Clinical Neuroscience

Health anxiety mediates the connection between somatosensory amplification and self-reported food sensitivity

ELIESON M. Linn, DÖMÖTÖR Zsuzsanna1, KÖTELES Ferenc2

SEPTEMBER 30, 2017

Clinical Neuroscience - 2017;70(09-10)


Background - The frequency of self-reported food sensitivity (SFS) is increasing, and has a negative impact on the well-being and everyday functioning of the affected people. A considerable proportion of SFS cannot be medically explained. The lack of knowledge of its origin and treatment causes further stress in those affected. Purpose - This study aims to get a better understanding of the psychological background of the condition. Methods - A non-representative community sample (N=335; age: 35.1±13.18 yrs; 75.8% female) completed an English on-line questionnaire assessing somatosensory amplification, health anxiety, modern health worries (MHWs), beliefs concerning the scientific validity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), holistic beliefs on health and illness. Results - In multiple binary logistic regression analyses, SFS were associated with CAM related beliefs, somatosensory amplification, and health anxiety after controlling for age and gender. The connection between somatosensory amplification and SFS were completely mediated by health anxiety. No differences between the two groups were found with respect to MHWs, worries about the harmful effects of various artificial components in food, and holistic health beliefs. Discussion: More positive attitudes toward CAM might be based on the lack of conventional treatment, rather than on higher levels of MHWs or a more holistic worldview. Both the existence of symptoms and the presence of health anxiety might be needed for the development and maintenance of SFS. Conclusions - The findings support the notion that somatosensory amplification and health anxiety might play a role in the development and maintenance of SFS.


  1. Institute of Health Promotion and Sport Sciences and Doctoral School of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
  2. Institute of Health Promotion and Sport Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Diabetes, dementia, depression, distress]

SZATMÁRI Szabolcs, ORBÁN-KIS Károly, MIHÁLY István, LÁZÁR Alpár Sándor

[The number of people living with diabetes continues to rise. Therefore neurologists or other health care practitioners may be increasingly faced with comorbid neuropsychiatric disorders commonly presented by diabetic patients. More recently there has been an increasing research interest not only in the interactions between diabetes and the nervous system, the fine structure and functional changes of the brain, but also in the cognitive aspects of antidiabetic treatments. Patients with both types of diabetes mellitus may show signs of cognitive decline, and depression. Comorbid insomnia, anxiety, and distress may also occur. The bi-directional relationships between all these phenomena as well as their connection with diabetes can lead to further health and quality of life deterioration. Therefore it is important that all practitioners involved in the care of diabetic patients recognize the presence of comorbid neuropsychiatric disturbances early on during the healthcare process. Identifying higher risk patients and early screening could improve the prognosis of diabetes and may prevent complications.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The Multiple Sclerosis Registry of Szeged]

BENCSIK Krisztina, SANDI Dániel, BIERNACKI Tamás, KINCSES Zsigmond Tamás, FÜVESI Judit, FRICSKA-NAGY Zsanett, VÉCSEI László

[Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a rare disease of the central nervous system considering the total population, the prevalence in Hungary is 83.9/100.000. The first MS registry was established in Denmark in the middle of the 1950’s. This was followed by the establishment of several national, then international databases with the number of enrolled patients in the hundred-thousands. At the beginning, the primary goal of the registries were the epidemiological surveys, focusing on the number of patients, the prevalence, the incidence, the mortality and the co-morbidity. As of today, however, with the rapid advancement and development of new disease modifying therapies (DMT) with different effectiveness and adverse reactions, the therapeutic use of the registries became even more essential: the modern, up-to-date, well established registries become integral part of the DMTs’ monitorization. The Multiple Sclerosis Registry of Szeged was first established as a “paper-based” database, then, in 2012, it was upgraded to an electronic, easily contactable and useable internet-based registry. As of today, it contains the socio-demographic and clinical data of more than 600 patients; we constantly add new patients as well as keep the registry up-to-date with the refreshment of old patients’ data. Aside from the “classical” clinical data, it can be used for the recording and assessment of the MRI scans and the data on psychopathological and quality of life assessments, which are becoming more and more important in everyday MS management. The establishment of the internet-based registry incredibly helped both the monitorization of the effectiveness of DMTs, and the success of the new epidemiological and psychopathological surveys. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

Correlation of vitamin D levels with electrophysiological findings and pain in the patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Objective - This study aimed to assess the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and electrophysiological findings and pain level in patients with symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Patients and method - A total of 131 patients with symptoms of CTS, 70 with vitamin D deficiency and 61 without vitamin D deficiency, were included in the study. Using demographic data and findings from electrophysiological examinations, the patients were divided into two groups based on their vitamin D level (Group 1: <20 ng/ml; Group 2: ≥20 ng/ml). The Boston Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Questionnaire was used to assess their CTS- related pain level. Results - Although the rate of CTS in the patients with a low vitamin D level was found to be high, no statistically significant correlation was observed between low vitamin D level and the frequency and severity of CTS. Additionally, the pain and functional loss ratio induced by CTS was found to be higher in the group with a lower vitamin D level than in the group with normal levels. Conclusion - Low vitamin D levels may increase the severity of CTS symptoms. Treatment of vitamin D deficiency in patients with CTS can play a role in reducing pain and disability.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Current diagnosis and treatment of idiopathic intracranial hypertension]

SALOMVÁRY Bernadett, PÁNCZÉL Gyula, MARKIA Balázs, NAGY Gábor

[Background - Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is cha-racterized by raised intracranial pressure of unknown origin, leading to persisting visual loss if left untreated. Purpose - We assessed timing of surgery, and the efficacy and safety of ventriculo-peritoneal shunt. Methods - Retrospective analysis of 65 patients treated at our Neuro-ophthalmology Clinic between 2009 and 2017. Patients - We treated 15 children and 50 adults, 42 patients conservatively, and 23 surgically. The median age at presentation was 27 years for adults, 88% were obese, and 86% female. The age of children was 5-17 years, 40% were obese, and 53% girl. The commonest presentation symptom was headache in both groups (64%), followed by obscuration (33%), and double vision (22-31%). Subjective visual loss was only experienced in the surgical group (50%). The time until diagnosis was 2 weeks in both groups. However, the conservative group presented to our institute significantly earlier (3 weeks), than the surgical group (8 weeks). The follow-up time was 25 months. Results - In the conservative group papilla edema was 2D, visual acuity ≥0.7, and visual field loss was only mild. Time to cure was 3 months. In the surgical group both preoperative papilla edema (3D), and visual function were significantly worse. Indications for surgery were papilla edema, deteriorating visual function or relapse resistant to conservative treatment. Papilla edema disappeared 3 months after surgery, and visual field deficit improved significantly. We detected significant improvement in all aspects of visual function even at first neuro-ophthalmic control 4 days after surgery. However, visual acuity only improved in cases of preoperative acuity ≥0.3. Shunt revision occurred in 17%, and shunt infection in 8.5%. One patient suffered from persistent visual deterioration after surgery, and asymptomatic complication (epidural hematoma) was found in another patient. There was no surgical mortality. Conclusions - This is a curable condition with early diagnosis and adequate treatment, and persistent visual loss can be prevented. Surgery is effective and safe, close neuro-ophthalmic monitoring is mandatory for its optimal timing. Visual function of all patients can be preserved when operated on in time, whereas severe visual loss appears to be irreversible despite surgery.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Does the comparison of median-to-ulnar nerve sensory conduction add an additional value in electrodiagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome?

ÖZGÜR Selek, MURAT Alemdar

Background and purpose - Distal sensory onset latency (DSOL), conduction velocity (SCV) and nerve action potential (SNAP) amplitudes are used in electrodiagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) beside motor conduction data. The aim of our study is to search whether the comparison of median-to-ulnar nerve sensory conduction adds an additional diagnostic value in CTS or not. Methods - Median and ulnar nerve were stimulated on wrist, and SNAPs were recorded on second and fifth fingers, respectively. Best cut-off points for the searched parameters and their diagnostic efficiencies were determined. The cut off points were also stratified according to the age and gender, and their diagnostic efficiencies were calculated again. Results - The study includes 415 hands belong to 344 subjects. Best cut off points for median nerve DSOL and SCV were 2.7 msec and 49.0 m/sec with the diagnostic efficiencies of 87.7% and 88.7%, respectively. Best cut off points for DSOL difference and SCV difference were 0.62 msec and 4.0 m/sec, and efficiencies were 89.6% and 84.3%, respectively. Conclusion - Determining the relative elongation of median nerve DSOL to the ulnar nerve one has a little additional value in electrodiagnosis of CTS, whereas any additional value is not obtained from SCV comparison.

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Hungarian Immunology

[Undifferentiated connective tissue disease]


[Undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) is a term used by many authors to define a group a diffuse connective tissue disorders that lack definitive characteristics of any particular well-defined disorder. UCTD was diagnosed if the patients had at least two clinical symptoms and their sera contained one type of the anti nuclear antibody. Six hundred and sixty five patients with UCTD were followed between 1994 and 1999. The presence of the fever and anti-DNS antibodies correlated with SLE, arthritis/arthralgia and anti-RNP antibodies with MCTD, Raynaud phenomenon and ANA positivity with scleroderma, xerostomia/xerophtalmia and anti-SSA/SSB antibodies with Sjögren' syndromes, rheumatoid factor positivity and polyarthritis with rheumatoid arthritis. In conclusion, the UCTD represents a dynamic phase, one part of the patients show progression to definite connective tissue diseases, one part show regression, and on part of the patients stay in UCTD phase.]

Hungarian Immunology

[Importance of Raynaud’s phenomenon in the connective tissue diseases]

CZIRJÁK László, NAGY Zoltán

[In the presence of Raynaud’s phenomenon compression syndromes, vibration, disorders causing hyperviscosity or arterial lesion and drog induced vasospasm should be excluded. In the background of unilateral Raynaud’s phenomenon organic, morphological abnormalities are present. Raynaud's phenomenon may also be the first symptom of connective tissue diseases, therefore the follow up of these cases is required. In case of patients with primary Raynaud’s phenomenon, the probability of developing a connective tissue diseases is very low. In the presence of antinuclear antibody positivity and/or scleroderma capillary pattern by capillarmicroscopy, the follow up is important, because these cases may develop a connective tissue disease, which predominantly belong to the scleroderma family. Simultaneous presence of Raynaud’s phenomenon and inflammation also strongly indicates that a connective tissue disease may later develop.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[The up-to-date approach of Parkinson’s disease]


[Parkinson’s disease is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disease. Its aetiology has not been clarified yet, but genetical as well as environmental factors might have a significant role in its development. The differentiation between Parkinsonian syndromes and Parkinson’s disease (idiopathic Parkinsonian syndrome) could be very difficult even today. The accuracy of the diagnosis is no more than 90% despite the expertise of the best-trained neurologists and the use of the most sophisticated diagnostic procedures. A 100% of confidence can be achieved only by neuropathological examination. The precise recording of the anamnesis, the thorough knowledge of clinical symptoms and diagnostic tests could be helpful in establishing diagnosis as early and as accurately as possible, which might be crucial for choosing the most effective therapy. Nowadays we have a lot of pharmacotherapies and non-pharmacotherapies, the use of which can significantly increase the number of years with a good quality of life of patients with this currently untreatable condition.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Somatosensory amplification absorption contribute to electrosensitivity


Background - Two trait-like characteristics, somatosensory amplification and absorption, have been associated with symptom reports and idiopathic environmental intolerances in past research. Purpose - As the two constructs are not connected with each other, their independent contribution to symptom reports and electromagnetic hypersensitivity, as well as their interaction can be expected. Methods - On-line questionnaire. Patients - 506 college students completed an on-line questionnaire assessing absorption, somatosensory amplification, negative affect, somatic symptoms, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Results - Somatosensory amplification (β = 0.170, p < 0.001) and absorption (β = 0.128, p < 0.001) independently contributed to somatic symptoms after controlling for gender and negative affect (R2 = 0.347, p < 0.001). Similarly, somatosensory amplification (OR = 1.082, p < 0.05) and absorption (OR = 1.079, p < 0.01) independently contributed to electromagnetic hypersensitivity after controlling for somatic symptoms, gender, and negative affect (Nagelkerke R2 = 0.134, p < 0.001). However, no interaction effects were found. Discussion - Somatosensory amplification and absorption independently contribute to symptom reports and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Conclusion - The findings suggest that psychological mechanisms underlying symptom reports and electromagnetic hypersensitivity might be heterogeneous.

Lege Artis Medicinae



[The authors provide a review on non-differentiated collagenosis (NDC) or, as it is called by another terminology, undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD), outlining the clinical and serological alterations of the disease and give a definition of NDC. NDC is a pathological state when patients present clinical symptoms and serological alterations characteristic of a polysystemic autoimmune disease that cannot be explained by any other disease, where the symptoms however do not meet the diagnostic criteria of any other polysystemic autoimmune disease. NDC is a dynamic state and in 25-30% of the cases it may differentiate into CTD but in 40- 50% it remains in NDC stage and in 10-20% of the cases the patient may achieve remission. Differentiation is most frequent in the first two years of NDC. Patients should be treated and followed up in NDC state as well. The NDC stage is very important, since with the discovery of new autoantibodies, by employing new gene technology and by the follow-up and the treatment of the patients, our main aim is the earliest possible detection of differentiation into a definite polysystemic disease.]