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      Increased Anxiety Induced by Listening to Unpleasant Music during Stress Exposure Is Associated with Reduced Blood Pressure and ACTH Responses in Healthy Men

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          Abstract

          The relationship between anxiety and the neuroendocrine response to stress stimuli is still not fully understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution of an acute increase in state anxiety to neuroendocrine activation under stress conditions. To do so, it was necessary to find a stress condition of the same character and intensity with and without a rise in state anxiety. We decided to examine the effects of listening to music on anxiety and to apply a new methodological approach. A group of 14 healthy volunteers participated in a counterbalanced crossover design study. The stress procedure consisted of mental (Stroop test, mental arithmetic) and physical (handgrip exercise) tasks combined with listening to music played forward (pleasant) or backwards (unpleasant). The results confirmed our hypothesis, namely the condition with listening to unpleasant music was anxiogenic, while the other was not. In case of increased state anxiety, the rise in ACTH concentrations in response to mental challenge and the increase in systolic blood pressure induced by handgrip exercise was reduced compared to the situation with unchanged anxiety. Concentrations of testosterone, oxytocin, vasopressin and aldosterone were slightly increased in response to the stress paradigm accompanied with increased anxiety. In conclusion, the present data demonstrate that an acute increase in state anxiety contributes to neuroendocrine activation under stress conditions. Moreover, the results show that listening to music may both positively and negatively influence the perception of stress and the level of anxiety, which might have functional consequences.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Stressor paradigms in developmental studies: what does and does not work to produce mean increases in salivary cortisol.

          The stress response system is comprised of an intricate interconnected network that includes the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis. The HPA axis maintains the organism's capacity to respond to acute and prolonged stressors and is a focus of research on the sequelae of stress. Human studies of the HPA system have been facilitated enormously by the development of salivary assays which measure cortisol, the steroid end-product of the HPA axis. The use of salivary cortisol is prevalent in child development stress research. However, in order to measure children's acute cortisol reactivity to circumscribed stressors, researchers must put children in stressful situations which produce elevated levels of cortisol. Unfortunately, many studies on the cortisol stress response in children use paradigms that fail to produce mean elevations in cortisol. This paper reviews stressor paradigms used with infants, children, and adolescents to guide researchers in selecting effective stressor tasks. A number of different types of stressor paradigms were examined, including: public speaking, negative emotion, relationship disruption/threatening, novelty, handling, and mild pain paradigms. With development, marked changes are evident in the effectiveness of the same stressor paradigm to provoke elevations in cortisol. Several factors appear to be critical in determining whether a stressor paradigm is successful, including the availability of coping resources and the extent to which, in older children, the task threatens the social self. A consideration of these issues is needed to promote the implementation of more effective stressor paradigms in human developmental psychoendocrine research.
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            Modulation of attentional inhibition by norepinephrine and cortisol after psychological stress.

            Two of the most salient physiological responses to stress are increased norepinephrine (NE) and cortisol (CORT) activities. However, it is unclear how these neurochemical events affect cognition, especially attention. We examined the effects of mild psychological stress on selective attention, as assessed by the negative priming (NP) paradigm. Salivary measures of the stress hormone CORT and alpha-amylase (a correlate of NE) were assayed to probe the relationship between the stress response and attentional inhibition. Healthy subjects (N = 20) engaged in the attention task, which was then followed by 15 min of a stressful video game before a return to the attentional task. Baseline saliva samples were obtained before the experiment began, 1 min after the video-game stressor, and 20 min post-stress. Subjects showed a significant reduction in NP and a decrease in reaction time (RT) after the video game. Moreover, alpha-amylase levels increased significantly after the stressor, indicating the role of NE in the acute stress response. While CORT levels remained unchanged after stress, CORT correlated significantly with both NP scores and RT after the stressor. These results imply that mild psychological stress can significantly alter attentional processes. Given the increase in alpha-amylase and the correlation between attention and CORT after stress, it seems likely that attentional processes are under tight control by brain systems which mediate the fight-or-flight response.
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              Simultaneous single isotope radioenzymatic assay of plasma norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NEN
                Neuroendocrinology
                10.1159/issn.0028-3835
                Neuroendocrinology
                S. Karger AG
                0028-3835
                1423-0194
                2013
                October 2013
                13 August 2013
                : 98
                : 2
                : 144-150
                Affiliations
                aLaboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia; bInstitute of Physiology, Center of Physiological Medicine, Medical University, Graz, Austria
                Author notes
                *Prof. Daniela Jezova, Laboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Vlarska 3, SK-83306 Bratislava (Slovakia), E-Mail daniela.jezova@savba.sk
                Article
                354202 Neuroendocrinology 2013;98:144-150
                10.1159/000354202
                23860406
                © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Pages: 7
                Categories
                Original Paper

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