A neuropsychological study of the postpolio syndrome: Support for depression without neuropsychological impairment

School of Psychological Science, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.
Neuropsychiatry, neuropsychology, and behavioral neurology 05/2000; 13(2):112-8.
Source: PubMed


This study aimed to examine cognitive functioning in postpolio syndrome (PPS) after controlling for the effects of depression and illness behavior.
Few studies have investigated the possible cognitive sequelae of PPS, despite widespread documented subjective complaints of "mental fatigue."
A total of 23 PPS sufferers, 20 polio survivors without PPS, and 22 matched controls were compared using the Beck Depression Inventory-II; the Illness Behaviour Questionnaire; a chronic fatigue syndrome symptom checklist; and several measures of memory, attention, and concentration, including the Brown-Petersen Task, Stroop Test, Austin Maze, California Verbal Learning Test, Trail Making Test, Controlled Oral Word Association Test, and Symbol-Digit Modalities Test.
In those participants with a medically confirmed diagnosis of PPS, there was a significantly higher level of depressive and hypochondriacal symptomatology as compared with the other two groups. Nevertheless, no significant differences existed between the three groups on neuropsychological measures.
These results indicate that the attention and memory difficulties reported by PPS sufferers may be linked to the physical or psychological manifestations of the illness rather than to objective decrements in cognitive performance.

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    • "An important caveat is that overall rates of depression in polio survivors may be skewed by a significantly higher incidence in the subsample of persons diagnosed with PPS. For example, Hazendonk and Crowe (2000) originally set out to examine the cognitive differences between a sample of polio survivors (including those with PPS) and a nondisabled control group. The researchers used single-factor, repeated measures ANOVA with planned comparisons analysis. "
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    ABSTRACT: Postpolio syndrome is defined as a clinical syndrome of new pareses in individuals who had been affected by acute paralytic poliomyelitis years before. The objective of this study was to describe neurologic and psychiatric signs of the disease. We evaluated the clinical signs and treatment of 16 patients with postpolio syndrome. Possible symptoms of depression were evaluated by the Hamilton and Geriatric Depression Scales. Postpolio syndrome manifested at a median age of 57.5 years (range 25-73) in a median of 41 years (range 16-70 years) after acute poliomyelitis. Muscles already affected during acute poliomyelitis were affected in all patients with postpolio syndrome. Six of 16 patients (37.5%) developed paresis in muscles formerly not affected by acute poliomyelitis. In eight of 15 patients (53%), depressive episodes were recognized according to the ICD-10 criteria. Symptoms of depression should be recognized in patients with postpolio syndrome and incorporated in therapy based on physiotherapy.
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