Anosognosia in degenerative brain diseases: The role of the right hemisphere and of its dominance for emotions

Guido Gainotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Earlier studies, which suggested that anosognosia of hemiplegia might be related to right hemisphere (RH) lesions did not control for the influence of confounding variables, such as aphasia, in patients with left-hemisphere lesions and unilateral neglect in those with RH lesions. These confounding variables are absent in patients with degenerative brain disease, where a prevalence of right-sided lesions is often associated with emotional and behavioural disturbances. This review, which can be considered a ‘qualitative synthesis’ aimed, therefore, to determine whether the unawareness phenomena observed in degenerative brain diseases are linked to the RH dominance for emotions. Results of the review confirmed that the neural correlates of anosognosia are often right lateralised in patients with degenerative brain diseases and that emotional disturbances are associated with right frontal lesions and anosognosia in the behavioural variant, i.e., frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). However, they also showed that anosognosia is a heterogeneous phenomenon and that the role of right frontal lesions is much greater when the loss of insight concerns emotion-linked aspects of personality or behaviour than when it concerns particular aspects of cognition or memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume127
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Anosognosia
  • bvFTD
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Qualitative synthesis
  • Right hemisphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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