Neuropsychological and psychological functioning aspects in myotonic dystrophy type 1 patients in Italy

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Introduction: Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 (DM1) is an autosomal dominant genetic illness, characterized by a progressive loss of strength. Important deficits in cognitive functioning and a significant prevalence of psychiatric disorders have been previously reported. Methods: A neuropsychological and psychological assessment was carried out in 31 DM1 patients (61% males) in order to measure the cognitive functioning and explore their personality profiles. The MMSE Mini-Mental State Examination, Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB), ENB-2 Battery assessing memory (short term, long term and working memory), integration capacities, visual-spatial ability, attention (selective, divided, shifting/switching) executive functions, praxis, discrimination and logic capabilities and psychopathology Symptom Check List 90-R (SCL-90-R) were administered. The neuropsychological and psychological evaluation of DM1 patients was carried out taking into consideration the clinical parameters (CTG repeat, age at onset, disease duration, Muscular Impairment Rate Scale (MIRS), Medical Research Council Scale (MRC) and the Epworth Sleepiness Scales (EPS)). Results: Regarding psychopathology 19.4% of patients scored a moderate or high level of symptoms intensity index (GSI), 12.9% reported a high number of symptoms (PST) and 16.1% reported a high intensity level of the perceived symptoms (PSDI). Fatigue and daytime sleepiness resulted as being associated with higher levels of psychoticism (PSY). Only 1 patient reported a severe impairment in the spatial and temporal orientation, memory, language, praxis, attention and calculation. Longer disease duration was also associated with cognitive impairment evaluated through ENB-2 (p < 0.05). Discussions and Conclusions: There are indications of the utility of neuropsychological and psychological screening and support for these patients and their families due to the link between disease duration and cognitive performances. A proposal of a clinical protocol, with an illustration of a clinical case report of a family is presented.




Callus, E., Bertoldo, E. G., Beretta, M., Boveri, S., Cardani, R., Fossati, B., … Meola, G. (2018). Neuropsychological and psychological functioning aspects in myotonic dystrophy type 1 patients in Italy. Frontiers in Neurology, 9(SEP).

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