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      Pinnipeds and PTSD: An Analysis of a Human-Animal Interaction Case Study Program for a Veteran


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          The objective of this study was to examine the impact of a pinniped (grey and harbor seals) facilitated human-animal interaction pilot program on the self-reported PTSD-like symptoms of a veteran. This study analyzed preexisting, deidentified data that represented the participant's scores on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-5). The PCL-5 was completed as part of a pilot program operated in partnership between the Veteran and Military Affiliated Research Center (VMARC) and a local aquarium. Scores on the PCL-5 were collected prior to (T1), midway (T2), and immediately after (T3) completion of the Project Seal to Heal program. Changes in the scores of each item were reported for the participant, for aggregated items that represented different clusters of PTSD symptoms, and for overall scores. Results revealed decreased scores in 11 of the 20 PTSD symptom-related items, improvement in the sum scores for each criteria symptom cluster, and a 15-point decrease in the overall PCL-5 score, indicating clinical significance. These results serve as a call to motivate future research investigating pinniped interactions with veterans who have PTSD in order to determine therapeutic clinical application and outcomes.

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          Animal-Assisted Therapy: A Meta-Analysis

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            Biodiversity, traditional medicine and public health: where do they meet?

            Given the increased use of traditional medicines, possibilities that would ensure its successful integration into a public health framework should be explored. This paper discusses some of the links between biodiversity and traditional medicine, and addresses their implications to public health. We explore the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services to global and human health, the risks which human impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity present to human health and welfare.
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              Effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

              The objectives of this review were to summarize the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effects of animal-assisted therapy (AAT). Studies were eligible if they were RCTs. Studies included one treatment group in which AAT was applied. We searched the following databases from 1990 up to October 31, 2012: MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Ichushi Web, GHL, WPRIM, and PsycINFO. We also searched all Cochrane Database up to October 31, 2012. Eleven RCTs were identified, and seven studies were about "Mental and behavioral disorders". Types of animal intervention were dog, cat, dolphin, bird, cow, rabbit, ferret, and guinea pig. The RCTs conducted have been of relatively low quality. We could not perform meta-analysis because of heterogeneity. In a study environment limited to the people who like animals, AAT may be an effective treatment for mental and behavioral disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and alcohol/drug addictions, and is based on a holistic approach through interaction with animals in nature. To most effectively assess the potential benefits for AAT, it will be important for further research to utilize and describe (1) RCT methodology when appropriate, (2) reasons for non-participation, (3) intervention dose, (4) adverse effects and withdrawals, and (5) cost.

                Author and article information

                Occup Ther Int
                Occup Ther Int
                Occupational Therapy International
                13 June 2018
                : 2018
                Department of Occupational Therapy, D'Youville College, 320 Porter Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201, USA
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Lynette Mackenzie

                Copyright © 2018 Rachel A. Wortman et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Funded by: Aquarium of Niagara Falls
                Funded by: Veteran and Military Affiliated Research Center at D'Youville College
                Research Article


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