Counterfactual thinking deficit in Huntington's disease

Federica Solca, Barbara Poletti, Stefano Zago, Chiara Crespi, Francesca Sassone, Annalisa Lafronza, Anna Maria Maraschi, Jenny Sassone, Vincenzo Silani, Andrea Ciammola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and Objective: Counterfactual thinking (CFT) refers to the generation of mental simulations of alternatives to past events, actions and outcomes. CFT is a pervasive cognitive feature in every-day life and is closely related to decision-making, planning and problem-solving - all of which are cognitive processes linked to unimpaired frontal lobe functioning. Huntington's Disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by motor, behavioral and cognitive dysfunctions. Because an impairment in frontal and executive functions has been described in HD, we hypothesised that HD patients may have a CFT impairment. Methods: Tests of spontaneous counterfactual thoughts and counterfactual-derived inferences were administered to 24 symptomatic HD patients and 24 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. Results: Our results show a significant impairment in the spontaneous generation of CFT and low performance on the Counterfactual Inference Test (CIT) in HD patients. Low performance on the spontaneous CFT test significantly correlates with impaired attention abilities, verbal fluency and frontal lobe efficiency, as measured by Trail Making Test - Part A, Phonemic Verbal Fluency Test and FAB. Conclusions: Spontaneous CFT and the use of this type of reasoning are impaired in HD patients. This deficit may be related to frontal lobe dysfunction, which is a hallmark of HD. Because CFT has a pervasive role in patients' daily lives regarding their planning, decision making and problem solving skills, cognitive rehabilitation may improve HD patients' ability to analyse current behaviors and future actions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0126773
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 12 2015

Fingerprint

Huntington Disease
Frontal Lobe
testing
Aptitude
decision making
planning
Decision Making
Decision making
neurodegenerative diseases
Trail Making Test
cognition
Planning
Thinking
Executive Function
Patient rehabilitation
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Healthy Volunteers
Rehabilitation
gender
Efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Solca, F., Poletti, B., Zago, S., Crespi, C., Sassone, F., Lafronza, A., ... Ciammola, A. (2015). Counterfactual thinking deficit in Huntington's disease. PLoS One, 10(6), [e0126773]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126773

Counterfactual thinking deficit in Huntington's disease. / Solca, Federica; Poletti, Barbara; Zago, Stefano; Crespi, Chiara; Sassone, Francesca; Lafronza, Annalisa; Maraschi, Anna Maria; Sassone, Jenny; Silani, Vincenzo; Ciammola, Andrea.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 10, No. 6, e0126773, 12.06.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Solca F, Poletti B, Zago S, Crespi C, Sassone F, Lafronza A et al. Counterfactual thinking deficit in Huntington's disease. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 12;10(6). e0126773. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126773
Solca, Federica ; Poletti, Barbara ; Zago, Stefano ; Crespi, Chiara ; Sassone, Francesca ; Lafronza, Annalisa ; Maraschi, Anna Maria ; Sassone, Jenny ; Silani, Vincenzo ; Ciammola, Andrea. / Counterfactual thinking deficit in Huntington's disease. In: PLoS One. 2015 ; Vol. 10, No. 6.
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