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Journal: BioPsychoSocial medicine


Abdominal bloating is a common symptom in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). However, it is not included among the required items in the Rome III diagnostic criteria for IBS. Little is known about an impact of abdominal bloating seen in patients with IBS-C. Using a large population-based sample, the aim of the present study was to investigate what is the most bothersome symptom in subjects with IBS-C.

Concepts: Abdominal pain, Constipation, Gastroenterology, Irritable bowel syndrome, Flatulence, Dietary fiber, Lubiprostone, Laxative


It has become necessary to develop mental health management methods that do not require specialized skills or tools to implement. With this in mind, we performed a subjective and objective investigation of the stress-reducing effect of hearing laughter.


In a previous randomized controlled trial, we found that practicing seated isometric yoga regularly for 2 months improved the fatigue of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) who are resistant to conventional therapy. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the possible mechanisms behind this finding by comparing blood biomarkers, autonomic nervous function, and psychological indices before versus after an intervention period of seated isometric yoga practice.


No epidemiologic survey examining eating disorders in Japan has been done at a national level since 1992. The prevalence of anorexia nervosa, as assessed by questionnaires to hospitals, is thought to be underestimated because patients with anorexia nervosa tend to avoid consultations. In conformity with the School Health and Safety Act of Japan, schools are required to have physicians perform a medical examination of students every year. The teachers in charge of health education and school physicians determine the height, weight, and health condition, and examine the medical records of each student. Therefore, we as members of the Survey Committee for Eating Disorders of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare conducted an epidemiologic survey using questionnaires sent to schools in seven prefectures to determine the current prevalence of anorexia nervosa among adolescents.

Concepts: Medicine, Public health, Health, Epidemiology, Education, Anorexia nervosa, School, Teacher


BACKGROUND: A majority of reproductive-age women experience a constellation of various symptoms in the premenstrual phase, commonly known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Despite its prevalence, however, no single treatment is universally recognized as effective, and many women turn to alternative approaches, including aromatherapy, a holistic mind and body treatment. The present study investigated the soothing effects of aromatherapy on premenstrual symptoms using lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), a relaxing essential oil, from the perspective of autonomic nervous system function. METHODS: Seventeen women (20.6 +/- 0.2 years) with mild to moderate subjective premenstrual symptoms participated in a randomized crossover study. Subjects were examined on two separate occasions (aroma and control trials) in the late-luteal phases. Two kinds of aromatic stimulation (lavender and water as a control) were used. This experiment measured heart rate variability (HRV) reflecting autonomic nerve activity and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) as a psychological index before and after the aromatic stimulation. RESULTS: Only a 10-min inhalation of the lavender scent significantly increased the high frequency (HF) power reflecting parasympathetic nervous system activity in comparison with water (aroma effect: F = 4.50, p = 0.050; time effect: F = 5.59, p = 0.017; aroma x time effect: F = 3.17, p = 0.047). The rate of increase in HF power was greater at 10–15 min (p = 0.051) and 20–25 min (p = 0.023) in the lavender trial than in the control trial with water. In addition, POMS tests revealed that inhalation of the aromatic lavender oil significantly decreased two POMS subscales—depression–dejection (p = 0.045) and confusion (p = 0.049)—common premenstrual symptoms, in the late-luteal phase, as long as 35 min after the aroma stimulation. CONCLUSIONS: The present study indicated that lavender aromatherapy as a potential therapeutic modality could alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms, which, at least in part, is attributable to the improvement of parasympathetic nervous system activity. This study further implies that HRV could evaluate the efficacy of aromatherapy using various fragrances to relieve premenstrual symptoms, and ultimately, support the mind and body health of women.

Concepts: Nervous system, Brain, Crossover study, Autonomic nervous system, Parasympathetic nervous system, Essential oil, Lavender, Aromatherapy


The emerging concept of planetary health emphasizes that the health of human civilization is intricately connected to the health of natural systems within the Earth’s biosphere; here, we focus on the rapidly progressing microbiome science - the microbiota-mental health research in particular - as a way to illustrate the pathways by which exposure to biodiversity supports health. Microbiome science is illuminating the ways in which stress, socioeconomic disadvantage and social polices interact with lifestyle and behaviour to influence the micro and macro-level biodiversity that otherwise mediates health. Although the unfolding microbiome and mental health research is dominated by optimism in biomedical solutions (e.g. probiotics, prebiotics), we focus on the upstream psychosocial and ecological factors implicated in dysbiosis; we connect grand scale biodiversity in the external environment with differences in human-associated microbiota, and, by extension, differences in immune function and mental outlook. We argue that the success of planetary health as a new concept will be strengthened by a more sophisticated understanding of the ways in which individuals develop emotional connections to nature (nature relatedness) and the social policies and practices which facilitate or inhibit the pro-environmental values that otherwise support personal, public and planetary health.


The efficacy of physical exercise as an augmentation to pharmacotherapy with antidepressants for depressive patients has been documented. However, to clarify the effectiveness of exercise in the treatment of depression, it is necessary to distinguish the effect of the exercise itself from the effect of group dynamics. Furthermore, an objective measurement for estimation of the effect is needed. Previous reports adopted a series of group exercises as the exercise intervention and mainly psychometric instruments for the measurement of effectiveness. Therefore, this clinical study was done to examine the effectiveness of a single round of individual exercise on depressive symptoms by assessing the change in saliva free cortisol levels, which reflect hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis function that is disturbed in depressive patients.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Obesity, Effectiveness, Physical exercise, Exercise, Cortisol, Efficacy, Physical fitness


Board games are played by moving game pieces in particular ways on special boards marked with patterns. To clarify the possible roles of board game use in psychosomatic medicine, the present review evaluated studies that investigated the effects of this activity on health education and treatment. A literature search conducted between January 2012 and August 2018 identified 83 relevant articles; 56 (67%) targeted education or training for health-related problems, six (7%) examined basic brain mechanisms, five (6%) evaluated preventative measures for dementia or contributions to healthy aging, and three (4%) assessed social communication or public health policies. The results of several randomized controlled trials indicated that the playing of traditional board games (e.g., chess, Go, and Shogi) helps to improve cognitive impairment and depression, and that the playing of newly developed board games is beneficial for behavioral modifications, such as the promotion of healthy eating, smoking cessation, and safe sex. Although the number of studies that have evaluated board game use in terms of mental health remains limited, many studies have provided interesting findings regarding brain function, cognitive effects, and the modification of health-related lifestyle factors.


In a previous randomized controlled trial, we found that sitting isometric yoga improves fatigue in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) who are resistant to conventional therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate possible mechanisms behind this finding, focusing on the short-term fatigue-relieving effect, by comparing autonomic nervous function and blood biomarkers before and after a session of isometric yoga.

Concepts: Chronic fatigue syndrome


Chronic pain enhances sensory sensitivity and induces the biased development of psychological traits such as depression and pain catastrophizing, leading to the formation of heterogeneous conditions. Fluctuations in the sensory-related thresholds of non-injured sites (with normal peripheral tissue) in patients with chronic pain are thought to be related to central sensitization. The objectives of this study were to analyze the association between pain tolerance thresholds (PTTs) in non-injured sites and the psychological traits of patients with chronic pain and to evaluate the usefulness of PTT measures in assessments of pathological conditions related to chronic pain.

Concepts: Psychology, Pain, Thought, Behaviorism