Physiological imaging: A new approach for assessment of neuropsychiatric and cardiovascular diseases

Recently, the World Heart Journal reviewed the relation of neuro-cardiac physiology with mental and spiritual health and the role of neuro-imaging in relation to cardiovascular function and other body systems. Advances in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and nuclear imaging techniques have become quite important in the diagnosis of neurological diseases and psychological disorders, apart from extended knowledge of pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and vulnerable plaques. 3-dimensional echocardiography (3D-Echo) and multi-detector-row computed tomography have improved our capability to know more about cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Most individuals experience psychosocial stress on a daily basis as a result of urbanization and industrialization in developed and developing countries. Heavy workloads, job insecurity, living in relative poverty, and competition in business have been associated with increases in mental stress, which in turn can lead to chronic anxiety disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Apart from increases in psychological burden, chronic stress may also be associated with an increased risk of CVDs: atherosclerosis, hypertension, heart failure, and diabetes. Epidemiological studies indicate that subjects with increased stress perception have a substantially higher prevalence of myocardial infarction than controls. Chronic anxiety disorders are associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, which predisposes to coronary atherothrombosis, leading to acute coronary syndrome. Chronic and acute emotional stress and sleep disturbances can damage certain areas of the brain, such as the amygdala and hippocampus that are known to predispose to inflammation in the arteries, leading o atherosclerosis. Recent evidence has demonstrated that chronic anxiety disorders, such as depression may be a risk factor of CVDs and diabetes, which may be associated with tremors in brain areas concerned with related physiological functions. The autonomic nervous system involves the sympathetic activity, which brings about increased catecholamines and cortisol, oxidative stress, and hyperglycemia, and may be pro-inflammatory. Increased parasympathetic activity related to vagal nerve stimulation may be associated with increased release of acetylcholine, a precursor of nitric oxide, which is anti-inflammatory. Acetylcholine is the principal vagal neurotransmitter, which is known to attenuate the release of cytokines, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6 and IL-18, without any adverse effect on the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated human macrophage cultures. Methods such as yoga, meditation, and active prayer can decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines. These studies indicated that emotional health, which appears to be under the influence of spiritual health, can have a positive impact on social and physical health. A regular practice of spiritual activities can improve autonomic functions, possibly due to an increase in cortical thickness with an increase in parasympathetic activity, which can be visualized in certain areas of the brain by neuroimaging studies. Circadian alteration in metabolism in the hypothalamus and cortex, in particular in the medial temporal lobe have been observed in the morning compared to the evening. © 2019 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Singh R.B. 1 , Torshin V.I. 2 , Al-Bawareed O.A. 2 , Narsingh V.3 , Mojto V.4 , De Meester F. , Wichansawakun S.6 , Isaza A.7 , Kartikey K.1
Number of issue
  • 1 Halberg Hospital and Research Institute, Moradabad, India
  • 2 People’s Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 3 Department of Physiology, KG Medical College, Lucknow, India
  • 4 Department of Internal Medicine, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 5 Department of Radiology, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 6 Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Thammasat University, Thailand
  • 7 Everglades University, Tampa, FL, United States
Anxiety disorders; Depression; Emotional stress; Heart attack; Mental stress
Date of creation
Date of change
Short link

Other records