School of Psychology, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Nuevo León, Mexico.
Background. Cancer is a chronic disease that significantly affects the quality of life of patients who suffer from it, because they must face stressful situations, including their diagnosis, surgical procedures, and the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Objective. To evaluate the effects of hypnotherapy on breast cancer patients’ quality of life during chemotherapy.
Design. A quasi-experimental design was used with a convenience sample. Method. Two groups of patients with early breast cancer diagnoses were assigned to either a control group that received standard medical care (n = 20), or a hypnotherapy group (n = 20) that received 12 intensive sessions over the course of 1 month, and 12 additional sessions over the course of 6 months. The patients’ quality of life was evaluated using the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30).
Results. The hypnotherapy group showed a statistically significant improvement and a large effect size on the cognitive functioning and social functioning scales compared to the control group. The physical functioning, role functioning, and quality of life scales showed improvement with a medium effect size, but the changes were not statistically significant.
Conclusion. The improvement observed in the cognitive functioning and social functioning scales allows us to suggest that hypnotherapy improves the quality of life of breast cancer patients during chemotherapy.
Keywords: hypnotherapy, quality of life, breast cancer, cognitive functioning and social functioning
Traditionally, neuropsychology has focused on identifying the brain mechanisms of specific psychological processes, such as attention, motor skills, perception, memory, language, and consciousness, as well as their corresponding disorders. However, there are psychological processes that have received little attention in this field, such as dreaming. This study examined the clinical and experimental neuropsychological research relevant to dreaming, ranging from sleep disorders in patients with brain damage, to brain functioning during REM sleep, using different methods of brain imaging. These findings were analyzed within the framework of Luria’s Three Functional Unit Model of the Brain, and a proposal was made to explain certain of the essential characteristics of dreaming. This explanation describes how, during dreaming, an activation of the First Functional Unit occurs, comprising the reticular formation of the brainstem; this activates, in turn, the Second Functional Unit — which is formed by the parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes and Unit L, which is comprised of the limbic system, as well as simultaneous hypo-functioning of the Third Functional Unit (frontal lobe). This activity produces a perception of hallucinatory images of various sensory modes, as well as a lack of inhibition, a non-selfreflexive thought process, and a lack of planning and direction of such oneiric images. Dreaming is considered a type of natural confabulation, similar to the one that occurs in patients with frontal lobe damage or schizophrenia. The study also suggests that the confabulatory, bizarre, and impulsive nature of dreaming has a function in the cognitiveemotional homeostasis that aids proper brain function throughout the day.
Keywords: dreaming, brain, neuropsychology, functional units, Luria´s model
Background. The need to evaluate the emotional changes women experience during the diagnostic stage of breast cancer creates the need for easily applicable short screening tools; thus, evaluations which rely on a single question and visual analogical scales are widely used in hospital environments.
Objective. This study aimed to determine the optimal cut-off points for anxiety, depression, and stress emotional thermometers measured against the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety and depression sub-scales (HADS-A and HADS-D), and the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale-14, respectively; in addition, the study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of these changes in women scheduled for breast biopsies.
Design. The study included 221 women who were scheduled for breast biopsies; their agesranged between28 and80 years old. They were individually evaluated using the Emotional Thermometers, the HADS-A, theHADS-D, and the PSS-14 before undergoingtheir biopsies. Data from 203 participants were analyzed.
Results. The following optimal cut-off points were obtained: 3 for the anxiety emotional thermometer (ET) (sensitivity 0.71, specificity 0.25); 3 for the depression ET (sensitivity 0.87, specificity 0.34); and 4 for the stress ET(sensitivity 0.80, specificity 0.43). According to these cut-off points, 56% of the patients exhibited anxiety, 40% exhibited depression, and 55% exhibited stress.
Conclusion. Using emotional thermometers to screen anxiety, depression, and stress is therefore recommended in the context of breast biopsies.
Keywords: emotional thermometer; breast biopsy; anxiety; depression; stress