Social cognition dysfunctions in patients with epilepsy: Evidence from patients with temporal lobe and idiopathic generalized epilepsies

  • Realmuto S
  • Zummo L
  • Cerami C
 et al. 
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Abstract

Background and aim: Despite an extensive literature on cognitive
impairments in focal and generalized epilepsy, only a few number of
studies specifically explored social cognition disorders in epilepsy
syndromes. The aim of our study was to investigate social cognition
abilities in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and in patients
with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE).
Materials and methods: Thirty-nine patients (21 patients with TLE and 18
patients with IGE) and 21 matched healthy controls (HCs) were recruited.
All subjects underwent a basic neuropsychological battery plus two
experimental tasks evaluating emotion recognition from facial expression
(Ekman-60-Faces test, Ek-60F) and mental state attribution (Story-based
Empathy Task, SET). In particular, the latter is a newly developed task
that assesses the ability to infer others' intentions (i.e., intention
attribution-IA) and emotions (i.e., emotion attribution-EA) compared
with a control condition of physical causality (i.e., causal
inferences-CI).
Results: Compared with HCs, patientswith TLE showed significantly lower
performances on both social cognition tasks. In particular, all SET
subconditions as well as the recognition of negative emotions were
significantly impaired in patients with TLE vs. HCs. On the contrary,
patients with IGE showed impairments on anger recognition only without
any deficit at the SET task.
Discussion: Emotion recognition deficits occur in patientswith epilepsy,
possibly because of a global disruption of a pathway involving frontal,
temporal, and limbic regions. Impairments of mental state attribution
specifically characterize the neuropsychological profile of patients
with TLE in the context of the in-depth temporal dysfunction typical of
such patients.
Conclusion: Impairments of socioemotional processing have to be
considered as part of the neuropsychological assessment in both TLE and
IGE in view of a correct management and for future therapeutic
interventions. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Authors

  • Sabrina Realmuto

  • Leila Zummo

  • Chiara Cerami

  • Luigi Agro

  • Alessandra Dodich

  • Nicola Canessa

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