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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2007 Jul;32(6):660-8. Epub 2007 Jun 8.

Saliva testosterone and heart rate variability in the professional symphony orchestra after "public faintings" of an orchestra member.

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National Institute for Psychosocial Medicine, P.O. Box 230, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden.


Musicians are sensitive to changes in their work environment. A 2-year longitudinal study with repeated observations was performed in two professional symphony orchestras. A representative sample from each one of them was selected, 15 and 16 members respectively. In one of them a wind player fainted twice in front of the audience shortly preceding and coinciding with the start of the study. Changes in two indicators that reflect regenerative/anabolic and parasympathetic tone, saliva testosterone concentration (STC) and very low-frequency power (VLFP) in heart rate variability were followed in relation to this dramatic change. Saliva samples and 24-h ECG heart rate variability recordings were collected on five occasions every 6 months during a 2-year period. No changes were seen in the control orchestra whereas the levels showed a pronounced rise in the intervention orchestra during the first part of the study, starting from low levels. VLFP showed a similar pattern, with initially low and then rising level in the intervention orchestra and higher stable level in the other group. In the total study group, a rise in STC over the whole observation period was significantly correlated with increase in VLFP and also significantly correlated with a decrease in low/high-frequency power ratio in heart rate variability. The changes observed in the anabolic/regenerative STC and the parasympathetically influenced VLFP may reflect changes in the work environment associated with the faintings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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