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Chronic pain, or reoccurring pain lasting longer than three months, is frequently co- morbid with other chronic conditions. Physiological health problems such as overall general health, immune function, inflammation, stress, and sleep, as well as psychological problems like depression and anxiety are all associated with chronic pain. Previous studies have also shown evidence for the heritability of chronic pain, indicating a genetic factor for chronic pain in children. However, few studies have investigated potential epigenetic processes involved in childhood chronic pain. DNA methylation and other epigenetic processes are highly susceptible to changes during crucial developmental periods in children, and they are heavily influenced by psychosocial factors and environmental factors. During an immune response, various cytokines such as TNFα, IL-6, and CRP are released. Cytokines are involved in the production of pain through their pro-inflammatory properties. Additionally, there is evidence to believe they increase pain sensitivity acutely by acting directly on nociceptors. Previous studies have shown that higher levels of inflammatory cytokines are associated with more pain because the inflammatory response from our immune cells activates pain pathways. A constant or prolonged activation of the immune response may consequently result in chronic pain. In many cases of chronic pain, there is an increase in the circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood that also leads to hypersensitivity.
Often learning new skills, such as how to throw a basketball or how to play the piano, are better accomplished practicing with another than from self-practice. Why? We propose that during joint action, partners learn to adjust their behavior to each other. For example, when dancing with a partner, we must adjust the timing, the force, and the spatial locations of movements to those of the partner. We call these adjustments a joint body schema (JBS). That is, the locations of our own effectors and our own movements are adapted by interaction with the partner. Furthermore, we propose that after a JBS is established, learning new motor skills can be enhanced by the learner's attunement to the specifics of the partner's actions. We test this proposal by having partners engage in a motor task requiring cooperation (to develop the JBS). Then we determined whether a) the JBS enhances the coordination on an unrelated task, and b) whether the JBS enhances the learning of a new motor skill. In fact, participants who established a JBS showed stronger coordination with a partner and better motor learning from the partner than did control participants. Several applications of this finding are discussed.
The relationship between parent and child is one that has been studied intensively for years. Much of the previous research in this field has quantified the parent-child relationship through self-report measures, with a subsample coding behavior from videotape and averaging individual scores across the entire parent-child interaction. Using a dynamic systems approach, we attempted to gain a deeper understanding of the parent-child relationship by quantifying the relationship in terms of dyadic patterns using the software Gridware. We then used these dyadic patterns to predict internalizing and externalizing behaviors in eight-year-old twin children. Dyadic relationship patterns predicted externalizing behaviors such as aggression and conduct disorder (i.e., frequency and stability within negative attractor states, and infrequency and low stability in positive attractor states), but not internalizing behaviors. Findings provide a method for capturing variance in parent-child interactions that is important for children's externalizing behaviors. Future studies should utilize these patterns in understanding risk and resilience family processes for children's mental health and well being.
Women are now living longer than ever before, yet the age of spontaneous menopause has remained stable. This results in an increasing realization of the need for an effective treatment of cognitive and physiological menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms. The most common estrogen component of hormone therapy, conjugated equine estrogens (CEE; Premarin) contains many estrogens that are not endogenous to the human body, and that may or may not be detrimental to cognition (Campbell and Whitehead, 1977; Engler-Chiurazzi et al., 2011; Acosta et al., 2010). We propose the use of a novel treatment option in the form of a naturally-circulating (bioidentical) estrogen called estriol. Due to estriol’s observed positive effects on synaptic functioning and neuroprotective effects in the hippocampus (Ziehn et al., 2012; Goodman et al., 1996), a brain structure important for spatial learning and memory, estriol is promising as a hormone therapy option that may attenuate menopausal- and age- related memory decline. In the current study, we administered one of the three bioidentical estrogens (17β-Estradiol, 4.0 µg/day; Estrone, 8.0 µg/day; Estriol, 8.0 µg/day) or the vehicle polyethylene glycol by subcutaneous osmotic pump to ovariectomized Fisher-344 rats. We compared these groups to each other using a battery of spatial learning tasks, including the water radial-arm maze (WRAM), Morris water maze (MM), and delayed-match-to-sample maze (DMS). We found that all estrogens impaired performance on the WRAM compared to vehicle, while 17β-estradiol administration improved overnight forgetting performance for the MM. The estriol group showed no cognitive enhancements relative to vehicle; however, there were several factors indicating that both our estriol and estradiol doses were too high, so future studies should investigate whether lower doses of estriol may be beneficial to cognition.
The transition from high school to college is associated with considerable life strain for adolescents, including higher reported levels of daily stress and negative affect (NA), and alterations in stress physiology have been linked to poor health. The purpose of this thesis was to use an ecological momentary assessment design to study associations between momentary experiences of negative affect and cortisol levels in a sample of adolescents transitioning to college. I also examined the potential moderating effects of two potential vulnerability or protective factors, alone status and perceived social support from friends. Adolescents provided salivary samples and completed paper-and-pencil diary reports of socioemotional experiences and alone status five times per day for three consecutive weekdays, as well as completed self-report questionnaires on perceived social support from friends. Within-person increases in momentary negative affect were associated with momentary cortisol reactivity. Alone status significantly moderated this association such that the association between momentary negative affect and momentary cortisol levels was only significant when individuals were with others and not when they were alone. Perceived social support from friends did not significantly moderate the within-person associations between negative affect and momentary cortisol levels. The findings add to our understanding of physiological correlates of socioemotional experiences, as well as contexts in which these associations may be exaggerated or attenuated. The findings inform our understanding of potential pathways by which physiological reactivity to socioemotional experiences may affect the health of adolescents as well as how prevention efforts could reduce potential poor health outcomes associated with heightened stress reactivity.
The author examined the relationship between social intelligence and attachment style, specifically how attachment style affects how individuals respond to social intelligence training. Students at the Herberger Young Scholars Academy, a school for the highly gifted, completed an online social intelligence training program through the Social Intelligence Institute and were assessed on a number of items. These items include the Tromso Social Intelligence Scale (TSIS), the Attachment Questionnaire for Children (AQ-C), and a daily diary measure in which they recorded and rated their social interactions day to day. All participants were found to be either securely or insecurely attached, and those that were insecurely attached were further divided into insecure anxious attachment style and insecure avoidant attachment style. It was hypothesized that those with a secure attachment style would have higher initial TSIS scores than those with an insecure attachment style. It was also hypothesized that insecurely attached individuals would benefit more from the social intelligence training program than securely attached individuals indicated by "In tune" scores from the daily diaries, and insecure avoidant individuals would benefit more from the program than insecure anxious individuals indicated by "In tune" scores from the daily diaries. None of these hypotheses were supported by the data, as there was no significant difference between the initial social intelligence scores of the three attachment styles, and none of the variables measured were found to be significant predictors of "In tune" scores. Key Words: social intelligence, social intelligence training, attachment, attachment style, children, adolescents, gifted, IQ, high IQ
Community Action Research Experiences (CARE) collaborated with the Tempe Youth Resource Center (TYRC) to evaluate the quality of the center's case management referrals, the rate of follow-up done on those referrals, and to assess whether supports were needed to assist their clients in the follow-up process. Data were collected over a two month period from records of weekly referrals as well as in face-to-face interviews. Over the two month period, data was collected on a total of 41 potential participants and 128 referrals. Eighteen clients participated in an interview and reported on 47 referrals. The results indicated that the overall quality of the referrals was good as well as the follow-up rate. The results also indicated that the follow-up rate could be improved by implementing some supports, the main area of concern being offering assistance to clients in making phone calls.
Obesity has become a major area of research in many fields due to the increasing obesity rate not only in The United States, but also around the world. Research concerning obesity stigma has both physical and mental health implications. Weight bias and obesity stigma represent important research areas for health professionals as they confront these issues on a daily basis in interactions with their patients. To explore how gender, ethnicity, and a person's own BMI affect the stigma of certain weight related terms, a set of 264 participant's surveys on weight related situations on the campus of Arizona State University were analyzed. Using univariate analysis to determine frequency of words deemed most or least acceptable as well as independent t-test for gender and ANOVA for ethnicity and own BMI, we found that participant's view more clinical terms such as "unhealthy BMI" and "BMI" as acceptable words for use during a physician-patient interaction. Analysis across genders revealed the highest number of differences in terms, with females generally ranking terms across the board as less acceptable then men. Differences varied little between ethnicities; however, own BMI revealed more differences between terms; underweight participants did not rank any terms as positive. We analyzed average ATOP (Attitudes Toward Obese People) scores and found that there was no significant difference in average ATOP scores between gender and a participant's own BMI, but a statistical significance did exist between ethnic categories. This study showed that the term "obese/obesity", although normally considered to be a clinical term by many was not ranked as very positive across gender, ethnicity, or own BMI. Based on these findings, new material should be created to inform physicians on how to talk about weight related problems with certain populations of patients.
As the daughter of Mexican parents, I was raised with family-centered values which conflict with the values of independence, freedom and individuality stressed in the United States. Being a minority has become part of my identity, thus influencing how I make decisions about finances and traveling. Minorities are faced with many more concern, like familial concerns and financial obligations which hinder their desire to attempt to travel (Salisbury, Paulsen, & Ernest, 2011). My main concerns were convincing my parents that traveling to Nicaragua and studying abroad in Greece and Italy would be beneficial to my college experience, along with financially being able to go through with each experience. The main purpose of my thesis is to share what it is like to be a minority faced with cultural and financial obstacles that make it difficult to travel and how the experience is shaped due to these obstacles.
Adaptation theorists suggest that effective film adaptations combine familiar material from the source with new material from the screenwriter. This study assessed the success of The Hunger Games film adaptations through analysis of the latent fairytale structure within each movie and parallel novel, and recommended film adaptation improvements. Russian scholar Vladimir Propp's structural analysis approach was used to identify 32 distinct functions and classify the series as a fairytale.