Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mind over matter? The psychology of healing

Date:
August 2, 2010
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
People suffering from diabetes-related foot ulcers show different rates of healing according to the way they cope and their psychological state of mind, according to new research by a health psychologist.

People suffering from diabetes-related foot ulcers show different rates of healing according to the way they cope and their psychological state of mind, according to new research by a health psychologist at The University of Nottingham.

The large study published in the journal Diabetologia this month has shown that the way patients cope with the condition and their levels of depression, affect how the wound heals or worsens.

The work by Professor Kavita Vedhara from the University's Institute of Work, Health and Organisations, has sparked a follow-on project to develop psychological treatments to reduce depression in sufferers and help them cope more effectively with this debilitating and potentially life-threatening condition.

Foot ulcers are open sores which form when a minor skin injury fails to heal because of microvascular and metabolic dysfunction caused by diabetes. Up to fifteen per cent of people with diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, develop foot or leg ulcers with many suffering depression and poorer quality of life as a result.

The increased morbidity and mortality caused by the condition are estimated to cost UK health services 220 million per year. The costs are exacerbated by slow healing rates with two thirds of ulcers remaining unhealed after 20 weeks of treatment. The five year amputation and death rates among patients are 19 per cent and 44 per cent respectively. Ulcers account for around four out of five lower leg amputations and half of diabetes-related hospital admissions.

During the five-year study 93 patients (68 men and 25 women) with diabetic foot ulcers were recruited from specialist podiatry clinics across the UK. Clinical and demographic determinants of healing; psychological distress, coping style and levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in saliva were assessed and recorded at the start of a 24 week monitoring period. The size of each patient's ulcer was also measured at the start, and then at 6, 12 and 24 weeks to record the extent of healing or otherwise of the ulcer.

The results of the research showed that the likelihood of the ulcer healing over a 24 week period was predicted by how individual's coped. Surprisingly perhaps, patients who showed a 'confrontational' way of coping (a style characterised by a desire to take control) with the ulcer and its treatment were less likely to have a healed ulcer at the end of the 24 week period.

Professor Vedhara said: "My colleagues and I believe that this confrontational approach may, inadvertently, be unhelpful in this context because these ulcers take a long time to heal. As a result, individuals with confrontational coping may experience distress and frustration because their attempts to take control do not result in rapid improvements."

A secondary analysis of each patient examined the relationship of psycho-social factors with the change in the size of the ulcer over the observation period. Whereas the first analysis showed that only confrontation coping, not anxiety or depression, was a significant predictor of healing, the second showed that depression was a significant predictor in how the size of the ulcer changed over time, with patients with clinical depression showing smaller changes in ulcer size over time i.e., they showed less improvement or healing.

The 500,000 research project was funded by the Medical Research Council. A second project is under way thanks to a 230,000 grant from the National Institute for Health Research. This will develop and pilot a psychological intervention to reduce the risk of ulcers recurring in patients with a history of diabetic ulcers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. Vedhara, J. N. V. Miles, M. A. Wetherell, K. Dawe, A. Searle, D. Tallon, N. Cullum, A. Day, C. Dayan, N. Drake, P. Price, J. Tarlton, J. Weinman, R. Campbell. Coping style and depression influence the healing of diabetic foot ulcers: observational and mechanistic evidence. Diabetologia, 2010; 53 (8): 1590 DOI: 10.1007/s00125-010-1743-7

Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Mind over matter? The psychology of healing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802101622.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2010, August 2). Mind over matter? The psychology of healing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802101622.htm
University of Nottingham. "Mind over matter? The psychology of healing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802101622.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The new drug from Novartis could reduce cardiovascular deaths by 20 percent compared to other similar drugs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins