Findings with 0.25 mg dexamethasone suppression test in eating disorders: association with childhood trauma.
ABSTRACT While both blunted and enhanced cortisol suppression following a dexamethasone suppression test (DST) are described in eating disorders, some evidence suggests that enhanced cortisol suppression might be associated with the presence of trauma history. The objective of this study is to investigate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to a modified DST in eating disorders and its relationship with childhood trauma.
Fifty-two patients with eating disorders were studied with a 0.25 mg DST and with measures of childhood trauma.
Patients with bulimia symptoms had significantly greater cortisol suppression than controls and restrictive anorexia patients (F=8.2, P<.05). Cortisol suppression was significantly correlated with intensity of childhood traumatic events (F=0.32, P<.05). Hypersensitive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to DST in eating disorders may be related with a history of childhood trauma and suggests some biological similarities with posttraumatic syndromes that should be further explored.
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ABSTRACT: The results of war are not limited to mass physical destruction; war's impact also results in psychological damage to service members, both men and women. Despite the enduring psychological trauma with which soldiers are forced to cope, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains, at best, an undertreated disorder and, at worst, a disorder that is not treated at all. The sequelae of untreated PTSD may be tragic for all soldiers, but PTSD has different impacts between sexes. This article examines disparities of military PTSD between sexes, and the need for gender-specific services for female veterans is addressed.Military Behavioral Health 02/2014; 2(1):59-63. DOI:10.1080/21635781.2013.845070
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ABSTRACT: Background Sensitivity to punishment (SP) and sensitivity to reward (SR) are personality characteristics that may have relevance for the pathophysiology of eating disorders (EDs). Moreover, personality characteristics are known to modulate the activity of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, which is the main component of the endogenous stress response system. As stress has been implicated in the aetiology and the maintenance of EDs, we aimed to study the HPA axis activity in relation to SP and SR, as conceptualized by Gray's reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST), in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN). Method Twenty-five women with AN, 23 women with BN and 19 healthy women volunteered for the study. HPA axis activity was assessed by measurement of the salivary cortisol awakening response (CAR). The subjects’ SP and SR were measured by the behavioural inhibition system (BIS)/behavioural approach system (BAS) scales. Results The CAR was significantly enhanced in AN patients, but not in BN patients, compared to healthy women. The CAR correlated significantly with BAS measures, negatively in healthy controls and positively in binge-purging AN patients and BN women. SP, measured by the BIS scale, was higher in patients than in controls. Conclusions These findings confirm the occurrence of an enhanced activity of the HPA axis in symptomatic AN, but not in symptomatic BN, and show for the first time that the CAR is associated with SR, as conceptualized by the RST, negatively in healthy subjects but positively in binge-purging ED patients.Psychological Medicine 09/2014; FirstView:1-8. DOI:10.1017/S0033291714000270 · 5.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis had been studied for the past half century, when some researchers noted that some patients with Cushing's syndrome and severe mood disorders had high baseline cortisol levels, which resulted in an inhibited response in the 1mg dexamethasone suppression test. Altered dexamethasone suppression test results were subsequently found in many psychiatric diseases, including anorexia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive disorder, degenerative dementia, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia. The relationship between high baseline cortisol levels and stress has also been studied. Some researches on the genesis of borderline personality disorder focused on traumatic childhood backgrounds. Other investigations aimed at elucidating the relationship between traumatic backgrounds and some psychiatric disorders noted that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder showed an enhanced cortisol suppression with low cortisol doses (0.5mg). Recent studies showed that use of an ultra-low dose of cortisol during the dexamethasone suppression test may be helpful for deteting disorders with hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Recent advances in neuroimaging support the existence of hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in patients with borderline personality disorder, relating a decreased pituitary gland volume to major traumatic backgrounds and suicidal attempts. The purpose of this paper is to make a narrative review of research using dexamethasone suppression test in psychiatric disorders, in order to ascertain its value as a supplemental diagnostic test or as a prognostic marker.Endocrinología y Nutrición 04/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.endonu.2012.09.003