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Restricting environmental stimulation influences levels and variability of plasma cortisol
J. W. Turner Jr and T. H.
Restricting stimulation from the
environment has been shown to alter psychological and
physiological states. The present study of 27 healthy subjects
examines the effects of restricted environmental stimulation technique
(REST) on plasma levels of cortisol and variability in plasma cortisol
levels across repeated REST sessions. The REST environment consisted
of a 1.2 X 1.2 X 2.4-m ovoid chamber containing 25 cm of saturated
MgSO4 solution (sp gr 1.28) maintained at 34.5 degrees F. The buoyant
supinely floating subject experienced a minimum of light, sound, and
temperature awareness and spatial orientation. The non-REST environment
was a cushioned reclining chair in a quiet dimly lit room. The
5-wk protocol consisted of four visits for blood sampling
during a 2-wk baseline followed by eight REST or non-REST
sessions, 40 min each, with blood samples taken on four
nonsession days between sessions 5 and 8. Variability in
plasma cortisol was expressed in terms of standard deviation. REST was
associated with across-session decreases of 21.6% in plasma
cortisol and 50.5% in plasma cortisol variability, whereas no
changes in these measures occurred in non-REST. It is
concluded that REST influences both static and dynamic
aspects of adrenocortical function, possibly altering the feedback monitoring
of plasma cortisol.
Effects of flotation therapy on relaxation and mental state
Emotional state improved
Considering the results of this study and other studies, it can be suggested that flotation therapy may be helpful in the treatment of many psychological disorders and psychosomatic diseases. In hypertensive patients we have obtained good results through flotation therapy, but in patients with other psychological disorders or psychosomatic diseases must be tested in further studies and clinic works.
A previous study has shown that gender has no influence on the effects of REST. The results of this study shows that gender may influence the mood improving effect of flotation therapy. The improvement for women is better than that for men. This show that the flotation therapy may be better suited for females, but it needs further study and clinical work.
Vasorelaxation in Space
Compared with the ground-based upright posture, our data show that cardiac output is increased and the vasculature dilated and relaxed from the very onset of weightlessness and until at least a week into spaceflight. Systemic vasodilatation is most probably accounted for by chronic stimulation of blood pressure reflexes to prevent blood pressure from increasing. That central blood volume is expanded in space is indicated by the chronic increase in cardiac output and is supported by previous echocardiographic indications that weightlessness distends the heart chambers.6–8
Because functional residual capacity is increased in space compared with that of the ground-based supine position, the increase in cardiac output is not only accomplished by the lack of pull of gravity on the blood column but also by expansion of the lungs and thoracic cage. Expansion of the lungs and thoracic cage creates a negative pressure around the heart and central vessels, which increases venous return and thus cardiac output. That this is the case is indicated by previous results from our group that esophageal pressure, which reflects changes in interpleural pressure, decreases more by acute weightlessness than central venous pressure does when referring to the 1-G supine position.8 Thus, central transmural venous pressure increases. This is probably the reason that Buckey et al6 observed a decrease in central venous pressure shortly into spaceflight despite the fact that the heart chambers were expanded. Such a condition, in which cardiac output is elevated and the lungs and thoracic cage simultaneously expanded, cannot be simulated on the ground. Thus, the lung–heart interaction is unique in weightlessness and important for maintaining cardiac output increased during prolonged spaceflight.
Our observation that systemic vascular resistance decreased in space might at first glance seem contradictory to observations by Watenpaugh et al,9 who reported that calf vascular resistance doubled after 4 to 12 days of spaceflight. However, these investigators used the ground-based supine position as reference. Therefore, their observations are in accordance with ours that systemic vascular resistance tended to increase in space compared with when the subjects were ground-based supine (Figure 2). However, this increase was much less than the doubling in calf vascular resistance observed by Watenpaugh et al.9 Therefore, it is likely that there are regional differences in the human circulation during spaceflight concerning degree of vasodilatation or constriction.
That cardiac output is increased and the circulation chronically dilated throughout a week in space is in contrast to the previously observed high levels of sympathetic nervous activity and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone during spaceflight.10–12 Such activations of vasoconstrictor hormones usually reflect that the vasculature is constricted and central blood volume reduced. This was clearly not the case in this study. Therefore, whether the vascular sensitivity to sympathetic nervous activity and renin-angiotensin is reduced by weightlessness should be investigated in the future.
By comparing the data in Figure 1 with those in Figure 2, it is clear that the cardiovascular changes were attenuated throughout a week in space compared with the immediate 20-s responses. This attenuation over time could have been caused by a reduction in blood volume and by a smaller cardiac muscle mass.13,14 It is noteworthy that cardiac output and systemic vascular resistance after a week in weightlessness adapt to a level in between that of the ground-based seated and horizontal supine positions (Figure 2). This is similar as to how renal responses to saline and water loadings adapt to spaceflight.10,11 This level of adaptation in between supine and upright might constitute the natural operating point for control of circulation and fluid volume because humans constantly change position throughout life between the 2.
Because of the peripheral location in the finger of our blood pressure measurements, it could be argued that local vasoconstriction could have led to erroneous estimations of mean arterial pressure. However, we evaluated the continuous arterial pressure curves carefully for such artifacts. Another argument for error is that location of the hydrostatic reference point at the fourth intercostal space for the arterial pressure measurements was not correct. Location of the hydrostatic reference point is crucial when comparing ground based measurements with those during weightlessness because in this latter condition, all hydrostatic pressure gradients are abolished. We chose the fourth intercostal space as the hydrostatic reference point during the upright 1-G conditions because it is near to mid-heart level, at which brachial blood pressure is usually measured by the standard clinical methods.
Our data also have implications for understanding how gravity stresses patients with heart failure. Heart failure is characterized by a high sensitivity to the pull of gravity because the pumping capacity of the heart is reduced. Therefore, the vasculature is constricted to prevent blood pressure from falling. To alleviate the stress of gravity in compensated heart failure, we previously immersed heart failure patients into thermoneutral water (34.5°C). Compared with the upright seated control position, water immersion increased stroke volume index and decreased vascular resistance.20,21 Thus, the circulatory condition in the heart failure patients improved. Because our results presented here from parabolic flights and spaceflight are in compliance with those of water immersion,20,21 it is fair to conclude that gravity is a constant burden for heart failure patients and that it aggravates their condition. Therefore, a future purpose should be to investigate how to alleviate gravitational stress in heart failure.
Cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to water immersion in compensated heart failure
Conclusions. The results of this study demonstrate that central blood volume expansion in compensated HF elicits a reduction in systemic vascular resistance similar to that of normal control subjects, despite blunted forearm vascular responses. Concomitantly, release of AVP, renin, and NE is suppressed in HF patients to the same extent as in healthy subjects. Thus the baroreflex-mediated decrease in systemic vascular resistance and in release of vasoactive hormones is dissociated from the reflex control of forearm vascular beds and heart rate in compensated HF during WI-induced central blood volume expansion.
Perspectives. The increase in central blood volume improved cardiac performance, decreased sympathetic nerve activity and systemic vascular resistance, and suppressed the release of vasoactive and sodium- and water-retaining hormones in compensated HF. In fact, WI tended to normalize the levels of these variables. Therefore, the effects of WI on renal sodium and water handling in HF should be addressed in future studies. Such investigations may provide further insight into the pathophysiology of extracellular fluid volume control and may have implications for the treatment of HF.Several investigators have demonstrated abnormal forearm vascular responses to head-up tilt and lower body negative pressure in HF. The results of the present investigation indicate that changes in forearm vascular resistance do not always reflect changes in systemic vascular resistance in HF. Because systemic vascular resistance is more important than forearm vascular resistance in determining arterial pressure and/or cardiac afterload in HF, future studies should also focus on the regulation of this variable.
|42 degrees C whole body
hyperthermia, as an adjunct to chemotherapy induces prolonged T cell
activation in patients with various malignant diseases. 42 degree
Celsius = 107.6 degree Fahrenheit
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2002 Dec;51(11-12):603-13. Epub 2002 Oct 18
Atanackovic D, Nierhaus A,
Neumeier M, Hossfeld DK, Hegewisch-Becker S.
|Hyperthermia in humans
enhances interferon-gamma synthesis and alters the peripheral lymphocyte
|Effects of whole body
hyperthermia 41 degrees C on the frequency of tumor cells
Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Jun;9(6):2079-84.
Hegewisch-Becker S, Braun K, Otte M,
Corovic A, Atanackovic D, Nierhaus A, Hossfeld DK, Pantel K.
|Influence of elevated
temperature on natural killer cell activity, lymphokine-activated killer
cell activity and lectin-dependent cytotoxicity of human umbilical cord
blood and adult blood cells 40 degree Celsius = 104 degree Fahrenheit
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1994 Jul 1;29(4):821-6.
Shen RN, Lu L, Young P, Shidnia H,
Hornback NB, Broxmeyer HE.
|Evaluation of steam
therapy in acute lower respiratory tract infections: a pilot study
Singh M, Singhi S, Walia BN.
Effects of artificially induced fever on serum proteins, vitamin levels and hematological values in human subjectshttp://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/14/5/768
J Appl Physiol14: 768-770, 1959;
José Méndez 1, Nevin S. Scrimshaw 1, Carlos Salvadó 1, and Manuel López Selva 1
1Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP), and the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Ten male subjects in apparently good health were submitted to artificial hyperpyrexia of 2°–3°C above their initial orally determined body temperature for 2-hour periods. The pulse rate was markedly increased and the diastolic blood pressure was markedly decreased. Other major changes observed were a highly significant decrease of serum vitamin A levels and a highly significant increase of the white cell count, due primarily to an increase of the neutrophils. An eosinopenic effect observed was believed to be related to the stress of fever treatment. Minor changes were observed in the red cell count and in the serum gamma globulin fraction, which showed a delayed decrease. No changes were observed in carotene, vitamin E, alkaline phosphatase, riboflavin, or ascorbic acid.
|The effect of in
vivo hyperthermia on selected lymphokines in man
Lymphokine Res. 1987 Spring;6(2):103-9.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=3495705&query_hl=5
Downing JF, Taylor MW.