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Emotion perception may be impaired after stroke. No study on emotion perception after stroke has taken the influence of post-stroke depressive symptoms into account, although depressive symptoms themselves may hamper emotion perception.
To compare the perception of emotional facial expressions in stroke patients with and without depressive symptoms.
Twenty-two stroke patients participated whose depressive symptoms were classified using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (cutoff = 10) and who were compared with healthy controls. Emotion recognition was measured using morphed images of facial expressions.
Patients with depressive symptoms performed worse than controls on all emotions; patients without depressive symptoms performed at control level. Patients with depressive symptoms were less sensitive to the emotions anger, happiness and sadness compared with patients without depressive symptoms.
Post-stroke depressive symptoms impair emotion perception. This extends findings in bipolar disorder indicating that emotion perception deficits are strongly related to the level of depression.
Oosterman JM, de Goede M, Wester AJ, van Zandvoort MJE, Kessels RPC. Perspective taking in Korsakoff's syndrome: the role of executive functioning and task complexity.
Objective: The ability to make inferences about knowledge, thoughts and feelings of others, i.e. perspective taking, is a key element of social cognition. Clinical observations indicate that Korsakoff patients may have impairments in social cognition, but studies are scarce. Also, executive dysfunction is present in Korsakoff patients, which may hamper perspective taking directly.
Methods: Twenty-three patients with Korsakoff's syndrome and 15 healthy matched controls were examined on a story comprehension task, in which inferences had to be made that either relied on perspective taking or not. The effects of task complexity were taken into account and executive function was assessed using an extensive neuropsychological test battery.
Results: The performance of Korsakoff patients declined with increasing complexity, but the pattern of decline for perspective-taking and non-perspective-taking stories was similar compared to that of the control group. Furthermore, the performance decline with increasing task complexity was directly related to the overall decline in executive functioning.
Conclusion: Executive dysfunction, not deficits in perspective taking per se, appears to underlie difficulties in story comprehension in patients with Korsakoff's syndrome.
Impairments in executive functioning frequently occur after acquired brain damage, in psychiatric disorders, and in relation to aging. The Brixton Spatial Anticipation Test is a relatively new measure for assessing the ability to detect and follow a rule, an important aspect of executive functioning. To date, normative data on this task are limited, particularly concerning the elderly. This study presents age- and education-adjusted regression-based norms obtained in a group of healthy older participants (n = 283; mean age 67.4 ± 8.5 years). The applicability and validity of these norms were further examined in different groups of patients with stroke (n = 106), diabetes mellitus (n = 376), MCI/early dementia (n = 70), psychiatric disorders (n = 63), and Korsakoff’s syndrome (n = 41). The results showed that patients with Korsakoff’s syndrome, stroke, and psychiatric disorders performed significantly worse than healthy controls. Test-retest correlation (n = 83), learning effects, and correlations with other neuropsychological tests were also explored. Based on the present study, the Brixton test appears a useful addition to existing measures of executive functioning. Moreover, the test can be reliably applied in different groups of clinical patients. (JINS, 2009, 15, 695–703.)
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