Objective: Psychopathology (and depression in particular) is a cardiovascular risk factor independent from any co-occurring pathology. This link is traced back to the mind-heart-body connection, whose underlying mechanisms are still not completely known. To study psychopathology in relation to the heart, it is necessary to observe the autonomic nervous system, which mediates among the parts of that connection. Its gold standard of evaluation is the study of heart rate variability (HRV). To investigate whether any association exists between the HRV parameters and sub-threshold depressive symptoms in a sample of healthy subjects.Method: In this cross-sectional study, two short-term HRV recordings (5 min - supine and sitting) have been analyzed in 77 healthy subjects. Here we adopted a three-fold approach to evaluate HRV: a set of scores belonging to the time domain; to the frequency domain (high, low, and very low frequencies) and a set of 'nonlinear' parameters. The PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9) scale was used to detect depressive symptoms.Results: Depressive symptoms were associated only with a parameter from the non-linear approach and specifically the long-tenn fluctuations of fractal dimensions (DFA-alpha 2). This association remained significant even after controlling for age, gender, BMI (Body-Mass-Index), arterial hypertension, anti-hypertensive drugs, dyslipidemia, and smoking habits. Moreover, the DFA-alpha 2 was not affected by the baroreflex (postural change), unlike other autonomic markers.Conclusions: Fractal analysis of HRV (DFA-alpha 2) allows then to predict depressive symptoms below the diagnostic threshold in healthy subjects regardless of their health status. DFA-alpha 2 may be considered as an imprint of subclinical depression on the heart rhythm.

Heart Rate Fractality Disruption as a Footprint of Subthreshold Depressive Symptoms in a Healthy Population

Castiglioni, Paolo;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Objective: Psychopathology (and depression in particular) is a cardiovascular risk factor independent from any co-occurring pathology. This link is traced back to the mind-heart-body connection, whose underlying mechanisms are still not completely known. To study psychopathology in relation to the heart, it is necessary to observe the autonomic nervous system, which mediates among the parts of that connection. Its gold standard of evaluation is the study of heart rate variability (HRV). To investigate whether any association exists between the HRV parameters and sub-threshold depressive symptoms in a sample of healthy subjects.Method: In this cross-sectional study, two short-term HRV recordings (5 min - supine and sitting) have been analyzed in 77 healthy subjects. Here we adopted a three-fold approach to evaluate HRV: a set of scores belonging to the time domain; to the frequency domain (high, low, and very low frequencies) and a set of 'nonlinear' parameters. The PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9) scale was used to detect depressive symptoms.Results: Depressive symptoms were associated only with a parameter from the non-linear approach and specifically the long-tenn fluctuations of fractal dimensions (DFA-alpha 2). This association remained significant even after controlling for age, gender, BMI (Body-Mass-Index), arterial hypertension, anti-hypertensive drugs, dyslipidemia, and smoking habits. Moreover, the DFA-alpha 2 was not affected by the baroreflex (postural change), unlike other autonomic markers.Conclusions: Fractal analysis of HRV (DFA-alpha 2) allows then to predict depressive symptoms below the diagnostic threshold in healthy subjects regardless of their health status. DFA-alpha 2 may be considered as an imprint of subclinical depression on the heart rhythm.
autonomic nervous system; depression; hrv; mind-heart-body connection; prevention
Mandarano, Piergiorgio; Ossola, Paolo; Castiglioni, Paolo; Faini, Andrea; Marazzi, Pierluca; Carsillo, Maria; Rozzi, Stefano; Lazzeroni, Davide
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2146051
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