Details
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22

Context: Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) or vascular dementia is widely considered to be the second-most-common cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, accounting for 20% of cases. Little is known about the effectiveness of breath qigong for seniors suffering from VCI or dementia.Objectives: For seniors with VCI, the study aimed to compare the benefits of qigong practice, cognitive training, and qigong practice + cognitive training in improving cognitive function, memory, executive function, and daily problem-solving ability. Design: The study was a randomized, controlled pilot study that used a prospective design with repeated measures. Setting: The study took place at the Tianjin Medical University General Hospital (Tianjin, China). Participants: Participants were 93 patients with VCI at a clinic at the hospital. Intervention: The participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: (1) qigong practice, an intervention group; (2) cognitive training, a positive control group; or (3) a combination of qigong practice and cognitive training, an intervention group. Participants received the treatments for 3 mo. Outcome Measures: All outcome measures were undertaken at baseline and postintervention. The measures included (1) the Montreal cognitive assessment, (2) the Loewenstein occupational therapy cognitive assessment, and (3) the Barthel activities of daily living index. Results: All 3 groups showed significant improvements in general cognitive function, memory, executive function, and daily problem-solving ability (P < .05). Conclusion: Qigong practice is an easy and convenient exercise performed at no cost and has the potential to improve the cognitive functions of older adults with mild VCI.

Five days of integrative body-mind training (IBMT) improves attention and self-regulation in comparison with the same amount of relaxation training. This paper explores the underlying mechanisms of this finding. We measured the physiological and brain changes at rest before, during, and after 5 days of IBMT and relaxation training. During and after training, the IBMT group showed significantly better physiological reactions in heart rate, respiratory amplitude and rate, and skin conductance response (SCR) than the relaxation control. Differences in heart rate variability (HRV) and EEG power suggested greater involvement of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in the IBMT group during and after training. Imaging data demonstrated stronger subgenual and adjacent ventral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activity in the IBMT group. Frontal midline ACC theta was correlated with highfrequency HRV, suggesting control by the ACC over parasympathetic activity. These results indicate that after 5 days of training, the IBMT group shows better regulation of the ANS by a ventral midfrontal brain system than does the relaxation group. This changed state probably reflects training in the coordination of body and mind given in the IBMT but not in the control group. These results could be useful in the design of further specific interventions.
Zotero Collections:

Thalamic intralaminar and medial nuclei participate mainly in affective and motivational aspects of pain processing. Unique to the present study were identification and characterization of spontaneously active neurons in the central lateral nucleus (CL) of the intralaminar thalamus, which were found to respond only to viscerally evoked noxious stimuli in animals under pentobarbital anesthesia. Responses to noxious colorectal distention, intrapancreatic bradykinin, intraperitoneal dilute acetic acid, and greater splanchnic nerve electrical stimulation were characterized. Electrophysiological recordings revealed activity in most CL neurons (93%) was excited (69%) or inhibited (31%) in response to noxious visceral stimulation of visceral nerves. Expression of c-Fos observed in CL nucleus after intensive visceral stimulation confirmed the activation. However, excited CL neurons did not have somatic fields, except in 3 of 43 (7%) CL neurons tested for responses to somatic stimulation (innocuous brush and noxious pinch). Intrathecal administration of morphine significantly reduced the increased responses of CL neurons to colorectal and pancreatic stimuli and was naloxone reversible. High-level thoracic midline dorsal column (DC) myelotomy also dramatically reduced responses, identifying the DC as a major route of travel from the spinal cord for CL input, in addition to input traveling ventromedially in the spinothalamic tract identified anatomically in a previous study. Spinal cord and lower brain stem cells providing input to medial thalamus were mapped after stereotaxic injections of a retrograde dye. These data combined with our previous data suggest that the CL nucleus is an important component of a medial visceral nociceptive system that may mediate attentional, affective, endocrine, motor, and autonomic responses to noxious visceral stimuli.

Low well-being is common among Chinese pregnant women but few effective interventions currently exist to improve prenatal stress and negative emotions. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been proved to be effective in reducing stress and rarely studies were focused on Chinese pregnant women. The aim of the current paper is to investigate the effects of 8-week MBSR on prenatal stress, anxiety and depression among Chinese pregnant women. A sample of 66 pregnant women randomly allocated into either the MBSR group (n=34) or the control group (n=32). Participants in the MBSR group received a group 8-week, 90-min each time intervention. The results found a significant interaction between time and condition for prenatal stress (F=45.51, p<0.001, η 2=0.427), anxiety (F=19.30, p<0.001, η 2=0.240), while depression showed no time-by-group interaction (F=0.29, p=0.589, η 2=0.005). As for the sub-scale of state anxiety, while there was only no time effect (F=3.68, p=0.060, η 2=0.057). The findings of this study preliminary indicated effects of the MBSR intervention on self-reported prenatal stress and anxiety in comparison to a treatment-as-usual control. Effect on depression was not observed may due to the low level of depression of participants. This study provides preliminary evidence that MBSR is suitable for Chinese pregnant women and be effective in decreasing prenatal stress, anxiety.

Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (efMRI) has emerged as a powerful technique for detecting brains’ responses to presented stimuli. A primary goal in efMRI data analysis is to estimate the Hemodynamic Response Function (HRF) and to locate activated regions in human brains when specific tasks are performed. This paper develops new methodologies that are important improvements not only to parametric but also to nonparametric estimation and hypothesis testing of the HRF. First, an effective and computationally fast scheme for estimating the error covariance matrix for efMRI is proposed. Second, methodologies for estimation and hypothesis testing of the HRF are developed. Simulations support the effectiveness of our proposed methods. When applied to an efMRI dataset from an emotional control study, our method reveals more meaningful findings than the popular methods offered by AFNI and FSL.
Zotero Tags:
Zotero Collections:

Prior research has demonstrated that people who are more connected with nature report more subjective well-being. However, guided by the sensitization model of well-being, we expected that the positive relation between connectedness with nature and psychological well-being would only be significant for those who tend to engage in nature's beauty (i.e., experience positive emotional responses when witnessing nature's beauty). In Study 1, we found the positive relation between connectedness with nature and life satisfaction was only significant for individuals higher, and not those lower, on engagement with natural beauty. Study 2 conceptually replicated this finding using self-esteem as an outcome. Moreover, the results were not affected by age, gender, Big Five personality traits (Study 1) or social desirability (Study 2). Thus, the current research extends past literature and demonstrates that connectedness with nature only predicts well-being when individuals are also emotionally attuned to nature's beauty.
Zotero Tags:
Zotero Collections:

Abstract. The superior frontal gyrus (SFG) is thought to contribute to higher cognitive functions and particularly to working memory (WM), although the nature

Mining and smelting are important economic activities. However, mining-related industries are also some of the largest sources of environmental pollution from heavy metals. China is one of the largest producers and consumers of lead and zinc in the world. A large amount of lead, zinc, and related elements, such as cadmium, have been released into the environment due to mineral processing activities and have impacted water resources, soils, vegetables, and crops. In some areas, this pollution is hazardous to human health. This article reviews studies published in the past 10 years (2000–2009), on the environmental and human health consequences of lead/zinc mineral exploitation in China. Polluted areas are concentrated in the following areas: the junction of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces, west-central Hunan province, central Guangxi province, northern Guangdong, northwestern Henan province, the border between Shanxi and Gansu provinces, and the region of Liaoning province near Bohai. Lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) are the main pollutants and are associated with human health effects such as high lead blood levels in children, arthralgia, osteomalacia, and excessive cadmium in urine.

Zona incerta (ZI) is an inhibitory subthalamic nucleus with diverse connectivity yet its functional importance has not been extensively studied. Here the authors report that ZI receives mPFC input and can modulate both innate and learned defensive behaviors via its inhibitory projection to the PAG.

Mental health among children and adolescents is a growing national concern and schools have taken center stage in efforts to prevent problems and promote wellness. Although research and policymakers support the integration of mental health services into the schools, there is limited agreement on the ways to package or combine existing supports to achieve prevention-oriented goals. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) are 2 of the most widely adopted, evidence-based approaches that have been advocated to address student mental health. These universal prevention approaches, however, stem from different theoretical camps and are often advocated and implemented apart from one another. The purpose of this study was to examine the independent and combined effects of PBIS and SEL on student mental health outcomes. A quasi-randomized control design at the classroom level was used to make comparisons across 4 conditions: business-as-usual (BAU), PBIS alone, SEL alone, and COMBO condition with regard to their acceptability to teachers, integrity of program delivery, and student outcomes. As predicted, the COMBO condition produced significantly greater improvements in overall mental health and reductions in externalizing behaviors when compared to all other conditions. The results also indicated that the PBIS- and SEL-only conditions were both able to produce significant improvements in overall mental health functioning as compared with the BAU control. The implications of an integrated approach for school-based universal prevention and directions for future research are discussed.

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) plays a key role in analyzing the physical structures of biological tissues, particularly in reconstructing fiber tracts of the human brain in vivo. On the one hand, eigenvalues of diffusion tensors (DTs) estimated from diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) data usually contain systematic bias, which subsequently biases the diffusivity measurements popularly adopted in fiber tracking algorithms. On the other hand, correctly accounting for the spatial information is important in the construction of these diffusivity measurements since the fiber tracts are typically spatially structured. This paper aims to establish test-based approaches to identify anisotropic water diffusion areas in the human brain. These areas in turn indicate the areas passed by fiber tracts. Our proposed test statistic not only takes into account the bias components in eigenvalue estimates, but also incorporates the spatial information of neighboring voxels. Under mild regularity conditions, we demonstrate that the proposed test statistic asymptotically follows a $\chi^2$ distribution under the null hypothesis. Simulation and real DTI data examples are provided to illustrate the efficacy of our proposed methods.
Zotero Tags:
Zotero Collections:

INTRODUCTION:Given the known link between asthma and stress as well as the link between mindfulness and stress, we explore the possible association between trait mindfulness and asthma-related diagnosis and symptoms with a cross-sectional study. METHOD: In 2014, we surveyed a sample of college students in their freshman year, from a public university in Shanghai, China. We used three multilevel logistic regressions to estimate the association between trait mindfulness (measured by Mindful Awareness Attention Scale, MAAS) and self-report of ever having an asthma diagnosis, ever having had persistent dry cough, and ever having had wheezing symptoms. Age, gender, household registration status, and the frequency of smog in the respondent's hometown were used as control variables in the study. The home province of the student was used as the cluster variable in the multilevel models. RESULTS: Among the 1392 students in the analysis sample (mean age = 18.3), 47 (3.4%) self-reported an asthma diagnosis, 251 (18.1%) reported having had persistent dry cough, and 100 (7.2%) reported having had wheezing symptoms. A one-unit increase in MAAS is negatively associated with having a self-reported asthma diagnosis (Odds Ratio (OR): 0.662, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.452, 0.969, p = 0.034), having had persistent dry cough (OR: 0.658, 95% CI: 0.545, 0.795, p < 0.001), and wheezing (OR = 0.747, 95% CI: 0.569, 0.981, p = 0.036). DISCUSSION: This is the first study to suggest a link between trait mindfulness and asthma. Our finding provides evidence that people with higher level of mindfulness are less likely to have had an asthma diagnosis and less likely to have the symptoms of persistent dry cough and wheezing.

Past studies have documented interpersonal benefits of natural environments. Across four studies, we tested the hypothesis that exposure to more beautiful nature, relative to less beautiful nature, increases prosocial behavior. Study 1 yielded correlational evidence indicating that participants prone to perceiving natural beauty reported greater prosocial tendencies, as measured by agreeableness, perspective taking, and empathy. In Studies 2 and 3, exposure to more beautiful images of nature (versus less beautiful images of nature) led participants to be more generous and trusting. In Study 4, exposure to more beautiful (versus less beautiful) plants in the laboratory room led participants to exhibit increased helping behavior. Across studies, we provide evidence that positive emotions and tendencies to perceive natural beauty mediate and moderate the association between beauty and prosociality. The current studies extend past research by demonstrating the unique prosocial benefits of beautiful nature.
Zotero Tags:
Zotero Collections:

Past studies have documented interpersonal benefits of natural environments. Across four studies, we tested the hypothesis that exposure to more beautiful nature, relative to less beautiful nature, increases prosocial behavior. Study 1 yielded correlational evidence indicating that participants prone to perceiving natural beauty reported greater prosocial tendencies, as measured by agreeableness, perspective taking, and empathy. In Studies 2 and 3, exposure to more beautiful images of nature (versus less beautiful images of nature) led participants to be more generous and trusting. In Study 4, exposure to more beautiful (versus less beautiful) plants in the laboratory room led participants to exhibit increased helping behavior. Across studies, we provide evidence that positive emotions and tendencies to perceive natural beauty mediate and moderate the association between beauty and prosociality. The current studies extend past research by demonstrating the unique prosocial benefits of beautiful nature.

Longitudinal social network analysis (SNA) was used to examine how a social-emotional learning (SEL) intervention may be associated with peer socialization on academic performance. Fifth graders (N = 631; 48 % girls; 9 to 12 years) were recruited from six elementary schools. Intervention classrooms (14) received a relationship building intervention (RBI) and control classrooms (8) received elementary school as usual. At pre- and post-test, students nominated their friends, and teachers completed assessments of students' writing and math performance. The results of longitudinal SNA suggested that the RBI was associated with friend selection and peer influence within the classroom peer network. Friendship choices were significantly more diverse (i.e., less evidence of social segregation as a function of ethnicity and academic ability) in intervention compared to control classrooms, and peer influence on improved writing and math performance was observed in RBI but not control classrooms. The current findings provide initial evidence that SEL interventions may change social processes in a classroom peer network and may break down barriers of social segregation and improve academic performance.

Longitudinal social network analysis (SNA) was used to examine how a social-emotional learning (SEL) intervention may be associated with peer socialization on academic performance. Fifth graders (N = 631; 48 % girls; 9 to 12 years) were recruited from six elementary schools. Intervention classrooms (14) received a relationship building intervention (RBI) and control classrooms (8) received elementary school as usual. At pre- and post-test, students nominated their friends, and teachers completed assessments of students' writing and math performance. The results of longitudinal SNA suggested that the RBI was associated with friend selection and peer influence within the classroom peer network. Friendship choices were significantly more diverse (i.e., less evidence of social segregation as a function of ethnicity and academic ability) in intervention compared to control classrooms, and peer influence on improved writing and math performance was observed in RBI but not control classrooms. The current findings provide initial evidence that SEL interventions may change social processes in a classroom peer network and may break down barriers of social segregation and improve academic performance.

Ethnopharmacological relevanceFrankincense oil and water extracts (FOE, FWE) have long been used for external treatment of inflammation and pain. The present study was conducted to identify the active ingredients responsible for the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and to determine the underlying mechanisms. Materials and methods The compositions of FOE and FWE were identified and compared by GC–MS. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of the two extracts and their possible active ingredients (α-pinene, linalool, and 1-octanol) were evaluated and compared in a xylene-induced ear edema model and a formalin-inflamed hind paw model. Inflammatory infiltrates and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in hind paw skin were investigated by histological staining. Results The contents of α-pinene, linalool, and 1-octanol in FOE were much higher than those in FWE. Mice treated with FOE exhibited greater and faster lessening of swelling and pain than mice treated with FWE. The combination of the three components had more potent pharmacological effects on hind paw inflammation and COX-2 overexpression than the three components used alone. Conclusions These findings suggest that topical application of FOE or its active ingredients (including α-pinene, linalool, and 1-octanol) exhibit significantly anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects through inhibiting nociceptive stimulus-induced inflammatory infiltrates and COX-2 overexpression.

Solid organ and stem cell transplant patients and their caregivers report a substantial level of distress. Mindfulness-based stress reduction has been shown to alleviate distress associated with transplant, but there is limited experience in this population with other mindfulness-based interventions, or with combined transplant patient and caregiver interventions. We evaluated a novel, 6-week mindfulness-based resilience training (MBRT) class for transplant patients and their caregivers that incorporates mindfulness practice, yoga, and neuroscience of stress and resilience. Thirty-one heart, liver, kidney/pancreas, and stem cell transplant patients and 18 caregivers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona participated. Measures of stress, resilience, depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, positive and negative affect, and sleep were completed at baseline, 6 weeks, and 3 months postintervention. At 6 weeks and 3 months, patients demonstrated significant (P<.005) improvements from baseline in measures of perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and negative affect. Quality-of-life mental component (P=.006) and positive affect (P=.02) also improved at follow-up. Most participants adhered to the program, were satisfied with class length and frequency, and reported improved well-being as a result of the class. MBRT holds promise as an intervention to enhance resilience and manage stress for transplant patients and their caregivers.

Context: Standardized myrtol, an essential oil containing primarily cineole, limonene and α-pinene, has been used for treating nasosinusitis, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).Objective: To investigate the effects of standardized myrtol in a model of acute lung injury (ALI) induced by lipopolysaccharides (LPS).Materials and methods: Male BALB/c mice were treated with standardized myrtol for 1.5 h prior to exposure of atomized LPS. Six hours after LPS challenge, lung injury was determined by the neutrophil recruitment, cytokine levels and total protein concentration in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity in the lung tissue. Additionally, pathological changes and NF-κB activation in the lung were examined by haematoxylin and eosin staining and western blot, respectively.Results: In LPS-challenged mice, standardized myrtol at a dose of 1200 mg/kg significantly inhibited the neutrophile counts (from 820.97 ± 142.44 to 280.42 ± 65.45, 103/mL), protein concentration (from 0.331 ± 0.02 to 0.183 ± 0.01, mg/mL) and inflammatory cytokines level (TNF-α: from 6072.70 ± 748.40 to 2317.70 ± 500.14, ng/mL; IL-6: from 1184.85 ± 143.58 to 509.57 ± 133.03, ng/mL) in BALF. Standardized myrtol also attenuated LPS-induced MPO activity (from 0.82 ± 0.04 to 0.48 ± 0.06, U/g) and pathological changes (lung injury score: from 11.67 ± 0.33 to 7.83 ± 0.79) in the lung. Further study demonstrated that standardized myrtol prevented LPS-induced NF-κB activation in lung tissues.Discussion and conclusion: Together, these data suggest that standardized myrtol has the potential to protect against LPS-induced airway inflammation in a model of ALI.

INTRODUCTION: Qigong exercise offers a potentially safe, low-cost and effective mind-body rehabilitative intervention for mitigating the problem of gait interruption among patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) who have frequent freezing of gait (FOG) episodes. However, its clinical effects have not been established. This paper describes the trial protocol of evaluating the clinical efficacy of a newly developed Integrated Qigong in improving gait among patients with PD who have FOG.METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A single-blind randomised controlled trial is designed to compare Integrated Qigong and balance training with an attention control. Participants will be patients with mild to moderate PD who experience FOG and are recruited from local communities in Shanghai, China. Participants will be randomly allocated to one of the three groups: Integrated Qigong group, a balance exercise intervention group, or control group. The total number of participants will be 126, and masked assessments will be made at baseline, 12 weeks (end of intervention) and 12-week follow-up. Both Integrated Qigong group and balance training group will receive a group-based exercise intervention that meets three times per week, 60 min in duration, for 12 weeks. The control group will receive a 60 min weekly group session and monthly health education. The primary outcomes are gait parameters (stride length, gait velocity, stride time variability) and occurrence of FOG. The secondary outcomes are postural instability, walking disability, falling, fear of falling and quality of life. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has been approved by the Ethics Committee of Shanghai University of Sport and registered at China Clinical Trial Registry. Participants will sign informed consent prior to the participation of the trial. The findings of the study will be published in peer-reviewed academic journals and disseminated to PD support groups, medical community and media. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ChiCTR1800016570.