Publications by authors named "James J Casey"

7 Publications

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Physiological, behavioral and subjective sadness reactivity in frontotemporal dementia subtypes.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2019 12;14(12):1453-1465

Berkeley Psychophysiology Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a neurodegenerative disease broadly characterized by socioemotional impairments, includes three clinical subtypes: behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD), semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA) and non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA). Emerging evidence has shown emotional reactivity impairments in bvFTD and svPPA, whereas emotional reactivity in nfvPPA is far less studied. In 105 patients with FTD (49 bvFTD, 31 svPPA and 25 nfvPPA) and 27 healthy controls, we examined three aspects of emotional reactivity (physiology, facial behavior and subjective experience) in response to a sad film. In a subset of the sample, we also examined the neural correlates of diminished aspects of reactivity using voxel-based morphometry. Results indicated that all three subtypes of FTD showed diminished physiological responding in respiration rate and diastolic blood pressure; patients with bvFTD and svPPA also showed diminished subjective experience, and no subtypes showed diminished facial behavior. Moreover, there were differences among the clinical subtypes in brain regions where smaller volumes were associated with diminished sadness reactivity. These results show that emotion impairments extend to sadness reactivity in FTD and underscore the importance of considering different aspects of sadness reactivity in multiple clinical subtypes for characterizing emotional deficits and associated neurodegeneration in FTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137727PMC
December 2019

An integrative group movement program for people with dementia and care partners together (Paired PLIÉ): initial process evaluation.

Aging Ment Health 2020 06 12;24(6):971-977. Epub 2019 Feb 12.

San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System, San Francisco, CA, USA.

To understand feedback from participants in Paired PLIÉ (Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise), a novel, integrative group movement program for people with dementia and their care partners, in order to refine the intervention and study procedures. Data sources included daily logs from the first Paired PLIÉ RCT group, final reflections from the second Paired PLIÉ RCT group, and responses to requests for feedback and letters of support from Paired PLIÉ community class participants. All data are reports from care partners. The qualitative coding process was iterative and conducted with a multidisciplinary team. The coding team began with a previously established framework that was modified and expanded to reflect emerging themes. Regular team meetings were held to confirm validity and to reach consensus around the coding system as it was developed and applied. Reliability was checked by having a second team member apply the coding system to a subset of the data. Key themes that emerged included care partner-reported improvements in physical functioning, cognitive functioning, social/emotional functioning, and relationship quality that were attributed to participation in Paired PLIÉ. Opportunities to improve the intervention and reduce study burden were identified. Care partners who transitioned to the community class after participating in the Paired PLIÉ study reported ongoing benefits. These qualitative results show that people with dementia and their care partners can participate in and benefit from community-based programs like Paired PLIÉ that include both partners, and focus on building skills to maintain function and quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2018.1553142DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6690798PMC
June 2020

Genuine Smiles by Patients During Marital Interactions are Associated with Better Caregiver Mental Health.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2019 08;74(6):975-987

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Objective: Providing care for a spouse with dementia is associated with an increased risk for poor mental health. To determine whether this vulnerability in caregivers is related to the expression of positive emotion, we examined 57 patients with Alzheimer's disease and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and their spouses as they discussed a marital conflict.

Method: Facial behavior during the discussion was objectively coded to identify Duchenne (i.e., genuine) smiles and non-Duchenne (i.e., polite) smiles. Caregiver mental health was measured using the Medical Outcomes Survey.

Results: Greater expression of Duchenne smiles by patients was associated with better caregiver mental health, even when accounting for covariates (i.e., diagnosis, patient cognitive functioning, and caregiver marital satisfaction). Greater expression of non-Duchenne smiles by patients was associated with worse caregiver health, but only when covariates were entered in the model. Expression of Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles by caregivers was not associated with caregiver mental health.

Discussion: Patients' expression of Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles may reveal important aspects of the emotional quality of the patient-caregiver relationship that influence caregiver burden and mental health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbx157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6941495PMC
August 2019

Poor caregiver mental health predicts mortality of patients with neurodegenerative disease.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 07 27;114(28):7319-7324. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720;

Dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases cause profound declines in functioning; thus, many patients require caregivers for assistance with daily living. Patients differ greatly in how long they live after disease onset, with the nature and severity of the disease playing an important role. Caregiving can also be extremely stressful, and many caregivers experience declines in mental health. In this study, we investigated the role that caregiver mental health plays in patient mortality. In 176 patient-caregiver dyads, we found that worse caregiver mental health predicted greater patient mortality even when accounting for key risk factors in patients (i.e., diagnosis, age, sex, dementia severity, and patient mental health). These findings highlight the importance of caring for caregivers as well as patients when attempting to improve patients' lives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1701597114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514722PMC
July 2017

Positive urgency and emotional reactivity: Evidence for altered responding to positive stimuli.

Emotion 2017 04 7;17(3):442-449. Epub 2016 Nov 7.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Positive urgency, defined as a tendency to become impulsive during positive affective states, has gained support as a form of impulsivity that is particularly important for understanding psychopathology. Despite this, little is known about the emotional mechanisms and correlates of this form of impulsivity. We hypothesized that positive urgency would be related to greater emotional reactivity in response to a positive film clip. Seventy-five undergraduates watched a positive film clip, and a multimodal assessment of emotion was conducted, including subjective emotional experience, physiological activation (i.e., heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, skin conductance), and facial emotional behavior (i.e., objectively coded using the Facial Action Coding System). Positive urgency was not significantly related to greater positive emotional reactivity but rather a more complex array of emotions expressed in facial behavior, as indexed by similar levels of positive yet greater levels of negative behavior. These findings show that positive urgency may be linked to altered emotionality, but does not appear related to heightened positive emotional reactivity. Potential implications for functional outcomes are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000240DOI Listing
April 2017

Short alleles, bigger smiles? The effect of 5-HTTLPR on positive emotional expressions.

Emotion 2015 Aug 1;15(4):438-48. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

Department of Psychology and Institute for Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley.

The present research examined the effect of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene on objectively coded positive emotional expressions (i.e., laughing and smiling behavior objectively coded using the Facial Action Coding System). Three studies with independent samples of participants were conducted. Study 1 examined young adults watching still cartoons. Study 2 examined young, middle-aged, and older adults watching a thematically ambiguous yet subtly amusing film clip. Study 3 examined middle-aged and older spouses discussing an area of marital conflict (that typically produces both positive and negative emotion). Aggregating data across studies, results showed that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR predicted heightened positive emotional expressions. Results remained stable when controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and depressive symptoms. These findings are consistent with the notion that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR functions as an emotion amplifier, which may confer heightened susceptibility to environmental conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4861141PMC
August 2015

The 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene moderates the association between emotional behavior and changes in marital satisfaction over time.

Emotion 2013 Dec 7;13(6):1068-79. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

Department of Psychology.

Why do some individuals become dissatisfied with their marriages when levels of negative emotion are high and levels of positive emotions are low, whereas others remain unaffected? Using data from a 13-year longitudinal study of middle-aged and older adults in long-term marriages, we examined whether the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene moderates the association between negative and positive emotional behavior (objectively measured during marital conflict) and changes in marital satisfaction over time. For individuals with two short alleles of 5-HTTLPR, higher negative and lower positive emotional behavior at Time 1 predicted declines in marital satisfaction over time (even after controlling for depression and other covariates). For individuals with one or two long alleles, emotional behavior did not predict changes in marital satisfaction. We also found evidence for a crossover interaction (individuals with two short alleles of 5-HTTLPR and low levels of negative or high levels of positive emotion had the highest levels of marital satisfaction). These findings provide the first evidence of a specific genetic polymorphism that moderates the association between emotional behavior and changes in marital satisfaction over time and are consistent with increasing evidence that the short allele of this polymorphism serves as a susceptibility factor that amplifies sensitivity to both negative and positive emotional influences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0033761DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4067734PMC
December 2013