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Windber, PA, United States

Bittman B.,Meadville Medical Center | Croft Jr. D.T.,Windber Research Institute | Brinker J.,Windber Medical Center | van Laar R.,ChipDX | And 2 more authors.
Medical Science Monitor

Background: Psychosocial stress profoundly impacts long-term cardiovascular health through adverse effects on sympathetic nervous system activity, endothelial dysfunction, and atherosclerotic development. Recreational Music Making (RMM) is a unique stress amelioration strategy encompassing group music-based activities that has great therapeutic potential for treating patients with stress-related cardiovascular disease. Material/Methods: Participants (n=34) with a history of ischemic heart disease were subjected to an acute time-limited stressor, then randomized to RMM or quiet reading for one hour. Peripheral blood gene expression using GeneChip® Human Genome U133A 2.0 arrays was assessed at baseline, following stress, and after the relaxation session. Results: Full gene set enrichment analysis identified 16 molecular pathways differentially regulated (P<0.005) during stress that function in immune response, cell mobility, and transcription. During relaxation, two pathways showed a significant change in expression in the control group, while 12 pathways governing immune function and gene expression were modulated among RMM participants. Only 13% (2/16) of pathways showed differential expression during stress and relaxation. Conclusions: Human stress and relaxation responses may be controlled by different molecular pathways. Relaxation through active engagement in Recreational Music Making may be more effective than quiet reading at altering gene expression and thus more clinically useful for stress amelioration. © Med Sci Monit. Source

Voeghtly L.M.,Windber Research Institute | Neatrour D.M.,Windber Medical Center | Decewicz D.J.,Windber Research Institute | Burke A.,Windber Medical Center | And 5 more authors.
Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases

Background and aims: Insulin and leptin are important markers of insulin resistance and vascular inflammation in metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. This study evaluated changes in circulating levels of insulin and leptin during a cardiovascular health program to improve our understanding of cardiometabolic risk reduction. Methods and results: Participants (n=76) completed a prospective, nonrandomized program designed to stabilize or reverse progression of coronary artery disease through dietary changes, exercise, stress management, and group support. Controls (n=76) were matched to participants based on age, gender, and disease status. Traditional cardiovascular risk factors were assessed at baseline, 12 weeks, and 52 weeks by standard methods. Dietary data were collected by 72-h recall and evaluated by Food Processor® v8.4.0. Ultrasensitive insulin and leptin levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. Participants successfully reduced their total caloric intake from >2000 calories per day to ~1700 calories per day (p<0.05 compared to controls), lowered daily fat intake by >60% (p<0.001 compared to controls), and increased carbohydrate intake by >30% (p<0.001). Repeated-measures ANOVA indicated significant beneficial changes (p<0.001 compared to controls) in plasma insulin (-19%) and leptin (-33%) during the lifestyle program, as well as improvement in traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Response was similar between men and women for most risk factors and was not markedly influenced by medication use. Conclusion: Lifestyle changes focusing on diet, physical activity, and stress reduction can successfully modify both cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, with the potential to mediate cardiometabolic risk through beneficial anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects on the vasculature. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

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