expectation of an intrusively loud white noise sound that occurred on three variable patterns in a pseudorandomized order. Each tone pattern was used 20 times over a total of 60 trials. The experimental prediction task included two neutral tones (700 and 1,300 Hz) that were presented in a repeated pattern along with a 100-dB burst of white noise (0.5-second duration). In each trial, one of three possible tone combinations was presented. To assess their attentiveness to threats, participants were asked to continuously rate their expectancy of the burst of white noise using a visual analogue scale (VAS) ranging from 0 to 100. VAS ratings were collected at controlled points throughout the task.
RESULTS: None of the participants reported scores on any of the diagnostic surveys that met standards for clinical significance. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was conducted to assess the overall effect of the three prediction conditions on participants' VAS ratings. There was a significant main effect for Combat Exposure Scale scores on VAS ratings [F(1, 27) = 5.19, p = 0.031], with high scorers demonstrating a generally higher expectancy of the white noise burst throughout the entire experimental sequence. Results suggest that within subclinical populations of Soldiers, the intensity of one's combat experience is positively associated with their attention to threats.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that Soldiers who experience combat should be observed for signs of increased threat-attention bias, as this may indicate that their capacities for information processing, decision-making, and emotion regulation could be compromised. The positive relationship we observe between a level of combat experience and attentional biases toward threatening stimuli may also help to explain why these veterans engage in "externalizing" behaviors that are risky, aggressive, or violent as well as relational problems and antisocial behaviors that are reported in higher-than-average rates among these populations of Soldiers. Acknowledging that increased threat attention may be a preclinical indication of developing PTSD or other related psychological conditions (e.g., depression, anxiety) should motivate clinicians to more actively diagnose and treat this condition.
PMID: 28810973 [PubMed - in process]
The reliability and validity of the Spanish version of the Fear of Pain Questionnaire.
J Health Psychol. 2017 Jan 01;:1359105316686669
Authors: Solé E, Castarlenas E, Sánchez-Rodríguez E, Galán S, de la Vega R, Jensen MP, Miró J
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the Fear of Pain Questionnaire-III. The original three-factor structure of the Fear of Pain Questionnaire-III was confirmed and indicated a good to excellent level of internal consistency. Criterion validity was supported by positive significant correlations between the Fear of Pain Questionnaire-III scores and measures of pain catastrophizing and anxiety sensitivity; discriminant validity was supported by non-significant correlations between the Fear of Pain Questionnaire-III scores and measures of pain intensity and depressive symptomatology. The findings support the reliability and validity of the scores obtained by the Spanish version of the Fear of Pain Questionnaire-III.
PMID: 28810376 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Fertility Preservation and Sexual Health After Cancer Therapy.
J Oncol Pract. 2017 Aug 15;:JOP2017023705
Authors: Pereira N, Schattman GL
Recent developments in cancer diagnostics and treatments have considerably improved long-term survival rates. Despite improvements in chemotherapy regimens, more focused radiotherapy and diverse surgical options, cancer treatments often have gonadotoxic side-effects that can manifest as loss of fertility or sexual dysfunction, particularly in young cancer survivors. In this review, we focus on two pertinent quality-of-life issues in female cancer survivors of reproductive age-fertility preservation and sexual function. Fertility preservation encompasses all clinical and laboratory efforts to preserve a woman's chance to achieve future genetic motherhood. These efforts range from well-established protocols such as ovarian stimulation with cryopreservation of embryos or oocytes, to nascent clinical trials involving cryopreservation and re-implantation of ovarian tissue. Therefore, fertility preservation strategies are individualized to the cancer diagnosis, time interval until initiation of treatments must begin, prognosis, pubertal status, and maturity level of patient. Some patients choose not to pursue fertility preservation, and the conversation then centers around other quality of life issues. Not all cancer treatments cause loss of fertility; however, most treatments can directly impact the physical and psychosocial aspects of sexual function. Cancer treatment is also associated with fear, anxiety, and depression, which can further decrease sexual desire, function, and frequency. Sexual dysfunction after cancer treatment is generally ascertained by compassionate inquiry. Strategies to promote sexual function after cancer treatment include pelvic floor exercises, clitoral therapy devices, pharmacologic agents, as well as couples-based psychotherapeutic and psycho-educational interventions. Quality-of-life issues in young cancer survivors are often best addressed by utilizing a multidisciplinary team consisting of physicians, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, sex educators, counselors, or therapists.
PMID: 28809602 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]