Emotion Recognition Deficits in the Differential Diagnosis of Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Cognitive Marker for the Limbic-Predominant Phenotype

Alessandra Dodich, Chiara Crespi, Gaia Chiara Santi, Alessandra Marcone, Sandro Iannaccone, Daniela Perani, Stefano F Cappa, Chiara Cerami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Late-onset amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) with long disease course and slow progression has been recently recognized as a possible phenotypical expression of a limbic-predominant neurodegenerative disorder. Basic emotion recognition ability crucially depending on temporo-limbic integrity is supposed to be impaired in this group of MCI subjects presenting a selective vulnerability of medio-temporal and limbic regions. However, no study specifically investigated this issue.

METHODS: Hereby, we enrolled 30 aMCI with a biomarker-based diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (i.e., aMCI-AD, n = 16) or a biomarker evidence of selective medio-temporal and limbic degeneration (aMCI-mTLD, n = 14). Ekman-60 Faces Test (Ek-60F) was administered to each subject, comparing the performance with that of 20 healthy controls (HCs).

RESULTS: aMCI-mTLD subjects showed significantly lower Ek-60F global scores compared to HC (p = 0.001), whose performance was comparable to aMCI-AD. Fear (p = 0.02), surprise (p = 0.005), and anger (p = 0.01) recognition deficits characterized the aMCI-mTLD performance. Fear recognition scores were significantly lower in aMCI-mTLD compared to aMCI-AD (p = 0.04), while no differences were found in other emotions.

CONCLUSIONS: Impaired social cognition, suggested by defective performance in emotion recognition tasks, may be a useful cognitive marker to detect limbic-predominant aMCI subjects among the heterogeneous aMCI population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 22 2021

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