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J Nephrol. 2003 Nov-Dec;16(6):895-902.

Correlation between quality of life assessment and a personality neurobiologic model in dialyzed patients.

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  • 1Chair of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.


The Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) is a self-administered scoring system that has been widely used and validated as a quality of life (QOL) assessment tool. In our study, a cluster analysis of SF-36 scores was performed in 50 healthy volunteers (controls) and 50 neurobiologically asymptomatic patients on maintenance hemodialysis (MHD). Firstly, we assayed the tendency to form clusters from each of the investigated dimensions. Statistic analysis was performed using the Student's t-test for independent measurements and multiple regression analysis. Secondly, we attempted to evaluate if the MHD to apply to both groups a general psychobiological personality model developed by Cloninger in 1987. Cloninger describes three independent personality dimensions: novelty seeking (NS), harm avoidance (HA)and reward dependence (RD). Each personality dimension would be the expression of hereditary variations integrating the three main brain systems, respectively: dopaminergic, serotoninergic and noradrenergic. Finally, we then aimed to investigate possible interferences among the seric concentrations of the neuromodulators and SF-36 scores, in the attempt to identify, using a simple approach, the complex personality structure of MHD patients. QOL self-assessment and seric neuromodulators were measured in both groups, choosing an interdialytic day for MHD patients. We found that MHD patients perceived a significant worsening in their QOL in all investigated dimensions with respect to the controls. In addition, they showed significantly lower dopamine and serotonine concentrations and significantly higher noradrenaline concentrations. Therefore, our study, confirmed data reported previously in the literature, that cluster analysis of SF-36 scores provides different results in the MHD population in comparison to normal subjects. In fact, comparing the hierarchical trees of both groups, it appeared evident that in MHD patients, cluster dimensions were greater than in the controls. In cluster compositions showed differences between the two groups. In fact, in MHD patients there were only a few of the clusters that were observed in the controls (mental health and social functioning, vitality and general health), while role-physical and role-emotional dimensions aligned outside the hierarchical tree, with a considerable linkage distance. In our opinion, it is fascinating that the three Cloninger neuromodulators could suggest that HD patient personalities are potentially cyclothymiac, altering the disposition of the two role functions inside the hierarchical tree.

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