Kirstin Aschbacher

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STUDY OBJECTIVE Caregiving for a relative with Alzheimer disease has been associated with sympathoadrenal medullary arousal and morbidity and mortality. In this study, we examined if sleep disturbance of elderly caregivers was associated with physiologic markers of cardiovascular risk, including plasma norepinephrine, epinephrine, and the hemostasis marker(More)
OBJECTIVE Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been associated with an increased cardiovascular risk, though the pathophysiologic mechanisms involved are elusive. A hypercoagulable state before occurrence of coronary thrombosis contributes to atherosclerosis development. We investigated whether PTSD would be associated with increased coagulation(More)
OBJECTIVE We examined the impact of Alzheimer caregiver transitions (i.e., placement and bereavement) on psychological outcomes and on plasma D-dimer levels, an end product of the coagulation cascade associated with increased cardiovascular risk. METHODS This was a prospective study in which 126 spousal caregivers of Alzheimer's patients were assessed(More)
OBJECTIVE To determine if caregivers of spouses with Alzheimer's disease demonstrate greater increase in tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) antigen relative to noncaregiving controls. Caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's disease has been associated with increased mortality and reduced time to developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), possibly due to(More)
BACKGROUND Caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's disease is associated with increased psychological distress, impaired immunity, and heightened cardiovascular risk. Hyperreactivity of sympathetic and platelet activation responses to acute psychological stress, or the failure to recover quickly from stressful events, may constitute an important pathway(More)
Chronic psychological stress appears to accelerate biological aging, and oxidative damage is an important potential mediator of this process. However, the mechanisms by which psychological stress promotes oxidative damage are poorly understood. This study investigates the theory that cortisol increases in response to an acutely stressful event have the(More)
OBJECTIVES Previous research among HIV-infected individuals suggests that spiritual well-being is inversely related to psychological distress and rates of disease progression. Use of a mantram, a spiritual word or phrase repeated frequently and silently throughout the day, has been associated with decreased psychological distress and increased spiritual(More)
OBJECTIVE This study tested whether feelings of personal control over one's life circumstances (i.e., personal mastery) would attenuate the relations between stress (i.e., negative life events and caregiving distress) and Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor (PAI)-1 antigen, an inhibitor of fibrinolysis implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. (More)
OBJECTIVES Spousal caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, possibly via sympathetic response to stressors and subsequent catecholamine surge. Personal mastery (i.e., belief that one can manage life's obstacles) may decrease psychological and physiological response to stressors. This study examines the(More)
UNLABELLED Cognitive and affective responses to acute stress influence pro-inflammatory cytokine reactivity, and peripheral cytokines (particularly interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β)), can act on the brain to promote depressive symptoms. It is unknown whether acute stress-induced changes in positive affect and cognitions (POS) and pro-inflammatory reactivity(More)