Factors that ameliorate or aggravate spasmodic torticollis.
A sample of 72 patients with adult onset torticollis were asked to complete a checklist to indicate how a list of situations and activities affected the severity of their torticollis. Stress and self consciousness were reported as aggravating factors by more than 80% of the sample, whereas walking, fatigue, and carrying objects were noted as exacerbators by over 70% of the patients. For more than 40% of the sample, torticollis improved in the supine position, by relaxation, sleep, and lying on the side. However, the last four factors also worsened the head deviation in 16% to 25% of the patients. Use of a "geste antagoniste" to maintain the head in the body midline, was reported by 64 (88.9%) of the patients, which was still effective in correcting head position in 47%. The sensitivity of torticollis to social and emotional factors can be best explained in terms of a possible link between extrapyramidal and affective disorders through overlapping changes in catecholamine metabolism. The worsening of torticollis with peripheral motor activity (walking, running, writing) or its improvement with changes in body posture or with the geste antagoniste is best viewed in terms of alterations of peripheral proprioceptive feedback or central corollary discharge provoked by the motor output or command. (+info
Marijuana smoking and reduced pressure in human eyes: drug action or epiphenomenon?
Normal pressure within the human eye was reduced after smoking a socially relevant dose of marijuana (12 mg. delta9-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), but only for light to moderate users who experienced a substantial "high" and a state of peaceful relaxation from the experimental dose. Analysis suggests an indirect effect of the drug associated with relaxation-a psychophysiologic state that can be produced by drug and nondrug means. (+info
Spirituality and medical practice: using the HOPE questions as a practical tool for spiritual assessment.
The relationship between spirituality and medicine has been the focus of considerable interest in recent years. Studies suggest that many patients believe spirituality plays an important role in their lives, that there is a positive correlation between a patient's spirituality or religious commitment and health outcomes, and that patients would like physicians to consider these factors in their medical care. A spiritual assessment as part of a medical encounter is a practical first step in incorporating consideration of a patient's spirituality into medical practice. The HOPE questions provide a formal tool that may be used in this process. The HOPE concepts for discussion are as follows: H--sources of hope, strength, comfort, meaning, peace, love and connection; O--the role of organized religion for the patient; P--personal spirituality and practices; E--effects on medical care and end-of-life decisions. (+info
The effect of short-term (10- and 15-min) running at self-selected intensity on mood alteration.
The primary purpose of this study was to contrast the effects of two short-duration exercises on mood changes. A secondary goal was to examine the relationship between pre-exercise and post-exercise mood states. The subjects were 15 healthy male graduate students. They were involved in a within-subject design in which each individual completed two trials of running on a treadmill, one trial for 10 minutes and the other for 15 minutes. The Mood Checklist Short-form 1 (MCL-S1) used in the present study represents the participants' mood states before, during, and after exercise. This questionnaire has three sub-scales measuring (a) pleasantness, (b) relaxation, and (c) anxiety. Participants ran on a treadmill for the assigned time at a self-selected intensity after being told to run at a rate that felt good and was not painful. ANOVA results showed that both of the short bouts of exercise affected the subjects' mood, because the main effect of time spent exercising was observed in all sub-scales of the MCL-S1 and there were no significant differences in trial-by-time interaction. In addition to these results, there was a significant correlation between the two trial lengths in the amount of pleasantness and the amount of anxiety felt at post-exercise. There were moderate differences in the effect size (ES) for pre- and post-exercise pleasantness and anxiety levels. These results revealed similar patterns of change. It seems reasonable to conclude, based on this study, that exercise between 10 and 15 minutes results in similar psychological benefits for the person exercising. (+info
Voltage and Ca(2+) dependence of pre-steady-state currents of the Na-Ca exchanger generated by Ca(2+) concentration jumps.
The Ca(2+) concentration and voltage dependence of the relaxation kinetics of the Na-Ca exchanger after a Ca(2+) concentration jump was measured in excised giant membrane patches from guinea pig heart. Ca(2+) concentration jumps on the cytoplasmic side were achieved by laser flash-induced photolysis of DM-nitrophen. In the Ca-Ca exchange mode a transient inward current is generated. The amplitude and the decay rate of the current saturate at concentrations >10 microM. The integrated current signal, i.e., the charge moved is fairly independent of the amount of Ca(2+) released. The amount of charge translocated increases at negative membrane potentials, whereas the decay rate constant shows no voltage dependence. It is suggested that Ca(2+) translocation occurs in at least four steps: intra- and extracellular Ca(2+) binding and two intramolecular transport steps. Saturation of the amplitude and of the relaxation of the current can be explained if the charge translocating reaction step is preceded by two nonelectrogenic steps: Ca(2+) binding and one conformational transition. Charge translocation in this mode is assigned to one additional conformational change which determines the equilibrium distribution of states. In the Na-Ca exchange mode, the stationary inward current depends on the cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration and voltage. The K(m) for Ca(2+) is 4 microM for guinea pig and 10 microM for rat myocytes. The amplitude of the pre-steady-state current and its relaxation saturate with increasing Ca(2+) concentrations. In this mode the relaxation is voltage dependent. (+info
How individuals coping with HIV/AIDS use the Internet.
Although identified 20 years ago, HIV/AIDS remains among the most serious disease epidemics of modern times. Because of the stigmatization associated with infection, no health crisis has rivaled HIV/AIDS in underscoring the need for emotional, informational and instrumental support. The critical role that support plays in coping with HIV/AIDS is well documented. Adults with HIV/AIDS have utilized traditional means of support--family, friends and community-based service organizations--in coping with their illness. Recently, however, the Internet has been recognized as a potential avenue for support. Although the Internet may prove promising, little is known about how the wide array of resources available via the Internet is used. The purpose of this study was to investigate how individuals with HIV/AIDS use the Internet in coping with their illness. This research study employed a descriptive qualitative design that used in-depth, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews for data collection. The sample of 10 purposefully selected individuals living with HIV/AIDS reflected diversity in gender, age, race, education, employment, number of years living with HIV/AIDS and Internet use. Data analysis guided by the constant comparative method revealed four themes. Individuals with HIV/AIDS use the Internet for finding information, making social connections, advocating and escaping. (+info
Male axillary extracts contain pheromones that affect pulsatile secretion of luteinizing hormone and mood in women recipients.
Human underarm secretions, when applied to women recipients, alter the length and timing of the menstrual cycle. These effects are thought to arise from exposure to primer pheromones that are produced in the underarm. Pheromones can affect endocrine (primer) or behavioral (releaser) responses, provide information (signaler), or perhaps even modify emotion or mood (modulator). In this study, we extracted underarm secretions from pads worn by men and placed the extract under the nose of women volunteers while monitoring serum LH and emotion/mood. Pulses of LH are excellent indicators of the release of GnRH from the brain's hypothalamus. In women, the positive influence of GnRH on LH affects the length and timing of the menstrual cycle, which, in turn, affects fertility. Here we show that extracts of male axillary secretions have a direct effect upon LH-pulsing and mood of women. In our subjects, the putative male pheromone(s) advanced the onset of the next peak of LH after its application, reduced tension, and increased relaxation. These results demonstrate that male axillary secretions contain one or more constituents that act as primer and modulator pheromones. (+info
Auricular acupressure as a treatment for anxiety in prehospital transport settings.
BACKGROUND: Auricular acupuncture at the relaxation point has been previously shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety in the preoperative setting. The purpose of this prospective, randomized, blinded study was to determine whether auricular acupressure can reduce stress and anxiety during ambulance transport. METHODS: Patients who required ambulance transport secondary to medical conditions were randomized to receive auricular acupressure at the relaxation point (n = 17) or at a sham point (n = 19). A visual analog scale was used to assess state anxiety as well as patient anticipation of hospital medical treatment (estimated waiting period for treatment, anticipated pain during treatment, attitude toward the physicians, and treatment outcomes). These variables were assessed at baseline and on arrival to the hospital. RESULTS: Patients in the relaxation group reported significantly less anxiety than patients in the sham group on arrival to the hospital (visual analog scale mean +/- SD: 37.6 +/- 20.6 to 12.4 +/- 7.8 mm vs. 42.5 +/- 29.9 to 46.7 +/- 25.9 mm, respectively; P = 0.002). Similarly, patient perception of pain during treatment (mean visual analog scale +/- SD: 32.7 +/- 27.7 to 14.5 +/- 8.1 mm vs. 17.2 +/- 26.1 to 28.8 +/- 21.9 mm, respectively; P = 0.006) and treatment outcomes of their illnesses (mean visual analog scale +/- SD: 46.7 +/- 29.4 to 19.1 +/- 10.4 mm vs. 35.0 +/- 25.7 to 31.5 +/- 20.5 mm, respectively; P = 0.014) were significantly more positive in the relaxation group than in the sham group. No differences were found in the other variables assessed. CONCLUSION: It was concluded that auricular acupressure is an effective treatment for anxiety in prehospital emergency settings. (+info