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Eur J Endocrinol. 2009 Mar;160(3):367-73. doi: 10.1530/EJE-08-0896. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

Personality in patients with pituitary adenomas is characterized by increased anxiety-related traits: comparison of 70 acromegalic patients with patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas and age- and gender-matched controls.

Author information

  • 1Department of Endocrinology, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany. csievers@mpipsykl.mpg.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Although neuropsychiatric and morphological brain alterations in acromegalic patients have been described and a distinct disease personality is clinically suspected, this has never been systematically investigated. We examined whether patients with acromegaly showed an altered personality profile compared with patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas and healthy controls.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

In this cross-sectional study, 70 acromegalic patients and 58 patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas were compared with 140 mentally healthy population controls, matched for age and gender. Personality traits were measured by standardized personality questionnaires (Eysenck personality questionnaire-RK and tridimensional personality questionnaire).

RESULTS:

Compared with healthy controls, acromegalic patients described themselves as distinctly more harm avoidant and neurotic and presented themselves with high social conformity. On harm avoidant subscales, they reported more anticipatory worries and pessimism, higher fear of uncertainty, higher fatigability and asthenia. This personality pattern was not specific for acromegaly, but could similarly be observed in patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas. However, specific for patients with GH-producing adenomas was an even more reduced novelty-seeking behaviour, especially in terms of lower impulsiveness, compared with patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas.

CONCLUSION:

Patients with pituitary adenomas show a distinct pattern of increased anxiety-related personality traits compared with the general population, potentially as a result of the pituitary lesion and/or associated hormonal dysregulations and comorbidities. Acromegaly is additionally associated with reduced impulsivity and novelty-seeking behaviour, which might affect patients' management and their quality of life.

PMID:
19073833
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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