Disturbance of emotion processing in frontotemporal dementia: a synthesis of cognitive and neuroimaging findings.
ABSTRACT Accurate processing of emotional information is a critical component of appropriate social interactions and interpersonal relationships. Disturbance of emotion processing is present in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and is a clinical feature in two of the three subtypes: behavioural-variant FTD and semantic dementia. Emotion processing in progressive nonfluent aphasia, the third FTD subtype, is thought to be mostly preserved, although current evidence is scant. This paper reviews the literature on emotion recognition, reactivity and expression in FTD subtypes, although most studies focus on emotion recognition. The relationship between patterns of emotion processing deficits and patterns of neural atrophy are considered, by integrating evidence from recent neuroimaging studies. The review findings are discussed in the context of three contemporary theories of emotion processing: the limbic system model, the right hemisphere model and a multimodal system of emotion. Results across subtypes of FTD are most consistent with the multimodal system model, and support the presence of somewhat dissociable neural correlates for basic emotions, with strongest evidence for the emotions anger and sadness. Poor emotion processing is evident in all three subtypes, although deficits are more widespread than what would be predicted based on studies in healthy cohorts. Studies that include behavioural and imaging data are limited. Future investigations combining these approaches will help improve the understanding of the neural network underlying emotion processing. Presently, longitudinal investigations of emotion processing in FTD are lacking, and studies investigating emotion processing over time are critical to understand the clinical manifestations of disease progression in FTD.
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ABSTRACT: The ability to perceive, learn and recognise faces is a complex ability, which is key to successful social interactions. This ability is proposed to be coordinated by neural regions in the occipital and temporal lobes, specialised for face perception and memory. While previous studies have suggested that memory for faces is compromised in some dementia syndromes, it remains unclear whether this simply reflects more generalised memory deficits. Here, we examined basic face perception (Identity-Matching), face recognition (Cambridge Face Memory Task) and object recognition (Cambridge Car Memory Task) in 11 semantic dementia (SD) patients (8 left-lateralised, 3 right-lateralised) and 13 behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) patients, compared with 11 controls. On the Identity-Matching task, bvFTD were impaired compared to controls, with a similar trend observed in the SD group. Importantly, both bvFTD and SD also demonstrated impaired face recognition. In contrast, only bvFTD showed impaired object recognition, with SD performing within normal limits on this task. Voxel-based morphometry analyses revealed that Identity-Matching and face recognition were associated with partly dissociable regions including the fusiform cortex and anterior temporal lobe. Object-memory was associated with thalamic integrity in the bvFTD group only. These results reveal that face perception and face memory deficits are common in bvFTD and SD, and have been previously underestimated. These deficits are due to neurodegeneration of key regions within the'core' and'extended' face processing system, providing convergent evidence of the neural regions supporting face perception. From a clinical perspective, impaired ability to recognise faces is common in bvFTD and SD and therefore strategies to improve face perception and memory may be beneficial for these patients. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.Neuropsychologia 03/2015; 71. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.03.020 · 3.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder characterized by frontal and temporal lobe atrophy primarily affecting social cognition and emotion, including loss of empathy. Many consider empathy to be a multidimensional construct, including cognitive empathy (the ability to adopt and understand another's perspective) and emotional empathy (the capacity to share another's emotional experience). Cognitive and emotional empathy deficits have been associated with bvFTD; however, little is known regarding the performance of patients with bvFTD on behavioural measures of emotional empathy, and whether empathic responses differ for negative versus positive stimuli.Neuropsychologia 11/2014; 67. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.11.022 · 3.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Disturbed emotion processing and difficulty with social interactions are present to variable degrees in dementia. They are characteristic features of frontotemporal dementia, whereas these deficits tend to be mild in Alzheimer's disease, reflecting the different patterns of neurodegeneration seen in these disorders. Corticobasal syndrome is an atypical parkinsonian disorder clinically and pathologically related to frontotemporal dementia. Corticobasal syndrome typically presents as a motor disturbance, although cognitive and behavioural changes are now recognized. Pathological changes are found in frontoparietal cortical regions and in the basal ganglia; regions that are heavily involved in emotion processing. Despite the overlap with frontotemporal dementia and the observed regions of brain atrophy, emotion processing has not been systematically explored in corticobasal syndrome. This study aimed to (i) comprehensively examine emotion processing in corticobasal syndrome in comparison to Alzheimer's disease, to determine whether emotion processing deficits exist in this syndrome, beyond those seen in Alzheimer's disease; and (ii) identify the neural correlates underlying emotion processing in corticobasal syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. Sixteen patients with corticobasal syndrome, 18 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 22 matched healthy control subjects were assessed on a comprehensive battery of face and emotion processing tasks. Behavioural analyses revealed deficits in both basic face processing and high-level emotion processing tasks in patients with corticobasal syndrome. Notably, the emotion processing disturbance persisted even after controlling for face processing deficits. In contrast, patients with Alzheimer's disease were impaired on high-level complex and cognitively demanding emotion recognition tasks (Ekman 60, The Awareness of Social Inference Test) only. Neuroimaging analyses using FreeSurfer revealed that emotion processing deficits in corticobasal syndrome were associated with basal ganglia volume loss as well as cortical thinning of the left paracentral gyrus/precuneus region. In Alzheimer's disease, however, emotion processing deficits were associated with atrophy in a different set of brain regions, including the right cingulate and the bilateral insulae, as well as the hippocampi, right amygdala and nucleus accumbens bilaterally. Our results demonstrate that patients with corticobasal syndrome experience widespread deficits in emotion processing, and these deficits are related to changes in brain regions known to be crucial for emotion processing. These findings have important clinical implications for the treatment and management of these patients.Brain 09/2014; DOI:10.1093/brain/awu246 · 10.23 Impact Factor