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