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Yeon-Ju Hong, Hesun Erin Kim, Young Hoon Jung, Sunghyon Kyeong, Jae-Jin Kim
A mobile virtual reality system, equipped with built-in variables such as heart rate (HR), gaze-down data, and subjective fear rating, can allow individuals with a fear of heights to overcome it by self-training. This study aimed to verify the efficacy and safety of the training program. Forty-eight volunteers completed the four-session self-training program over 2 weeks. They were allocated into either low- or high-fear group by the Acrophobia Questionnaire (AQ)-anxiety scores, and then the changes of the built-in variables and AQ-anxiety scores were analyzed between the groups...
December 2017: Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking
Doreen Huppert, Eva Grill, Thomas Brandt
AIMS: To construct and validate a short scale for the assessment of the severity of visual height intolerance (vHI) and acrophobia. METHODS: The questionnaire was developed from two earlier representative epidemiological studies (n = 5,529). Items were applied in a telephone survey of a representative population-based sample. RESULTS: A total of 1,960 persons were included. The life-time prevalence of vHI was 32.7% (f: 36.1%; m: 28.4%); 12% of these persons fulfilled the psychiatric criteria of acrophobia...
2017: Frontiers in Neurology
V Stamenkovic, I Milenkovic, N Galjak, V Todorovic, P Andjus
Tenascin-C (TnC) is an extracellular matrix glycoprotein implicated in a variety of processes ranging from brain development to synaptic plasticity in the adult vertebrates. Although the role of the TnC gene in regulation of behavior has been investigated, it remained elusive how TnC deficiency interacts with the environment in shaping the behavioral phenotype. To address this, 3-week-old TnC+/+ and TnC-/- male mice were housed over an 8-week period in standard conditions (SC), or enriched environment (EE)...
May 24, 2017: Behavioural Brain Research
Bruce Arroll, Suzanne M Henwood, Fred I Sundram, Douglas W Kingsford, Vicki Mount, Steve P Humm, Henry B Wallace, Avinesh Pillai
Objective To assess the effectiveness of a novel imaginal intervention for people with acrophobia. Methods The design was a randomized controlled trial with concealed randomization and blinded to other participants' intervention. The intervention was a single novel imaginal intervention session or a 15-min meditation. The setting was in Auckland, New Zealand. The participants were a convenience sample of the public with a score >29 on the Heights Interpretation Questionnaire (HIQ), a questionnaire validated against actual height exposure...
January 2017: International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine
Bruce Arroll, Henry B Wallace, Vicki Mount, Stephen P Humm, Douglas W Kingsford
OBJECTIVE: To review the literature on the comparative efficacy of psychological, behavioural and medical therapies for acrophobia (fear of heights). DATA SOURCES: Multiple databases were searched through the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders review group on 1 December 2015. DATA SYNTHESIS: The data were extracted independently and were pooled using RevMan version 5.3.5. The main outcome measures were changes from baseline on questionnaires for measurement of fear of heights, such as the Acrophobia Questionnaire (AQ), Attitude Towards Height Questionnaire (ATHQ), and behavioural avoidance tests...
April 3, 2017: Medical Journal of Australia
Zuzanna Misiewicz, Tero Hiekkalinna, Tiina Paunio, Teppo Varilo, Joseph D Terwilliger, Timo Partonen, Iiris Hovatta
Acrophobia, an abnormal fear of heights, is a specific phobia characterized as apprehension cued by the occurrence or anticipation of elevated spaces. It is considered a complex trait with onset influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Identification of genetic risk variants would provide novel insight into the genetic basis of the fear of heights phenotype and contribute to the molecular-level understanding of its aetiology. Genetic isolates may facilitate identification of susceptibility alleles due to reduced genetic heterogeneity...
December 20, 2016: Scientific Reports
Martin J Herrmann, Andrea Katzorke, Yasmin Busch, Daniel Gromer, Thomas Polak, Paul Pauli, Jürgen Deckert
BACKGROUND: Animal as well as human research indicated that the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is highly relevant for fear extinction learning. Recently, we showed that targeting the vmPFC with high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in a placebo-controlled study with 45 healthy controls induced higher prefrontal activity during extinction of conditioned stimuli (CS+) in the active compared to the sham stimulated group and better extinction learning as indicated by ratings, fear potentiated startles and skin conductance responses...
March 2017: Brain Stimulation
Hans-Peter Kapfhammer, Werner Fitz, Doreen Huppert, Eva Grill, Thomas Brandt
The course of illness, the degree of social impairment, and the rate of help-seeking behavior was evaluated in a sample of individuals with visual height intolerance (vHI) and acrophobia. On the basis of a previously described epidemiological sample representative of the German general population, 574 individuals with vHI were identified, 128 fulfilled the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria of acrophobia. The illness of the majority of all susceptible individuals with vHI ran a year-long chronic course. Two thirds were in the category "persistent/worse", whereas only one third was in the category "improved/remitted"...
October 2016: Journal of Neurology
Julia Diemer, Nora Lohkamp, Andreas Mühlberger, Peter Zwanzger
Virtual reality (VR) exposure therapy is becoming increasingly established, but the mode of action is not well understood. One potential efficacy factor might be physiological arousal. To investigate arousal during VR exposure, we exposed 40 patients with acrophobia and 40 matched healthy controls to a VR height challenge and assessed subjective (fear ratings) and physiological (heart rate, skin conductance level, salivary cortisol) fear reactions. Patients experienced a significant increase of subjective fear, heart rate and skin conductance level...
January 2016: Journal of Anxiety Disorders
Samuel Hunley, Eugene Park, Matthew Longo, Stella Lourenco
Psychologists have long noted perceptual distortions associated with fear (e.g., Baddeley, 1972; Keinan, 1987). More recently, researchers have reported that participants high in acrophobic fear (i.e., fear of heights) show greater overestimation of vertical extents compared to participants low in acrophobic fear (e.g., Teachman et al. 2008; Stefanucci & Proffitt, 2009). In our study, we examined individual differences in trait claustrophobic fear (i.e., fear of enclosed or restrictive situations) in relation to horizontal distance perception...
2015: Journal of Vision
Fanny Levy, Pierre Leboucher, Gilles Rautureau, Roland Jouvent
Virtual reality therapy is already used for anxiety disorders as an alternative to in vivo and in imagino exposure. To our knowledge, however, no one has yet proposed using remote virtual reality (e-virtual reality). The aim of the present study was to assess e-virtual reality in an acrophobic population. Six individuals with acrophobia each underwent six sessions (two sessions per week) of virtual reality exposure therapy. The first three were remote sessions, while the last three were traditional sessions in the physical presence of the therapist...
June 2016: Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Thomas Brandt, Günter Kugler, Roman Schniepp, Max Wuehr, Doreen Huppert
This review shows that persons with visual height intolerance or acrophobia exhibit typical restrictions of visual exploration and imbalance during stance and locomotion when exposed to heights. Eye and head movements are reduced, and gaze freezes to the horizon. Eye movements tend to be horizontal saccades during stance and vertical saccades during locomotion. Body posture is characterized by a stiffening of the musculoskeletal system with increased open-loop diffusion activity of body sway, a lowered sensory feedback threshold for closed-loop balance control, and increased co-contraction of antigravity leg and neck muscles...
April 2015: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Hans-Peter Kapfhammer, Doreen Huppert, Eva Grill, Werner Fitz, Thomas Brandt
The purpose of this study was to estimate the general population lifetime and point prevalence of visual height intolerance and acrophobia, to define their clinical characteristics, and to determine their anxious and depressive comorbidities. A case-control study was conducted within a German population-based cross-sectional telephone survey. A representative sample of 2,012 individuals aged 14 and above was selected. Defined neurological conditions (migraine, Menière's disease, motion sickness), symptom pattern, age of first manifestation, precipitating height stimuli, course of illness, psychosocial impairment, and comorbidity patterns (anxiety conditions, depressive disorders according to DSM-IV-TR) for vHI and acrophobia were assessed...
August 2015: European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Helga Rodrigues, Ivan Figueira, Alessandra Lopes, Raquel Gonçalves, Mauro Vitor Mendlowicz, Evandro Silva Freire Coutinho, Paula Ventura
The treatment of anxiety is on the edge of a new era of combinations of pharmacologic and psychosocial interventions. A new wave of translational research has focused on the use of pharmacological agents as psychotherapy adjuvants using neurobiological insights into the mechanism of the action of certain psychological treatments such as exposure therapy. Recently, d-cycloserine (DCS) an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis has been applied to enhance exposure-based treatment for anxiety and has proved to be a promising, but as yet unproven intervention...
2014: PloS One
Shari A Steinman, Bethany A Teachman
OBJECTIVE: Cognitive models of anxiety disorders posit that biases in interpretation maintain, and potentially cause, anxiety. This study tested whether it is possible to decrease height fear symptoms through cognitive bias modification for interpretations (CBM-I). Additionally, the clinical utility of CBM-I was tested by comparing it to an already established treatment: exposure therapy. METHOD: Extremely height fearful individuals (N = 110) participated in the study...
June 2014: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
E K Loken, J M Hettema, S H Aggen, K S Kendler
BACKGROUND: Although prior genetic studies of interview-assessed fears and phobias have shown that genetic factors predispose individuals to fears and phobias, they have been restricted to the DSM-III to DSM-IV aggregated subtypes of phobias rather than to individual fearful and phobic stimuli. METHOD: We examined the lifetime history of fears and/or phobias in response to 21 individual phobic stimuli in 4067 personally interviewed twins from same-sex pairs from the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Disorders (VATSPSUD)...
August 2014: Psychological Medicine
Thomas Brandt, Doreen Huppert
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The aim of this review is, first, to cover the different aspects of visual height intolerance such as historical descriptions, definition of terms, phenomenology of the condition, neurophysiological control of gaze, stance and locomotion, and therapy, and, second, to identify warranted epidemiological and experimental studies. RECENT FINDINGS: Vivid descriptions of fear of heights can be found in ancient texts from the Greek, Roman, and Chinese classics...
February 2014: Current Opinion in Neurology
G Kugler, D Huppert, E Schneider, T Brandt
The life-time prevalence of visual height intolerance is 28 % in the general population. More than 50 % of those affected suffer from an impairment of daily behavior and quality of life when confronted with heights. Simultaneous measurements of spontaneous eye and head movements of these subjects while looking from a balcony revealed that visual exploration of the surroundings was restricted compared to that of control subjects. Spontaneous head movements were severely diminished and saccadic eye movements were reduced...
October 2013: Der Nervenarzt
Renato T Ramos, Danielle A de Mattos, J Thales S Rebouças, Ronald D Ranvaud
INTRODUCTION: The perception of comfort during air trips is determined by several factors. External factors like cabin design and environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, air pressure, noise, and vibration) interact with individual characteristics (anxiety traits, fear of flying, and personality) from arrival at the airport to landing at the destination. In this study, we investigated the influence of space and motion discomfort (SMD), fear of heights, and anxiety on comfort perception during all phases of air travel...
December 2012: Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine
Candyce D Tart, Pamela R Handelsman, Lindsey B Deboer, David Rosenfield, Mark H Pollack, Stefan G Hofmann, Mark B Powers, Michael W Otto, Jasper A J Smits
BACKGROUND: Pre-session administration of d-cycloserine (DCS) has been found to augment exposure therapy outcomes in a variety of anxiety disorders. To be able to enhance learning only for successful exposure sessions, it would be beneficial to have the option of administering DCS after rather than before the session, a strategy encouraged by pre-clinical work. We believe the present study is the first published report on the efficacy of post-session administration of DCS in humans. METHOD: Adults (N = 29) with a DSM-IV diagnosis of acrophobia were randomized to receive two sessions of virtual reality exposure therapy (VRE) in combination with placebo or 50 mg of DCS...
February 2013: Journal of Psychiatric Research
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