Beyond disgust: impaired recognition of negative emotions prior to diagnosis in Huntington's disease.
ABSTRACT Previous studies of emotion recognition suggest that detection of disgust relies on processing within the basal ganglia and insula. Research involving individuals with symptomatic and pre-diagnostic Huntington's disease (HD), a disease with known basal ganglia atrophy, has generally indicated a relative impairment in recognizing disgust. However, some data have suggested that recognition of other emotions (particularly fear and anger) may also be affected in HD, and a recent study found fear recognition deficits in the absence of other emotion-recognition impairments, including disgust. To further examine emotion recognition in HD, we administered a computerized facial emotion recognition task to 475 individuals with the HD CAG expansion and 57 individuals without. Logistic regression was used to examine associations of emotion recognition performance with estimated proximity to clinical diagnosis (based on CAG repeat length and current age) and striatal volumes. Recognition of anger, disgust, fear, sadness and surprise (but not happiness) was associated with estimated years to clinical diagnosis; performance was unrelated to striatal volumes. Compared to a CAG-normal control group, the CAG-expanded group demonstrated significantly less accurate recognition of all negative emotions (anger, disgust, fear, sadness). Additionally, participants with more pronounced motor signs of HD were significantly less accurate at recognizing negative emotions than were individuals with fewer motor signs. Findings indicate that recognition of all negative emotions declines early in the disease process, and poorer performance is associated with closer proximity to clinical diagnosis. In contrast to previous results, we found no evidence of relative impairments in recognizing disgust or fear, and no evidence to support a link between the striatum and disgust recognition.
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ABSTRACT: Accurate recognition of facial expressions is crucial for social functioning. In depressed individuals, implicit and explicit attentional biases away from happy and toward sad stimuli have been demonstrated. These may be associated with the negative cognitions in these individuals. Using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), neural responses to happy and sad facial expressions were measured in 14 healthy individuals and 16 individuals with major depressive disorder. Healthy but not depressed individuals demonstrated linear increases in response in bilateral fusiform gyri and right putamen to expressions of increasing happiness, while depressed individuals demonstrated linear increases in response in left putamen, left parahippocampal gyrus/amygdala, and right fusiform gyrus to expressions of increasing sadness. There was a negative correlation in depressed individuals between depression severity and magnitude of neural response within right fusiform gyrus to happy expressions. Our findings indicate preferential increases in neural response to sad but not happy facial expressions in neural regions involved in the processing of emotional stimuli in depressed individuals. These findings may be associated with the above pattern of implicit and explicit attentional biases in these individuals and suggest a potential neural basis for the negative cognitions and social dysfunction in major depression.Biological Psychiatry 03/2005; 57(3):201-9. · 9.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Previous research by our group demonstrated a longitudinal change in caudate volume for symptomatic subjects with Huntington's disease (HD), and suggested that volume of the caudate may be a useful outcome measure for therapeutic studies in symptomatic patients. The current study was designed to determine whether longitudinal change in caudate atrophy could be documented in presymptomatic carriers of the HD gene mutation, and to compare rate of change in these subjects with rate of change in mildly and moderately affected symptomatic patients. We measured caudate volumes on serial magnetic resonance image scans from 30 patients at three stages of HD: 10 presymptomatic; 10 with mild symptoms, as indicated by scores on the Quantified Neurological Exam (QNE) ≤35; and 10 with moderate symptoms (QNE >45). The mean interscan interval was 36 months. When analyzed separately, both symptomatic groups and the presymptomatic group demonstrated a significant change in caudate volume over time. Amount of change over time did not differ significantly among the three groups. We conclude that change in caudate volume may be a useful outcome measure for assessing treatment effectiveness in both presymptomatic and symptomatic subjects.Movement Disorders 04/2000; 15(3):552 - 560. · 4.56 Impact Factor
Article: Neuropsychology of fear and loathing[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: For over 60 years, ideas about emotion in neuroscience and psychology have been dominated by a debate on whether emotion can be encompassed within a single, unifying model. In neuroscience, this approach is epitomized by the limbic system theory and, in psychology, by dimensional models of emotion. Comparative research has gradually eroded the limbic model, and some scientists have proposed that certain individual emotions are represented separately in the brain. Evidence from humans consistent with this approach has recently been obtained by studies indicating that signals of fear and disgust are processed by distinct neural substrates. We review this research and its implications for theories of emotion.Nature reviews. Neuroscience 06/2001; · 31.67 Impact Factor