eISSN: 2084-9885
ISSN: 1896-6764
Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia/Neuropsychiatry and Neuropsychology
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vol. 5

Original article
Emotion recognition deficits in adolescent patients with anorexia nervosa

Monika Dmitrzak-Węglarz
Jan Jaracz
Agnieszka Słopień
Małgorzata Maciukiewicz
Andrzej Rajewski

Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 2010; 5, 2: 71–78
Online publish date: 2010/11/22
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Background: Previous investigations have found disturbances of cognitive function and impaired facial recognition in anorectic patients. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy in emotion recognition tasks, and to determine whether emotion processing deficits were correlated with neurocognitive performance and intensity of depressive symptoms in anorexia nervosa (AN) patients.
Material and methods: A group of 55 patients with diagnoses of anorexia nervosa and 58 healthy controls were studied. Mean age in the studied groups was 15.29 in pa­tients and 15.63 in controls. A Computerized Neuropsychological Test Battery was used to estimate: emotion recognition (ER40), emotion discrimination (EDF40), and emotion recognition and discrimination (PEAT40). Executive functions were measured by the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Intensity of depressive symptoms was measured by the Beck Depression Inventory. Also, the body mass index (BMI) was calculated.
Results: Patients with AN needed more time to give the correct answer of happy (p = 0.018) and sad (p = 0.029) emotions in the EDF40 test and sad emotions (p = 0.026) in the PEAT40 test. In comparison of patients with bulimic (ANB) vs. restricting type of illness (ANR), ANR patients needed a shorter time to give answers during incorrect classification of fear emotions in the ER40 test. We did not find any significant differences in results obtained in WCST between patients and controls. We also did not find a significant correlation between WCST, intensity of depressive symptoms and performance in all domains in facial recognition tasks.
Conclusions: The obtained results suggest discrete impairment of emotion recognition in adolescent patients with AN. The study did not reveal a correlation between emotion recognition, cognitive deficits and intensity of depressive symptoms.

anorexia nervosa, endophenotype, facial recognition, cognitive function

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