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.
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).
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).
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).
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.