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Biopsychosocial Assessment of Pain with Thermal Imaging of Emotional Facial Expression in Breast Cancer Survivors

Division of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Psychology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
National Medical Center 20 de Noviembre, Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado, Mexico City 03229, Mexico
CA Mechatronics, Faculty of Engineering, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, San Juan del Río City 76807, México
Interdisciplinary Center of Health Sciences, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Unidad Santo Tomás, Mexico City 11340, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 30;
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mind-body Medicine Approaches)
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Background: Recent research has evaluated psychological and biological characteristics associated with pain in survivors of breast cancer (BC). Few studies consider their relationship with inflammatory activity. Voluntary facial expressions modify the autonomic activity and this may be useful in the hospital environment for clinical biopsychosocial assessment of pain. Methods: This research compared a BC survivors group under integral treatment (Oncology, Psychology, Nutrition) with a control group to assess the intensity of pain, behavioral interference, anxiety, depression, temperament-expression, anger control, social isolation, emotional regulation, and alexithymia and inflammatory activity, with salivary interleukin 6 (IL-6). Then, a psychophysiological evaluation through repeated measures of facial infrared thermal imaging (IRT) and hands in baseline—positive facial expression (joy)—negative facial expression (pain)—relaxation (diaphragmatic breathing). Results: The results showed changes in the IRT (p < 0.05) during the execution of facial expressions in the chin, perinasal, periorbital, frontal, nose, and fingers areas in both groups. No differences were found in the IL-6 level among the aforementioned groups, but an association with baseline nasal temperature (p < 0.001) was observable. The BC group had higher alexithymia score (p < 0.01) but lower social isolation (p < 0.05), in comparison to the control group. Conclusions: In the low- and medium-concentration groups of IL-6, the psychophysiological intervention proposed in this study has a greater effect than on the high concentration group of IL-6. This will be considered in the design of psychological and psychosocial interventions for the treatment of pain. View Full-Text
Keywords: breast cancer; facial expression; IL-6; thermography; alexithymia; social support breast cancer; facial expression; IL-6; thermography; alexithymia; social support

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Rodríguez Medina, D.A.; Domínguez Trejo, B.; Cortés Esteban, P.; Cruz Albarrán, I.A.; Morales Hernández, L.A.; Leija Alva, G. Biopsychosocial Assessment of Pain with Thermal Imaging of Emotional Facial Expression in Breast Cancer Survivors. Medicines 2018, 5, 30.

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