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See detailAltered patterns of heartbeat-evoked potentials in depersonalization/derealization disorder: neurophysiological evidence for impaired cortical representation of bodily signals
Schulz, André UL; Köster, S.; Beutel, M. E. et al

in Psychosomatic Medicine (2015), 77(5), 506-516

OBJECTIVE: Core features of depersonalization-/derealization disorder (DPD) are emotional numbing and feelings of disembodiment. While there are several neurophysiological findings supporting subjective ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: Core features of depersonalization-/derealization disorder (DPD) are emotional numbing and feelings of disembodiment. While there are several neurophysiological findings supporting subjective emotional numbing, the psychobiology of disembodiment remains unclear. METHODS: Heartbeat-evoked potentials (HEPs), which are considered psychophysiological indicators for the cortical representation of afferent signals originating from the cardiovascular system, were assessed in 23 patients with DPD and 24 healthy control individuals during rest and while performing a heartbeat perception task. RESULTS: Absolute HEP amplitudes did not differ between groups. Nevertheless, healthy individuals showed higher HEPs during the heartbeat perception task than during rest, while no such effect was found in DPD patients (p = .031). DPD patients had higher total levels of salivary alpha-amylase than healthy individuals (9626.6±8200.0 vs. 5344.3±3745.8 kUmin/l; p = .029), but there were no group differences in cardiovascular measures (heart rate: 76.2±10.1 vs. 74.3 ±7.5 bpm, p = .60; nLF HRV: .63±.15 vs. .56 ±.15 n.u., p = .099; LF/HF ratio: 249.3±242.7 vs. 164.8 ±108.8, p = .10), salivary cortisol (57.5±46.7 vs. 55.1±43.6 nmolmin/l, p = .86) or cortisone levels (593.2±260.3 vs. 543.8±257.1 nmolmin/l, p = .52). CONCLUSION: These results suggest altered cortical representation of afferent signals originating from the cardiovascular system in DPD patients, which may be associated with higher sympathetic tone. These findings may reflect difficulties of DPD patients to attend to their actual bodily experiences. [less ▲]

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See detailRespiratory muscle tension as a symptom generator in individuals with high anxiety sensitivity
Ritz, Thomas; Meuret, Alicia; Bhaskara, Lavanya et al

in Psychosomatic Medicine (2013), 75(2), 187-195

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See detailBlood phobia with and without a history of fainting: disgust sensitivity does not explain the fainting response
Gerlach, Alexander L.; Spellmeyer, Gerd; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Psychosomatic Medicine (2006), 68

Objective: Individuals diagnosed with blood-injury phobia respond to venipuncture with strong psychophysiological responses. We investigated whether disgust sensitivity contributes to the fainting ... [more ▼]

Objective: Individuals diagnosed with blood-injury phobia respond to venipuncture with strong psychophysiological responses. We investigated whether disgust sensitivity contributes to the fainting response and is associated with parasympathetic activation, as suggested by previous research. Methods: Twenty individuals diagnosed with blood-injury phobia (9 with a history of fainting to the sight of blood, 11 without such a fainting history) and 20 healthy controls were compared. Psychophysiological responses and self-report measures of anxiety, disgust, and embarrassment were monitored during rest, a paced breathing task, and venipuncture. In addition, trait disgust sensitivity and blood-injury fears were assessed. Results: Blood-injury phobics reported enhanced anxiety, disgust, and embarrassment during venipuncture. They also experienced heightened arousal, as indicated by heart rate, respiration rate, and minute ventilation. Blood-injury phobics without a fainting history tended toward higher anxiety and disgust scores. There was no evidence for increased parasympathetic activation in either blood-injury phobic subgroup or of an association of disgust and parasympathetic activation. Conclusion: The tendency to faint when exposed to blood-injury stimuli may suffice as a conditioning event leading into phobia, without specific involvement of disgust sensitivity and parasympathetic activation. [less ▲]

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