Vol 46, No 4 (2012)

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Poor insight into memory impairment in patients with Huntington disease

Emilia J. Sitek12, Witold Sołtan1, Piotr Robowski12, Michał Schinwelski12, Dariusz Wieczorek3, Jarosław Sławek12
DOI: 10.5114/ninp.2012.30262
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2012;46(4):318-325.

Abstract

Background and purpose

Patients suffering from Huntington disease (HD) have been shown to present with poor self-awareness of a variety of symptoms. The study aimed to assess the self-awareness of memory impairment in HD in comparison to advanced Parkinson disease (PD), mild PD and cervical dystonia.

Material and methods

Self-awareness was tested in 23 patients with HD by comparing patient and caregiver ratings in reference to clinical control groups (25 patients with advanced PD, 21 with mild PD and 20 with cervical dystonia). Self-awareness was tested using the Self Rating Scale of Memory Functions, which was administered to both the patients and the caregivers. Neuropsychological assessment addressed general cognitive status (Mini-Mental State Examination), verbal learning (Auditory Verbal Learning Test, 15-word list) and mood (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale).

Results

Patients with HD significantly underestimated their memory dysfunction. Underestimation of memory deficit correlated with disease duration and disease severity in HD.

Conclusions

Huntington disease patients underestimate memory dysfunction. These results add to the previous reports on poor insight in HD in other domains and suggest that anosognosia in HD, albeit usually rather mild, may be a generalized phenomenon.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska