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High social desirability and prefrontal cortical activity in cancer patients: a preliminary study.

Manabu Tashiro, Freimut Juengling, Ernst Moser, Michael Reinhardt, Kazuo Kubota, Kazuhiko Yanai, Hidetada Sasaki, Egbert U. Nitzsche, Hiroaki Kumano, Masatoshi Itoh

Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(4): CR119-124

ID: 4699

BACKGROUND: Social desirability is sometimes associated with poor prognosis in cancer patients. Psycho-neuro-immune interaction has been hypothesized as an underlying mechanism of the negative clinical outcome. Purpose of this study was to examine possible effects of high social desirability on the regional brain activity in patients with malignant diseases. MATERIAL/METHODS: Brain metabolism of 16 patients with various malignant diseases was measured by PET with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). Patients were divided into 2 groups using median split on Marlowe & Crown's Social Desirability Scale (MC), controlling for age, gender, and for severity of depression and anxiety, the possible two major influential factors. A group comparison of the regional cerebral activity was calculated on a voxel-by-voxel basis using statistical parametric mapping (SPM). RESULTS: The subgroup comparison showed that the high social desirability was associated with relatively increased metabolism in the cortical regions in the prefrontal, temporal and occipital lobes as well as in the anterior cingulate gyrus. CONCLUSIONS: High social desirability seems to be associated with increased activity in the prefrontal and other cortical areas. The finding is in an accordance with previous studies that demonstrated an association between prefrontal damage and anti-social behavior. Functional neuroimaging seems to be useful not only for psychiatric evaluation of major factors such as depression and anxiety but also for further psychosocial factors in cancer patients.

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