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Meditation practices may impact physiological pathways that are modulated by stress and relevant to disease. While much attention has been paid to meditation practices that emphasize calming the mind, improving focused attention, or developing mindfulness, less is known about meditation practices that foster compassion. Accordingly, the current study(More)
Although the fact that genetic predisposition and environmental exposures interact to shape development and function of the human brain and, ultimately, the risk of psychiatric disorders has drawn wide interest, the corresponding molecular mechanisms have not yet been elucidated. We found that a functional polymorphism altering chromatin interaction between(More)
Glucocorticoids play an essential role in the response to environmental stressors, serving initially to mobilize bodily responses to challenge and ultimately serving to restrain neuroendocrine and immune reactions. A number of diseases including autoimmune, infectious and inflammatory disorders as well as certain neuropsychiatric disorders such as major(More)
OBJECTIVE The authors sought to determine innate immune system activation following psychosocial stress in patients with major depression and increased early life stress. METHOD Plasma interleukin (IL)-6, lymphocyte subsets, and DNA binding of nuclear factor (NF)-kB in peripheral blood mononuclear cells were compared in medically healthy male subjects(More)
Childhood maltreatment is likely to influence fundamental biological processes and engrave long-lasting epigenetic marks, leading to adverse health outcomes in adulthood. We aimed to elucidate the impact of different early environment on disease-related genome-wide gene expression and DNA methylation in peripheral blood cells in patients with posttraumatic(More)
Glucocorticoid negative feedback regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is mediated by corticosteroid receptors. It is widely thought that during stress, glucocorticoid receptors (GR) are essential for this negative feedback. In contrast, mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) are associated with HPA axis regulation in basal, nonstress(More)
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious and debilitating condition with a prevalence rate of approximately 8% in the United States. Given the number of veterans returning from conflicts around the globe with PTSD, and the substantial number of civilians experiencing traumas, new perspectives on the biology of PTSD are needed. Based on the concept(More)
BACKGROUND Interferon-alpha (IFN-α) treatment for infectious disease and cancer causes high rates of depression and fatigue, and has been used to investigate the impact of inflammatory cytokines on brain and behavior. However, little is known about the transcriptional impact of chronic IFN-α on immune cells in vivo and its relationship to IFN-α-induced(More)
Cytokine effects on behavior may be related to alterations in glutamate metabolism. We therefore measured glutamate concentrations in brain regions shown to be affected by inflammatory stimuli including the cytokine interferon (IFN)-alpha. IFN-alpha is known to alter neural activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and basal ganglia in(More)
Increasing data suggest that meditation impacts stress-related physiological processes relevant to health and disease. For example, our group recently reported that the practice of compassion meditation was associated with reduced innate immune (plasma interleukin [IL]-6) and subjective distress responses to a standardized laboratory psychosocial stressor(More)