Not All In Your Head: Psychological Therapies Not a Panacea for Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. M. Carrington Reid, MD PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Irving Sherwood Wright Associate Professor in Geriatrics Joachim Silbermann Family Clinical Scholar in Geriatric Palliative Care Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College 

Dr. Reid

Dr. M. Carrington Reid, MD PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Irving Sherwood Wright Associate Professor in Geriatrics
Joachim Silbermann Family Clinical Scholar
Geriatric Palliative Care
Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response: Major guidelines (American College of Physicians, Centers for Disease Control, Veterans Administration) on the management of chronic pain strongly encourage clinicians to use nonpharmacologic approaches to include psychological therapies when managing pain.

While many studies have evaluated psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral theraphy (CBT) in nonelderly populations with chronic pain, far fewer have evaluated these treatments in studies of older adults. We identified 22 randomized controlled trials that evaluated a psychological therapy for chronic pain in older adults and examined the impact of these treatments on salient outcomes to include ability to reduce pain and pain-related disability, improve patients’ self efficacy to manage pain, and improve their physical health and function and their psychological health (by reducing rates of anxiety and depression).

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Optimistic Outlook Associated With Better Outcome in Chronic Angina

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alexander Fanaroff, Duke

Dr. Fanaroff

Dr. Alexander Fanaroff MD
Duke University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Among patients with chronic angina, there are strong associations between depression and clinical outcomes, which illustrates the important interplay between psychosocial symptoms and physical symptoms in this condition. But depressive symptoms are distinct from expectations and optimism regarding recovery and returning to a one’s normal lifestyle. Patients with chronic angina may not be optimistic about their outlook for a number of reasons, including uncertainty about their prognosis or lack of medical knowledge, but for many patients with chronic angina, the outlook is actually quite good.

We examined data from RIVER-PCI, a clinical trial that randomized patients with chronic angina and incomplete revascularization to ranolazine or placebo, and were followed for the primary outcome of ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization. Patients were asked at baseline, 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months how much they agreed with the phrase, “I am optimistic about my future and returning to a normal lifestyle.” We categorized patients by their responses at baseline – we coded “strongly agree” as very optimistic, “agree” as optimistic, “neutral” as neutral, and “disagree” and “strongly disagree” as not optimistic – and evaluated the association between baseline optimism and the primary outcome over long-term follow-up.

We found that most patients were optimistic at baseline – 33% were very optimistic, 42% were optimistic, 19% were neutral, and 5% were not optimistic – and the majority remained optimistic over long-term follow-up. The most optimistic patients had a lower prevalence of prior myocardial infarction, heart failure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease and less severe angina at baseline than less optimistic patients. The rate of the ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization was higher in neutral (32.8%) and not optimistic (35.0%) patients compared with the most optimistic patients (24.4%). Even after adjusting for baseline comorbidities and angina frequency, the most optimistic patients had a 30% lower risk of ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization compared with neutral or not optimistic patients.

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How Old is Old?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Im Spiegel / In the mirror” by njs-photographie is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0William Chopik PhD
Department of Psychology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The motivation for the study was that we saw a lot of differences in the way people defined “old age”. We also noticed that there is a stigma that goes along with being old. So we had a natural curiosity to see how these perceptions my change as people age.

As people aged, the tended to report feeling younger and consider an older adult as “always in the future”–never quite where they are now.

We found that our results confirmed a lot of existing theories about how our attitudes toward aging change as we age ourselves.

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Benefits and Downsides of Companion Animals in Mental Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Homes for Pets - Doggie Dash” by Homes For Pets is licensed under CC BY 2.0Helen Louise Brooks BSc, MRes, PhD
Psychology of Healthcare Research Group
Department of Psychological Sciences,
Institute of Psychology, Health and Society
University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: It is increasingly being acknowledged that companion animals can have a positive impact on mental health. However, there has been no systematic review of the evidence related to how pets might benefit people living with mental health problems.

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More Women Than Men Deemed Difficult or Demanding By Family and Coworkers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shira Offer PhD Associate Professor Department of Sociology and Anthropology Bar-Ilan University

Dr. Offer

Shira Offer PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Bar-Ilan University
https://biu.academia.edu/ShiraOffer 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The major goal of the University of California Social Network Study (UCNets) is to promote our understanding of people’s social lives and their implications for health and well-being. The study collected information about whom individuals are connected to and the characteristics of those connected people. The participants in the study were asked to name the people with whom they usually get together and do social activities, whom they confide in about important things in life, and who give them practical help or assistance during emergencies. They were also asked to name the people whom they find “demanding or difficult.” This question allowed us to explore the negative aspect of personal relationships. Personal relationships are complicated but most research focuses on positive ties, or on the positive side of social ties. In this study we had the opportunity to also examine their negative aspect.

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Deep Brain Stimulation Helpful For Some Visual Hallucinations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Foltynie

Dr. Foltynie

Thomas Foltynie MD PhD
Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Neurologist
Unit of Functional Neurosurgery Institute of Neurology and
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
University College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Stimulation of the Nucleus Basalis of Meynert can enhance cholinergic innervation of the cortex in animal models and has been previously reported to have beneficial cognitive effects in a single patient with Parkinson’s Disease dementia.

In this double blind crossover trial, six patients with Parkinson’s Disease underwent low frequency stimulation to the NBM bilaterally.  While there were no consistent objective improvements in cognitive performance, there was a marked reduction in visual hallucinations in two of the participants. .

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A Computer Can Predict Health From A Photograph Of A Face

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Credit: Stephen et al. 2017

Credit: Stephen et al. 2017

Dr Ian Stephen PhD
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders,
Perception in Action Research Centre
Macquarie University, Sydney
NSW, Australia

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Since the 1990s, the dominant view of attraction in the scientific community has been that it is an evolved mechanism for identifying appropriate, healthy, fertile mates. People who are attracted to appropriate, healthy, fertile people are more likely to have more, healthy offspring and therefore any genes for having these preferences will become more common. On the other hand people who are attracted to inappropriate, unhealthy, infertile people will be less likely to pass on their genes to the next generation, so genes for this attraction pattern will become less common. However, for this model to be correct, two things have to be true. First, we should be able to identify cues in the face and body that people find attractive/healthy looking. And second, these cues must be related to some aspect of actual physiological health. The first part of this is well established – cues like symmetry, skin color, body shape are all related to looking healthy and attractive. But there is much less research on the second part.

The computer modeling techniques that we use allowed us to build a model based on 272 African, Asian and Caucasian face photographs that identifies three aspects of physiological health – body fat, BMI (a measure of body size) and blood pressure – by analysing facial shape. We then used the model to create an app that predicts what different faces would look like if those individuals increased or decreased their fatness, BMI or blood pressure. We gave this app to some more participants and asked them to make the faces look as healthy as possible. We found that, to make the faces look healthy, the participants reduced their fatness, BMI and (to a lesser extent) blood pressure.

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People Who Seek Revenge Are Often Sadistic and Plan Vengeful Attacks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Chester, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychology Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Chester

David Chester, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Virginia Commonwealth University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We wanted to understand what personality traits define people who tend to seek revenge. We observed that the defining personality characteristic of revenge-seekers is sadism, which is the tendency to enjoy the suffering of others. Put simply, the people who seek revenge are the ones most likely to enjoy it. We also found some other interesting results, namely that revenge-seekers are also prone to premeditation. They like to plan out their actions ahead of time, which settles a long-standing debate about whether revenge seekers act on impulse or plan out their vengeful acts.

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In Rugby, and Maybe at Work, Mixing Cultures Affects Motivation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Rugby” by Jim Ceballos is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr. Yusuke Kuroda PhD
Massey University
New Zealand

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Similar study, examining motivational personality among rugby players from four different countries (but all from predominantly Anglo-Saxon), was conducted in the late 1980s, and that study showed that elite rugby players, regardless of nationality, possessed serious minded and goal oriented personality. Number of studies examined athletes in different sports and showed similar results.

Previously, I had a chance to examine Maori and Japanese people engaged in traditional dance from their own culture; and, the Maori people were predominantly playful and spontaneous oriented, while the Japanese people were predominantly serious minded and goal oriented.

Dr Farah Palmer, one of co-authors, and I wanted to examine whether Maori All Blacks and Japanese National Team rugby players and see whether motivational personality of them were driven by being elite athletes or from cultural background. To play for the Maori All Blacks, players have to have a Maori background. The Japanese National Team, on the other hand, was consisted of Japanese and foreign born players. To examine the effect of culture, we also examined cultural identity among players.

With the help from Associate Professor Makoto Nakazawa, we got to measure motivational personality and cultural identity from both teams, and results showed that the Maori All Blacks players were more playful minded spontaneous oriented, while the Japanese National Team players were serious minded and goal oriented. Cultural identity showed that the Japanese National Team players, even with foreign born players, showed a greater knowledge of the Japanese culture and higher comfort level in their own culture than the Maori All Blacks players (or their own culture). However, the Maori All Blacks players felt more positive and sustain the Maori culture.

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Shifting Attention Causes Momentary Brain Freeze

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alex Maier, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychology Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science Vanderbilt University

Dr. Maier

Alex Maier, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Vanderbilt University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We were interested in finding out about how the brain shifts attention from one location to another. We knew that when we attend a certain location, brain activity increases in a specific way. This increase in activity is how we perform better when we use attention. What we knew less about is what happens when attention moves between locations.

To our surprise, we found that there is a brief moment in between these attentional enhancements, while attention moves from one location to another, where the brain does the complete opposite and decreases its activity. Shifting attention thus has a brief negative effect on our brain’s ability to process information about the world around us.

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