Dr Sophie Andrews


Cognitive Fitness to Drive in Huntington's Disease: Assessing the Clinical Utility of DriveSafe DriveAware.

Farrell HJ, Andrews SC, Ryan NP, Davis MC, Gordon S, Stout JC, Fisher F

Our aim was to evaluate the utility of DSDA in people with HD by demonstrating sensitivity of DSDA scores to HD progression and exploring associations between DSDA performance and cognitive functions that are essential to driving and impaired in people with HD. Our findings demonstrate potential for use of DSDA in the HD population, however, significant variability in cognitive performance among those predicted to 'pass' on-road driving assessment suggests the screening tool requires further development for use with HD drivers.

Apathy Associated With Impaired Recognition of Happy Facial Expressions in Huntington's Disease.

Osborne-Crowley K, Andrews SC, Labuschagne I, Nair A, Scahill R, Craufurd D, Tabrizi SJ, Stout JC,

Previous research has demonstrated an association between emotion recognition and apathy in several neurological conditions involving fronto-striatal pathology, including Parkinson's disease and brain injury. In line with these findings, we aimed to determine whether apathetic participants with early Huntington's disease (HD) were more impaired on an emotion recognition task compared to non-apathetic participants and healthy controls. Impairment of the recognition of happy expressions may be part of the clinical picture of apathy in HD. While shared reliance on frontostriatal pathways may broadly explain associations between emotion recognition and apathy found across several patient groups, further work is needed to determine what relationships exist between recognition of specific emotions, distinct subtypes of apathy and underlying neuropathology. (JINS, 2019, 00, 1-9).

Diminished facial EMG responses to disgusting scenes and happy and fearful faces in Huntington's disease.

Kordsachia CC, Labuschagne I, Andrews SC, Stout JC

Executive impairment is associated with unawareness of neuropsychiatric symptoms in premanifest and early Huntington's disease.

Andrews SC, Craufurd D, Durr A, Leavitt BR, Roos RA, Tabrizi SJ, Stout JC

Unawareness of neuropsychiatric symptoms appears to be common in Huntington's disease (HD), but the clinical correlates of unawareness are unclear. Identifying predictors of unawareness is important for improving diagnosis of neuropsychiatric symptoms, and cognitive impairment, specifically executive impairment, may be a potential important predictor of unawareness. The authors examined whether unawareness of neuropsychiatric symptoms is more common in early HD compared to premanifest HD, and whether executive task performance was associated with awareness, independent of demographic, motor or mood variables. Executive impairment is a useful early predictor of unawareness of neuropsychiatric symptoms in HD. Clinicians should closely monitor HD patients with executive impairment for unawareness, and consider this when assessing neuropsychiatric symptoms in HD and providing education to patients and families. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

Emotion Recognition Correlates With Social-Neuropsychiatric Dysfunction in Huntington's Disease.

Kempnich CL, Andrews SC, Fisher F, Wong D, Georgiou-Karistianis N, Stout JC

People with Huntington's disease (HD) experience poor social quality of life, relationship breakdown, and social withdrawal, which are mediated to some extent by socially debilitating neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as apathy and disinhibition. Social cognitive symptoms, such as impaired emotion recognition, also occur in HD, however, the extent of their association with these socially debilitating neuropsychiatric symptoms is unknown. Our study examined the relationship between emotion recognition and symptom ratings of apathy and disinhibition in HD. Our findings suggest that emotion recognition abilities relate to key socially debilitating neuropsychiatric symptoms in HD. Our results help to understand the functional significance of emotion recognition impairments in HD, and may have implications for the development of remediation programs aimed at improving patients' social quality of life. (JINS, 2018, 24, 417-423).

Emotion recognition in Parkinson's disease: Static and dynamic factors.

Wasser CI, Evans F, Kempnich C, Glikmann-Johnston Y, Andrews SC, Thyagarajan D, Stout JC

The authors tested the hypothesis that Parkinson's disease (PD) participants would perform better in an emotion recognition task with dynamic (video) stimuli compared to a task using only static (photograph) stimuli and compared performances on both tasks to healthy control participants. PD participants may have subtle emotion recognition deficits that are not ameliorated by the addition of contextual cues, similar to those found in everyday scenarios. Consistent with previous literature, the results suggest that PD participants may have underlying emotion recognition deficits, which may impact their social functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record

Cognitive assessment in Huntington disease clinical drug trials.

Stout JC, Andrews SC, Glikmann-Johnston Y

Which behaviours? Identifying the most common and burdensome behaviour changes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Andrews SC, Pavlis A, Staios M, Fisher F

Multimodal emotion processing deficits are present in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Andrews SC, Staios M, Howe J, Reardon K, Fisher F

Emotion processing abilities might be reduced in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Previous studies of emotion processing in ALS have inconsistent results, and are limited by variations in task difficulty, modalities examined, and participants' cognitive status. The current study used a battery of emotion processing tasks at differing levels of difficulty and across different modalities (facial affect and voice prosody) to assess the extent of emotion processing deficits in nondemented ALS. These results indicate that people living with ALS without dementia often have subtle difficulties with recognizing emotions in both faces and voices, even in the context of intact basic cognition. Clinicians should be aware of the potential for these emotion processing difficulties to be present in ALS and to affect interpersonal behavior and quality of life. (PsycINFO Database Record

Characterizing social communication changes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Fisher F, Philpott A, Andrews SC, Maule R, Douglas J

Social communication can be reduced in ALS and individuals may lack insight into these difficulties. In order to understand and provide targeted interventions for such difficulties, clinical speech and language assessment should incorporate social communication assessment, including both a self- and informant-report format.

Families Affected by Huntington's Disease Report Difficulties in Communication, Emotional Involvement, and Problem Solving.

Jona CMH, Labuschagne I, Mercieca EC, Fisher F, Gluyas C, Stout JC, Andrews SC

The aim of the current study was to assess family functioning in HD families. These findings highlight the need to target areas of emotional engagement, communication skills and problem solving in family interventions in HD.

Cognitive assessment strategies in Huntington's disease research.

Stout JC, Glikmann-Johnston Y, Andrews SC

Cognitive interventions to enhance neural compensation in Huntington's disease.

Andrews SC, Domínguez JF, Mercieca EC, Georgiou-Karistianis N, Stout JC

Emotion Evaluation and Social Inference Impairments in Huntington's Disease.

Philpott AL, Andrews SC, Staios M, Churchyard A, Fisher F

This study aimed to further characterise the emotion evaluation and theory of mind deficits in HD in an ecologically-valid context, and determine their impact on socially-relevant functional abilities. These findings suggest that social cognitive difficulties in symptomatic HD may be underpinned by more generalised impairments, related to deciphering social exchanges, as opposed to a selective theory of mind deficit. Such difficulties have the potential to place significant strain on interpersonal relationships, and thus warrant thorough clinical assessment, using ecologically-valid tools, to promote early detection and development of person-centred interventions.

No evidence for mirror system dysfunction in schizophrenia from a multimodal TMS/EEG study.

Andrews SC, Enticott PG, Hoy KE, Thomson RH, Fitzgerald PB

Reduced mu suppression and altered motor resonance in euthymic bipolar disorder: Evidence for a dysfunctional mirror system?

Andrews SC, Enticott PG, Hoy KE, Thomson RH, Fitzgerald PB

Home or Residential Care? The Role of Behavioral and Psychosocial Factors in Determining Discharge Outcomes for Inpatients with Huntington's Disease.

Fisher F, Andrews S, Churchyard A, Mathers S

To explore which factors were associated with early residential care placement in a group of hospitalized patients with HD. Patients with HD discharged to residential care were more likely to have psychosocial and behavioral problems, and lengthy hospital stays. These findings indicate the need for community-based psychosocial and behavior management interventions aimed at preventing residential care admissions for persons with HD.

Improving working memory: the effect of combining cognitive activity and anodal transcranial direct current stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

Andrews SC, Hoy KE, Enticott PG, Daskalakis ZJ, Fitzgerald PB

This study aimed to explore whether tDCS applied to the left DLPFC during the persistent performance of one WM task would improve performance on a subsequent WM task, to a greater extent than either tDCS or cognitive activity alone. These results indicate that there may be potential for the use of adjunctive cognitive remediation techniques to enhance the effects of tDCS. However, further research needs to be undertaken in this area to replicate and extend this finding.