Purdue University Graduate School
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Cardiovagal and Sympathetic Baroreflex Sensitivity and the Ability to Decenter

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posted on 2023-08-04, 12:27 authored by Reagan Elsie BishopReagan Elsie Bishop

Results from this study show a moderate association between decentering and sBRS.

 Previous studies have associated decentering, a non-judgmental view of emotions, with lower arterial stiffness and better nocturnal blood pressure dipping in adults. It is unknown however if autonomic regulation of blood pressure is linked to decentering. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if decentering was related to cardiovagal or sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity (sBRS). Thirty-three adults (age 25±6 years; BMI 25±3 kg/m2 ) with resting blood pressure ≥120/80 mmHg volunteered for this study. All participants had a BMI <30 kg/m2 , and had no history of smoking, diabetes, or prescriptions for blood pressure or cardiac function. Participants completed an 11-item experiences questionnaire to evaluate decentering, and then were equipped for a supine autonomic evaluation. The autonomic evaluation included continuous recording of heart rate via 3-lead ECG, muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) via microneurography, and beat-to-beat blood pressure via finger photoplethysmography. Cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity (n=33) included estimation of vagal activation by evaluating up-up relationships between systolic arterial pressure (SAP) and R-R intervals of the ECG. Vagal withdrawal was also estimated via the down-down relationships between SAP and R-R intervals. Spontaneous sBRS (n=17) was evaluated by assessing the relationship between changes in diastolic arterial pressure (DAP) in 3 mmHg bins vs. changes in MSNA burst incidence (bursts / 100 heart beats) in those with DAP-MSNA correlations >0.70. Results from 2-tailed Pearson correlation analyses revealed that there was not a relationship between decentering and vagal activation (r=-0.07; p=0.71) or between decentering and vagal withdrawal (r=-0.28; p=0.12). There was a moderate, negative correlation between decentering and sBRS that lacked statistical significance (r= -0.35; p=0.17). Our findings suggest that there is not a clear link between decentering and autonomic regulation of blood pressure as estimated through cardiovagal 11 baroreflex sensitivity, but the moderate correlation between decentering and sBRS should be explored in a larger sample size. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Biological Sciences

Campus location

  • Hammond

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

John Durocher

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Ezra Mutai

Additional Committee Member 2

Michael Smith

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