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Death anxiety is an unavoidable common phenomenon in our lives across cultures and religions. It is multidimensional and explained by different theoretical frameworks. Death anxiety can have negative impacts on wellbeing. Death is an inevitable experience that generates a reduced sense of safety and stronger fear (Alkozei et al. 2019).
06 Feb 2021
Affect and Personality in Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread and persistent musculoskeletal pain, which is usually associated with other symptoms such as fatigue, tiredness, insomnia, stiffness, cognitive deficits, and emotional comorbidities (i.e., depression and anxiety). FMS patients usually display a high rate of psychiatric disorders compared to the general population. FMS has been also associated with higher levels of negative affect and lower levels of positive affect. High levels of stress, pain catastrophizing, and angry rumination have been also reported in FMS patients. Additionally, there are a tendency to internalize and suppress anger in FMS patients. Regarding personality in FMS, some studies have observed some FMS features (e.g., high impulsivity, harm avoidance, self-transcendence and neuroticism, and low conscientiousness, cooperativeness and self-directedness), while other authors had not found any particular personality trait. Some personality disorders (i.e., obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, borderline personality, avoidant personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder) seem to be more frequent in FMS patients than in general population. Moreover, previous research has reported a greater presence of the type D personality and high levels of alexithymia in a significant proportion of FMS patients. It is necessary to improve the understanding of the role of affect and personality in the clinical practice with chronic pain patients, in order to improve the success of a personalized oriented treatment and increase their health-related quality of life.
27 Oct 2020
Pain has a multidimensional nature in which three dimensions are usually differentiated: the sensory-discriminative, the emotional-affective and the cognitive-evaluative. Based on the duration, it is possible to distinguish between acute pain, when it is present for a period lower than 6 months; or chronic pain, if pain is present more than 6 months. Fibromyalgia Syndrome is a complex chronic pain disorder in which widespread and persistent musculoskeletal pain is accompanied by different symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, morning stiffness, depression, anxiety and cognitive impairments. Fibromyalgia began to be studied from the 16th century and it received different names during its historical development. The main landmarks in the development of fibromyalgia term include -among others- when the French physician Guillaume de Baillou in 1642 provided the first description of the disease using the term “muscular rheumatism”. The British neurologist W.R. Gowers in 1904 coined the term “fibrositis” in an article on lumbago. In 1944, F. Elliot suggested that the pain experimented by fibromyalgia patients might involve the spinal cord and thalamus. In 1968, E.F. Traut stated the first near-modern description of fibromyalgia with systemic features. In 1976, the term fibromyalgia was coined by P.K. Hench as a form of non-articular rheumatism based on the absence of specific inflammatory damage. In 1977, H.A. Smythe and H. Moldofsky continued the work of P.K. Hench and proposed the first measure for evaluating fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, it was not until 1981 that the medical community accepted this disease under the term "fibrositis" or “fibromyalgia” thanks to the work of Yunus et al. The distinction between primary and secondary fibromyalgia disappeared sometime later. During the 1980s, different authors suggested other formal and ad-hoc criteria sets. In 1987, the American Medical Association accepted fibromyalgia as a real disease. Shortly thereafter and as a result of this recognition, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) created a committee to establish the diagnostic criteria for this disorder. The first official diagnostic criteria were proposed in 1990 by the ACR. In 1994, fibromyalgia was also recognized by the International Association for the Study of Pain. During the 1990s, there was an increase in fibromyalgia research. In 2010, the ACR proposed a new version of the diagnostic criteria based exclusively on the use of the Widespread Pain Index and the Symptom Severity Scale. In addition, other two subsequent diagnostic proposals were performed. In 2011, Wolfe et al. revised and modified the 2010 ACR diagnostic criteria to facilitate its use in epidemiological or community studies, but not for self-diagnosis in the clinical context. In 2016, ACR criteria were proposed to combine the 2010 and 2011 ACR criteria into a single set to overcome the previous limitations. Definitely, fibromyalgia involves high personal, family and financial costs. Fibromyalgia also implies high economic costs for the socio-health system. Fibromyalgia notably reduces perceived functioning in physical, psychological, and social spheres, and has a negative impact on personal relationships, parenting, work, daily activities, mental health and social relationships.
05 Nov 2020
Craving is a multidimensional phenomenon involving an intense urge to consume substances. It is perceived as an individual experience of “wanting” a drug that may result in motivational and drug-seeking behavioral patterns. Alcohol craving has been extensively studied due to its clinical implications in the development and maintenance of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Craving is considered one of the mechanisms that promote relapse after treatment discharge and even after a prolonged period of abstinence. To better understand the magnitude of the relationship between craving and relapse, it is fundamental to explore factors associated with alcohol craving as it may help in the development of more efficient treatment approaches to prevent relapse in AUD patients.
28 Sep 2020
Fibromyalgia Symptoms Overview
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) can be conceptualized as a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and other accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety and cognitive impairments. The etiology of FMS remains unknown, being one of the most accepted hypothesis the presence of central sensitization to pain and impairments in endogenous pain inhibitory mechanisms. The history of the development of FMS concept reveals how other symptoms -apart from pain- has become also relevant in FMS diagnosis and treatment. The central symptom of FMS is pain. FMS patients generally report high levels of clinical pain, which are related to greater impairments in health related quality of life, cognitive abilities and disease course. Fatigue and sleeping difficulties are also common symptoms of FMS. Fatigue have shown positive associations with pain, stiffness, sleep problems, increased body mass index, FMS severity, tenderness, disability, cognitive complaints, anxiety and depression. The majority of FMS patients report poor sleep quality, take longer to fall asleep, generally wake up during the night, sleep fewer hours, and usually wake up unrefreshed. Emotional disturbances (i.e., depression, anxiety) are also frequent in FMS. In fact, depression and anxiety disorders have showed a negative impact on the clinical course and work capacity of FMS patients. Cognitive impairments are also a relevant symptom in FMS. The most common complaints among FMS patients are executive function deficits, attention problems, forgetfulness, concentration difficulties, and mental slowness. Regarding the most frequent treatments for FMS, these can be classified as non-psychological and psychological. The former includes analgesic drugs, adjuvant drugs (i.e., antidepressants, benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, etc.), nerve blocks, electrostimulation at different levels, infiltrations, etc. The psychological therapies with the most evidence are cognitive-behavioral, acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness. FMS is associated with a severe reduction of health related quality of life and psychosocial impairments. It is necessary to take all FMS symptoms and its relations into account in order to provide a more tailored and effective treatment, as well as, to improve the health related quality of life of FMS patients.
26 Oct 2020
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a functional brain imaging technique that measures magnetic flux on the surface of the head associated with underlying neuronal electrical dipoles.
08 Mar 2021
Role of Oligodendrocytes in Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an early neurodevelopmental disorder that involves deficits in interpersonal communication, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. Although ASD pathophysiology is still uncertain, alterations in the abnormal development of the frontal lobe, limbic areas, and putamen generate an imbalance between inhibition and excitation of neuronal activity. Interestingly, recent findings suggest that a disruption in neuronal connectivity is associated with neural alterations in white matter production and myelination in diverse brain regions of patients with ASD.
06 Feb 2021
Existential Suffering in Palliative Care
Existential suffering refers to one's angst due to a perceived loss of meaning, hope, relationships, and a sense of self in thinking about death and dying. Quality palliative care not only takes care of patients’ physical and existential suffering but also fills their last days with opportunities for redemption, spiritual growth, and reconciliation. We propose a holistic approach as illustrated by the healing wheel, involving health care providers, the community, patients, and a Higher Power.
29 Sep 2021
Extroversion and Neuroticism at Work
Extroversion and Neuroticism. Many studies have linked personality traits to the way in which workers carry out their tasks, with the aim of optimizing employee performance. Understanding this relationship is very useful for both recruiting members of staff and assigning them to positions that best fit their personality. It is generally accepted that there are five principal traits or factors that can be used to catalog the structure of each individual personality.
06 Feb 2021
Crisis-focused Psychological Interventions
Public safety personnel (PSP) and frontline healthcare professionals (FHP) are frequently exposed to potentially psychologically traumatic events (PPTEs), and report increased rates of post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSIs). Despite widespread implementation and repeated calls for research, effectiveness evidence for organizational post-exposure PTSI mitigation services remains lacking.
10 Dec 2020
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