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Advanced Parkinson disease patients have impairment in prosody processing


Martins,  Mauricio
Language Research Laboratory, University of Lisbon, Portugal;
Institute for Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal;
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Albuquerque, L., Martins, M., Coelho, M., Guedes, L., Ferreira, J. J., Rosa, M., et al. (2016). Advanced Parkinson disease patients have impairment in prosody processing. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 38(2), 208-216. doi:10.1080/13803395.2015.1100279.

Background: The ability to recognize and interpret emotions in others is a crucial prerequisite of adequate social behavior. Impairments in emotion processing have been reported from the early stages of Parkinson’s disease (PD). This study aims to characterize emotion recognition in advanced Parkinson’s disease (APD) candidates for deep-brain stimulation and to compare emotion recognition abilities in visual and auditory domains. Method: APD patients, defined as those with levodopa-induced motor complications (N = 42), and healthy controls (N = 43) matched by gender, age, and educational level, undertook the Comprehensive Affect Testing System (CATS), a battery that evaluates recognition of seven basic emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, and neutral) on facial expressions and four emotions on prosody (happiness, sadness, anger, and fear). APD patients were assessed during the “ON” state. Group performance was compared with independent-samples t tests. Results: Compared to controls, APD had significantly lower scores on the discrimination and naming of emotions in prosody, and visual discrimination of neutral faces, but no significant differences in visual emotional tasks. Conclusion: The contrasting performance in emotional processing between visual and auditory stimuli suggests that APD candidates for surgery have either a selective difficulty in recognizing emotions in prosody or a general defect in prosody processing. Studies investigating early-stage PD, and the effect of subcortical lesions in prosody processing, favor the latter interpretation. Further research is needed to understand these deficits in emotional prosody recognition and their possible contribution to later behavioral or neuropsychiatric manifestations of PD.