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Handlin, L., Novembre, G., Lindholm, H., Kämpe, R., Paul, E. & Morrison, I. (2023). Human endogenous oxytocin and its neural correlates show adaptive responses to social touch based on recent social context. eLIFE, 12, Article ID e81197.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human endogenous oxytocin and its neural correlates show adaptive responses to social touch based on recent social context
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2023 (English)In: eLIFE, E-ISSN 2050-084X, Vol. 12, article id e81197Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Both oxytocin (OT) and touch are key mediators of social attachment. In rodents, tactile stimulation elicits endogenous release of OT, potentially facilitating attachment and other forms of prosocial behavior, yet the relationship between endogenous OT and neural modulation remains unexplored in humans. Using serial sampling of plasma hormone levels during functional neuroimaging across two successive social interactions, we show that contextual circumstances of social touch facilitate or inhibit not only current hormonal and brain responses, but also calibrate later responses. Namely, touch from a male to his female romantic partner enhanced subsequent OT release for touch from an unfamiliar stranger, yet OT responses to partner touch were dampened following stranger touch. Hypothalamus and dorsal raphe activation reflected plasma OT changes during the initial interaction. In thesubsequent social interaction, time- and context-dependent OT changes modulated precuneus and parietal-temporal cortex pathways, including a region of medial prefrontal cortex that also covaried with plasma cortisol. These findings demonstrate that hormonal neuromodulation during successive human social interactions is adaptive to social context, and point to mechanisms that flexibly calibrate receptivity in social encounters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
eLife Sciences Publications Ltd, 2023
National Category
Neurosciences
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-22515 (URN)10.7554/elife.81197 (DOI)001075012600001 ()37157840 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85158161341 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, FYF-2013-687
Note

CC BY 4.0

For correspondence: india.morrison@liu.se

The authors thank Åsa Axén and Gisela Öhnström for blood sample collection, Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg, Maria Petersson, Stephanie Preston, and Ellen Lumpkin for valuable discussion, and Paul Hamilton and Irene Perini for assistance with AFNI software. Funding: This study was supported by Distinguished Young Investigator grant FYF-2013–687 from the Swedish Research Council to IM.

Available from: 2023-05-10 Created: 2023-05-10 Last updated: 2023-11-06Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, A., Lidfors, L., Wichman, A., Handlin, L., Petersson, M. & Uvnäs-Moberg, K. (2023). Influence of Interactive Behaviors Induced by a Therapy Dog and Her Handler on the Physiology of Residents in Nursing Homes: An Exploratory Study. Anthrozoos, 1-20
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Influence of Interactive Behaviors Induced by a Therapy Dog and Her Handler on the Physiology of Residents in Nursing Homes: An Exploratory Study
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2023 (English)In: Anthrozoos, ISSN 0892-7936, E-ISSN 1753-0377, p. 1-20Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate interactive behaviors performed between residents at nursing homes and a therapy dog and her handler and explore if they influenced residents’ physiological variables such as fingertip temperature, heart rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The therapy dog–handler team visited 12 older people at three nursing homes for 60 min twice a week during a four-week period. The visits were videotaped, and the duration of interactive behaviors was recorded. The physiological variables were measured before (0 min) and after (60 min) the interaction between the residents and the dog–handler team, and the delta value was calculated. The interactive behaviors during the first two and the last two weeks were as follows: the resident looking at the dog (799 and 697 s/h), the resident in physical contact with the dog (183 and 109 s/h, p < 0.001, Wilcoxon signed-rank test), the resident playing with the dog (123 and 126 s/h), the resident talking with others (559 and 511 s/h), and the dog handler having physical contact with the resident (822 and 764 s/h). The mean values for fingertip temperature, heart rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure did not differ significantly between the first and two last weeks (paired t-test). However, the delta values varied largely between the different residents. The more physical contact the residents had with the dog handler, the more the fingertip temperature increased (p < 0.05, mixed linear model). The duration of physical contact between the residents and the dog tended to be associated with an increased fingertip temperature (p < 0.1). Furthermore, the more the residents were in verbal contact with the dog handler, the more their heart rate decreased (p < 0.05). These results demonstrate some associations between specific interactive behaviors and physiological changes in residents in connection with visits by a dog–handler team.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2023
Keywords
human–animal interaction, nursing home, physiological changes, sympathetic nervous system, therapy dog
National Category
Nursing Medical and Health Sciences Health Sciences
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-23443 (URN)10.1080/08927936.2023.2280374 (DOI)001110282100001 ()2-s2.0-85178181292 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 2009/0209Vinnova
Note

CC BY 4.0 DEED

Published online: 29 Nov 2023

Taylor & Francis Group an informa business

CONTACT Lena Lidfors lena.lidfors@slu.se Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Gråbrödragatan 19, P. O. Box 234, SE-532 23 Skara, Sweden

This study was supported by the Knowledge foundation (2009/0209), Vinnova, and Skaraborg Institute for Research and Development (12/1032).

Available from: 2023-12-08 Created: 2023-12-08 Last updated: 2023-12-11Bibliographically approved
Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Julius, H., Handlin, L. & Petersson, M. (2022). Sensory Stimulation and Oxytocin: Their Roles in Social Interaction and Health Promotion. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, Article ID 929741.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sensory Stimulation and Oxytocin: Their Roles in Social Interaction and Health Promotion
2022 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 13, article id 929741Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this call was to collect papers describing how oxytocin may be released by different kinds of sensory stimulation to induce wellbeing and restorative processes and to inhibit pain, stress and inflammation. A large number of interesting articles of very high quality were received and 19 papers were accepted for publication. All the included articles have contributed to expand the knowledge about oxytocin in a very substantial way both regarding its effect spectrum and regarding its association with sensory, somatosensory stimulation, in particular. In fact, the obtained data contribute to prove the hypothesis that the oxytocinergic system is a widespread integrative system, which is linked to social interaction, wellbeing, reduction of stress and pain as well as to reproductive, growth promoting and restorative effects. The activity of this archaic oxytocin system is under control of hormones and sensory nerves, which convey information regarding the state of the internal and the external environment. The oxytocin linked effects may be induced in the short-term as well as in the long-term perspective. All of the articles which were accepted and included in this issue, in their own unique way, contribute to describe oxytocin beyond its classical role in birth and milk ejection in accordance with the concept described above. We describe and discuss the data after having categorized the results presented in the articles according to certain subjects. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2022
Keywords
anti-stress effects, birth, health, lactation, oxytocin, sensory nerves, sensory stimulation, social interaction
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Applied Psychology Other Health Sciences Social Psychology Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-21626 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2022.929741 (DOI)000818590300001 ()35783763 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85133531585 (Scopus ID)
Note

CC BY 4.0

Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

© 2022 Uvnäs Moberg, Julius, Handlin and Petersson

Correspondence: Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg, kerstinuvnasmoberg@gmail.com

Available from: 2022-07-14 Created: 2022-07-14 Last updated: 2022-10-17Bibliographically approved
Lindholm, H., Morrison, I., Krettek, A., Malm, D., Novembre, G. & Handlin, L. (2020). Genetic risk-factors for anxiety in healthy individuals: polymorphisms in gene simportant for the HPA axis. BMC Medical Genetics, 21, Article ID 184.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic risk-factors for anxiety in healthy individuals: polymorphisms in gene simportant for the HPA axis
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2020 (English)In: BMC Medical Genetics, E-ISSN 1471-2350, Vol. 21, article id 184Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Two important aspects for the development of anxiety disorders are genetic predisposition and alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In order to identify genetic risk-factors for anxiety, the aim of this exploratory study was to investigate possible relationships between genetic polymorphisms in genes important for the regulation and activity of the HPA axis and self-assessed anxiety in healthy individuals.

Methods

DNA from 72 healthy participants, 37 women and 35 men, were included in the analyses. Their DNA was extracted and analysed for the following Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP)s: rs41423247 in the NR3C1 gene, rs1360780 in the FKBP5 gene, rs53576 in the OXTR gene, 5-HTTLPR in SLC6A4 gene and rs6295 in the HTR1A gene. Self-assessed anxiety was measured by the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire.

Results

Self-assessed measure of both STAI-S and STAI-T were significantly higher in female than in male participants (p = 0.030 and p = 0.036, respectively). For SNP rs41423247 in the NR3C1 gene, there was a significant difference in females in the score for STAI-S, where carriers of the G allele had higher scores compared to the females that were homozygous for the C allele (p < 0.01). For the SNP rs53576 in the OXTR gene, there was a significant difference in males, where carriers of the A allele had higher scores in STAI-T compared to the males that were homozygous for the G allele (p < 0.01).

Conclusion

This study shows that SNP rs41423247 in the NR3C1 gene and SNP rs53576 in the OXTR gene are associated with self-assessed anxiety in healthy individuals in a gender-specific manner. This suggests that these SNP candidates are possible genetic risk-factors for anxiety.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central (BMC), 2020
Keywords
Anxiety, Stress, HPA axis, Polymorphism, STAI
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Psychiatry Medical Genetics Neurosciences
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM; Individual and Society VIDSOC
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-19078 (URN)10.1186/s12881-020-01123-w (DOI)000574511800002 ()32957930 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85091472288 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilUniversity of Skövde
Note

CC BY 4.0 [artikel], CC0 1.0 [data]

* Correspondence: linda.handlin@his.se

The study was supported by the Swedish Research Council and the School of Health Sciences, University of Skövde, Sweden. Open access funding provided by University of Skövde.

Available from: 2020-09-22 Created: 2020-09-22 Last updated: 2024-01-17Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, A., Handlin, L., Lidfors, L., Petersson, M. & Uvnäs-Moberg, K. (2020). Interacting With a Visiting Dog Increases Fingertip Temperature in Elderly Residents of Nursing Homes. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, Article ID 01906.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interacting With a Visiting Dog Increases Fingertip Temperature in Elderly Residents of Nursing Homes
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2020 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 11, article id 01906Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to investigate whether interacting with a visiting dog influences fingertip temperature and cortisol levels in residents living in nursing homes for the elderly. The study included two groups, the dog group (n = 13) and the control group (n = 11–15) and lasted for 8 weeks for the dog group and 6 weeks for the control group. All participants were residents living at nursing homes for the elderly. The researchers visited small groups of the participants twice weekly during the entire study in both the dog and the control group. The visiting dog and the dog handler accompanied the researchers during weeks 3–6. Fingertip temperature was measured and saliva samples for cortisol determination were collected at 0, 20 and 60 min for the dog group and at 0 and 20 min for the control group. For analysis the study was divided into periods; Period 1 (week 1–2), Period 2 (week 3–4), Period 3 (week 5–6) and Period 4 (week 7–8, only the dog group). Mean values based on all data obtained at 0 and 20 min during period 1–3 were compared between groups. A second, separate analysis for the dog group also included data from 60 min and for period 4. For the dog group fingertip temperature increased significantly between period 1 and 2, 1 and 3 and 1 and 4 (p < 0.05). In addition, fingertip temperature rose significantly between 0 and 20 min and between 0 and 60 min within all periods. For the control group a significant decrease in fingertip temperature was observed between period 1 and 3 (p < 0.05). Fingertip temperature did not differ between the two groups during period 1, but was significantly higher for the dog group than for the control group during periods 2 and 3 (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively). Cortisol results are only presented descriptively due to that many samples had too low volume of saliva to be analyzed. In the present study interaction between elderly residents and a visiting dog resulted in increased fingertip temperature, probably reflecting a decrease in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and therefore a decrease in stress levels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2020
Keywords
fingertip temperature, visiting dog, elderly, stress, sympathetic nervous system, relaxation
National Category
Physiology
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-18914 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01906 (DOI)000562194300001 ()32849116 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85089555477 (Scopus ID)
Note

CC BY 4.0

Correspondence: Linda Handlin, linda.handlin@his.se

Available from: 2020-08-13 Created: 2020-08-13 Last updated: 2022-10-12Bibliographically approved
Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Handlin, L. & Petersson, M. (2020). Neuroendocrine mechanisms involved in the physiological effects caused by skin-to-skin contact - With a particular focus on the oxytocinergic system. Infant Behavior and Development, 61(November), Article ID 101482.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neuroendocrine mechanisms involved in the physiological effects caused by skin-to-skin contact - With a particular focus on the oxytocinergic system
2020 (English)In: Infant Behavior and Development, ISSN 0163-6383, E-ISSN 1879-0453, Vol. 61, no November, article id 101482Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The positive clinical effects caused by skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth or after repeated skin-to-skin contact of premature infants (kangaroo care) or fullterm infants are well documented in the literature. However, information regarding the physiological mechanisms mediating these effects are surprisingly scarce and incomplete. In this article the oxytocinergic system and the cutaneous sensory pathways by which the oxytocinergic system is activated in response to skin-to-skin contact are presented in more detail. In addition, we discuss how the effects of skin-to-skin treatment can be attributed to different aspects of the effect spectrum of the oxytocinergic or calm and connection system.

The structure of the oxytocinergic system, comprising the peripheral (circulating, hormonal) and the central (neurotransmitter) components, as well as, the pathways and mechanisms by which these functions are coordinated are described. Also the various effects induced by the oxytocinergic system (the calm and connection system) are reviewed.

The sensory pathways, which include visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile stimuli, given and received by both mother and newborn and which activate the oxytocinergic system in response to skin-to-skin contact, are reviewed. A special emphasis is placed on the role of cutaneous sensory nerves and their activation by touch, light pressure and in particular warmth. The important role of the rise and the pulsatility of maternal temperature in mediating the positive effects of skin-to-skin contact in the newborn is highlighted. The concept of maternal giving of warmth and its possible link to the experience of trust and safety in the newborn is discussed from an evolutionary perspective.

The effects induced by skin-to-skin contact can be attributed to the different functions of the oxytocinergic system. Ameliorated social interaction (e.g., more tactile and auditory interaction, more sensitive and synchronous interaction between mother and baby, the baby’s crawling behavior) are expressions of oxytocin’s ability to stimulate social interaction. The decreased levels of fear and stress are expressions of oxytocin’s ability to reduce the activity of the amygdala and of the stress system, e.g. the activity in the HPA-axis and the sympathetic nervous system. Increased HRV, increased activity in endocrine system of the gastrointestinal tract as well as stimulation of growth and maturation are examples of oxytocin’s ability to stimulate the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system and other peripheral and central mechanisms related to restoration and growth.

The propensity of different types of treatment with skin-to-skin contact to induce long-term effects is also highlighted. We propose that the sustained effects caused by skin-to-skin contact are induced by an enduring shift in the balance between the oxytocinergic system (the calm and connection system) and the stress system (fight flight reaction) in favor of the oxytocinergic system. This shift leads to a sustained decrease in the HPA-axis and the sympathetic nervous system probably involving alpha 2-adrenoceptors.

It is of clinical importance to be aware of the mechanisms by which skin-to-skin contact induces short and longterm positive effects in parents and newborns. If ward routines are adapted to ascertain a maximal stimulation of these mechanisms, the function of the oxytocinergic system will be optimized, which will be linked to a better clinical outcome for parents and newborns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020
Keywords
Antistress, Social interaction, Skin-to-skin, Breastfeeding, Oxytocin, Tactile interaction, Bonding, Warmth, Growth
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Physiology Neurosciences
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-19060 (URN)10.1016/j.infbeh.2020.101482 (DOI)000607495000016 ()32919112 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85090403724 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-09-15 Created: 2020-09-15 Last updated: 2021-02-04Bibliographically approved
Van Dijk, W., Huizink, A. C., Muller, J., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Ekström-Bergström, A. & Handlin, L. (2020). The Effect of Mechanical Massage and Mental Training on Heart Rate Variability and Cortisol in Swedish Employees: A Randomized Explorative Pilot Study. Frontiers In Public Health, 8, Article ID 82.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Effect of Mechanical Massage and Mental Training on Heart Rate Variability and Cortisol in Swedish Employees: A Randomized Explorative Pilot Study
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2020 (English)In: Frontiers In Public Health, ISSN 2296-2565, Vol. 8, article id 82Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Work-related stress is relatively common in modern society and is a major cause of sick-leave. Thus, effective stress reducing interventions are needed. This study examined the effects of mental training and mechanical massage, on employee's heart rate variability (HRV) and plasma cortisol at their workplaces. Moreover, it was investigated whether baseline systolic blood pressure (SBP) can explain differences in effectiveness of the intervention. Ninety-three participants from four workplaces were randomly assigned to one of the five programs: (I) Mechanical massage and mental training combined, II) Mechanical massage, III) Mental training, IV) Pause, or V) Control. HRV and plasma cortisol were measured at baseline and after 4 and 8 weeks. SBP was measured at baseline. On the reduction of cortisol levels, a small effect of the mechanical massage program was found, whereas no effect was found for the other programs. None of the programs showed any effect on HRV. Nonetheless, when the level of systolic blood pressure was taken into account, some small beneficial effects on HRV and cortisol of mental training and the mechanical massage were found. This exploratory pilot-study provides useful information for future studies that aim to reduce stress among employees. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2020
Keywords
cortisol, heart rate variability, mechanical massage, mental training, stress, systolic blood pressure
National Category
Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems Occupational Health and Environmental Health Nursing
Research subject
Individual and Society VIDSOC; Translational Medicine TRIM; Woman, Child and Family (WomFam)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-18403 (URN)10.3389/fpubh.2020.00082 (DOI)000525723900001 ()32266197 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85083229887 (Scopus ID)
Note

Stavning i artikeln: Jasmin Müller

Available from: 2020-04-23 Created: 2020-04-23 Last updated: 2020-08-27
Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Handlin, L., Kendall-Tackett, K. & Petersson, M. (2019). Oxytocin is a principal hormone that exerts part of its effects by active fragments. Medical Hypotheses, 133, 1-9, Article ID 109394.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Oxytocin is a principal hormone that exerts part of its effects by active fragments
2019 (English)In: Medical Hypotheses, ISSN 0306-9877, E-ISSN 1532-2777, Vol. 133, p. 1-9, article id 109394Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Oxytocin is a nonapeptide consisting of a cyclic six amino-acid structure and a tail of three amino acids. It was originally known for its ability to induce milk ejection and to stimulate uterine contractions. More recently, oxytocin has been shown to stimulate social behaviors, and exert pain-relieving, anti-stress/anti-inflammatory and restorative effects. We hypothesize that oxytocin is a principal hormone that, in part, exerts its effects after degradation to active fragments with more specific effect profiles. Experimental findings on rats show that administered oxytocin exerts biphasic effects. For example, after an initial increase in pain threshold, a second more long-lasting increase follows. Blood pressure and cortisol levels initially increase and then reverse into a long-lasting decrease in blood pressure and cortisol. Whereas the initial effects are, the second-phase effects are not blocked by an oxytocin antagonist, but by an opioid mu-antagonist and by an alpha 2-adrenoreceptor antagonist, respectively, suggesting that other receptors are involved. Repeated administration of oxytocin induces multiple anti-stress effects, which are mediated by alpha 2-adrenoreceptors. Repeated administration of linear oxytocin and linear oxytocin fragments with a retained C-terminal reduce spontaneous motor activity, a sedative or anti-stress effect, suggesting that alpha 2-adrenoreceptors have been activated. In contrast, linear mid-fragments stimulate motor activity. Low-intensity stimulation of cutaneous nerves in rats, as well as breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact between mothers and babies, trigger immediate anti-stress effects. Some of these effects are likely caused by open ring/linear C-terminal fragments activating alpha 2-adrenoreceptors. Oxytocin fragments may be pre-formed and released in the brain or created by metabolic conversion of the principal hormone oxytocin in the central nervous system. Oxytocin and its fragments may also be released from peripheral sites, such as peripheral nerves, the gastrointestinal tract, and blood vessels in response to decreased sympathetic or increased parasympathetic nervous tone. Smaller fragments of oxytocin produced in the periphery may easily pass the blood-brain barrier to induce effects in the brain. In conclusion, oxytocin is linked to many different, sometimes opposite effects. The intact cyclic molecule may act to initiate social interaction and associated psychophysiological effects, whereas linear oxytocin and C-terminal fragments may induce relaxation and anti-stress effects following social interaction. In this way, the principal hormone oxytocin and its fragments may take part in a behavioral sequence, ranging from approach and interaction to calm and relaxation. Linear fragments, with an exposed cysteine-residue, may exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and thereby contribute to the health-promoting effects of oxytocin. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine Pharmacology and Toxicology Physiology Cell and Molecular Biology
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-17717 (URN)10.1016/j.mehy.2019.109394 (DOI)000500360500012 ()31525634 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85072083705 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-09-23 Created: 2019-09-23 Last updated: 2019-12-19Bibliographically approved
Handlin, L., Nilsson, A., Lidfors, L., Petersson, M. & Uvnäs-Moberg, K. (2018). The Effects of a Therapy Dog on the Blood Pressure and Heart Rate of Older Residents in a Nursing Home. Anthrozoos, 31(5), 567-576
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Effects of a Therapy Dog on the Blood Pressure and Heart Rate of Older Residents in a Nursing Home
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2018 (English)In: Anthrozoos, ISSN 0892-7936, E-ISSN 1753-0377, Vol. 31, no 5, p. 567-576Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present project was to investigate whether repeated visits by a therapy dog to nursing homes might affect the older residents’ systolic blood pressure and heart rate. A secondary aim was to investigate and compare effects (differences in responses) in older people with high and normal systolic blood pressure. The project consisted of two consecutive studies; the dog study (two researchers and a therapy dog with a handler visited the residents at three nursing homes, n = 13), and the controlstudy (the two researchers alone visited the residents at three different nursinghomes, n = 13). The studies were divided into three periods; period 1(weeks 1–2), period 2 (weeks 3–4), and period 3 (weeks 5–6) and included two visits per week. The dog and her handler visited during periods 2 and 3 in the dog study. Participants’ heart rate and blood pressure were measured at 0 and 20 minutes at each visit. The data were analyzed using Friedman’s twowayanalysis of Variance by Rank with post-hoc analysis using Wilcoxonsigned-rank tests with a Bonferroni correction, and also with the mann-Whitney U test for independent samples. In the dog study, participants’ heartrate decreased significantly (p = 0.006) from period 1 to period 3. Participants with an initial systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mmhg had a significant decreasein both systolic blood pressure (p = 0.009) and heart rate (p = 0.009). In the control study, participants’ heart rate and systolic blood pressure did not change significantly. the participants in the dog study had a significantly lower systolic blood pressure during period 3 (p = 0.016) compared with those in the control study. In conclusion, repeated visits by a therapy dog–handler team decreased the older adults’ heart rate, and for those with high initial systolic blood pressure, blood pressure also decreased. In addition, systolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the dog group when compared with the control group.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
heart rate, human–animal interaction, older adults, systolic blood pressure, therapy dog
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16223 (URN)10.1080/08927936.2018.1505268 (DOI)000445072300004 ()2-s2.0-85053562177 (Scopus ID)
Note

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Available from: 2018-09-20 Created: 2018-09-20 Last updated: 2022-02-01Bibliographically approved
Petersson, M., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Nilsson, A., Gustafsson, L.-L., Hydbring-Sandberg, E. & Handlin, L. (2017). Oxytocin and Cortisol Levels in Dog Owners and Their Dogs Are Associated with Behavioral Patterns: An Exploratory Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, Article ID 1796.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Oxytocin and Cortisol Levels in Dog Owners and Their Dogs Are Associated with Behavioral Patterns: An Exploratory Study
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2017 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 8, article id 1796Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We have previously shown that dog–owner interaction results in increasing oxytocin levels in owners and dogs, decreasing cortisol levels in owners but increasing cortisol levels in dogs. The present study aimed to further investigate whether oxytocin and cortisol levels in the previously tested owners and dogs were associated with their behaviors during the interaction experiment. Ten female volunteer dog–owners and their male Labrador dogs participated in a 60 min interaction experiment with interaction taking place during 0–3 min and blood samples for analysis of oxytocin and cortisol were collected at 0, 1, 3, 5, 15, 30, and 60 min. The entire experiment was videotaped and the following variables were noted; the different types (stroking, scratching, patting and activating touch, i.e., scratching and patting combined) as well as the frequency of touch applied by the owner, the number of times the owner touched her dog, the dog’s positions and time spent in each position. Correlations were analyzed between the behavioral variables and basal oxytocin levels, maximum oxytocin levels, delta oxytocin levels, basal cortisol levels and cortisol levels at 15 min. Owners with low oxytocin levels before and during the interaction touched their dogs more frequently (0 min: Rs = −0.683, p = 0.042; oxytocin maximum: Rs = −0.783, p = 0.013). The lower the dogs’ oxytocin levels during the interaction, the more stroking they received (Rs = −0.717, p = 0.041). The more frequently activating touch was applied by the owner, the higher the dogs’ cortisol levels became (15 min: Rs = 0.661, p = 0.038). The higher the owners’ maximum oxytocin level the fewer position changes the dogs made (Rs = −0.817, p = 0.007) and the shorter time they spent sitting (Rs = −0.786, p = 0.036), whereas the higher the owners’ basal cortisol levels, the longer time the dogs spent standing (0 min: Rs = 0.683, p = 0.041). In conclusion, oxytocin and cortisol levels, both in dogs and in their owners, are associated with the way the owners interact with their dogs and also with behaviors caused by the interaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2017
Keywords
oxytocin, cortisol, dog–human interaction, behavior
National Category
Neurosciences
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-14233 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01796 (DOI)000412875600001 ()2-s2.0-85032180504 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 221-2003-1098
Available from: 2017-10-16 Created: 2017-10-16 Last updated: 2022-02-10Bibliographically approved
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