Abstract Accepted for the American Neurological Association's 2014 Annual Meeting !

Lab Note #1
Aug 28, 2014

Hello, fellow supporters!

My posts have been sparse, but this project continues. I submitted some of my findings for the American Neurological Association's 2014 Annual Meeting - October 12 - 14 in Baltimore, MD (http://tinyurl.com/lrj75vs). The abstract was accepted, and I will be presenting my research next to a big shiny poster. The results presented will focus on the alterations in cardiovascular experience of emotion in Parkinson's Disease. It is venues like this where people come together and exchange results, criticisms, questions, and ideas in order to augment innovation.

Additionally, I will continue recruitment for this study in the fall, pending renewal from the University of Pittsburgh's Institutional Review Board (IRB), a necessary yearly step for all ongoing studies. The continuation of this project was made possible by your support, and for that, I thank you all.

At the end of this email, I will enclose the abstract, in it's entirety. With a limit of 200 words, the abstract has the literary grace of Ikea furniture instructions, without any of the pictures. But, upon completion of the poster, I will post that as well, pictures and all. 

Thank you again!

Christian Agudelo

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Cardiovascular Psychophysiology Altered in Parkinson’s Disease

Authors: Christian Agudelo, B.S.E.(1), J. Richard Jennings, Ph.D.(2), John P Ryan, Ph.D.(2) and Samay Jain, M.D.(3)

(1) University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, 15216; (2) Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, 15213; (3) Neurology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, 15213.

Background: In limited studies, Parkinson’s Disease (PD) imparts dysautonomia and diminished ability to infer emotional states. Thus, a non-motor feature may include psychophysiologic dysfunction of emotional processing.

Methods: Adults with (n=10) and without PD (n=10), free of depression and cognitive impairment, were matched by age and sex. Each was presented seventy-two emotionally evocative images normed for valence (hedonic rating from unpleasant to pleasant) and arousal (magnitude of emotional content) from the International Affective Picture System. Heart rate (HR) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were continuously recorded, comparing baseline and responsive values per image. General linear modeling was performed with valence, arousal, and PD as predictors, HR and SBP as outcomes, and interactions between PD and valence or arousal.

Results: Interactions were significant (p<0.05) between PD and valence, and trended toward significance between PD and arousal (p<0.10). PD elicited diminished HR accelerations, diminished SBP decreases, and augmented SBP increases for neutral valence and low arousal images. Compared to adults without PD, trends in HR and SBP decreases in PD were each inverted as a function of arousal, and flat as a function of valence.

Discussion: Differences in cardiovascular responses imply a physiologically altered emotional experience in PD.

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