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Abstract Details

Beyond impairment of language: empathy deficit in logopenic variant of Primary Progressive Aphasia
Aging, Dementia, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neurology
P5 - Poster Session 5 (11:45 AM-12:45 PM)

Empathy is the ability to understand (cognitive empathy) and to feel (affective empathy) what others feel. Evidence about empathy in logopenic variant of Primary Progressive Aphasia (lv-PPA) are rare and not conclusive. 

The aim of this study is to assess possible empathy deficits and their neural basis in lv-PPA compared to amnesic AD.

We included 18 lv-PPA and 38 amnesic AD patients. Informer-rated Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) was used to explore cognitive (Perspective Taking-PT and Fantasy-F subscales) and affective (Empathic Concern-EC and Personal Distress-PD subscales) empathy, before (T0) and after (T1) cognitive symptoms’ onset. Emotion recognition was tested through Ekman-60 Faces Test. Eighteen lv-PPA and 30 amnesic AD patients underwent Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET) and amyloid biomarker analysis. SPM analysis on FDG-PET was performed in 16 lv-PPA and 26 amnesic AD patients.

From T0 to T1, PT scores decreased, and PD scores increased in both lv-PPA (PT z=-3.43, p=0.001; PD z=-3.62, p<0.001) and in amnesic AD (PT z=-4.57, p<0.001; PD z=-5.20, p<0.001). Lv-PPA performed poorer than amnesic AD in happiness recognition (7.54±2.18 vs 8.94±1.04, p=0.001). Delta-PT(T0-T1) negatively correlated with metabolic disfunction of left superior and middle frontal gyri, inferior parietal lobule and insula in lv-PPA, and of right superior temporal gyrus and middle frontal gyrus in amnesic AD (p<0.005). Delta-PD(T0-T1) positively correlated with metabolic disfunction of left insula, inferior parietal lobule and superior frontal gyrus in lv-PPA (p<0.005) and of right inferior frontal gyrus in amnesic AD (p<0.001).

Beyond language impairment, lv-PPA patients seems to present empathy changes and difficulties in emotion recognition. Lv-PPA and amnesic AD share the same empathic changes, with a damage of cognitive empathy and a heightening of person distress along time. Differences of neural correlates of empathy impairment might be due to the different vulnerability of specific brain regions in the two AD phenotypes.

Giulia Giacomucci
Ms. Giacomucci has nothing to disclose.
Cristina Polito Cristina Polito has nothing to disclose.
Valentina Berti Valentina Berti has nothing to disclose.
Sonia Padiglioni Sonia Padiglioni has nothing to disclose.
Giulia Galdo, MD Dr. Galdo has nothing to disclose.
Salvatore Mazzeo (University of Florence) Mr. Mazzeo has nothing to disclose.
Enrico Bergamin, MD Dr. Bergamin has nothing to disclose.
Valentina Moschini, Neuropsychologist (Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi) Miss Moschini has nothing to disclose.
Carmen Morinelli Miss Morinelli has nothing to disclose.
Claudia Nuti, Sr., Other (University of Florence) Miss Nuti has nothing to disclose.
Maria Teresa De Cristofaro, MD (Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi) Dr. De Cristofaro has nothing to disclose.
Silvia Bagnoli, PhD (LABORATORIO DI N UROGENETICA presso cubo3 pad27/b) Dr. Bagnoli has nothing to disclose.
Benedetta Nacmias Benedetta Nacmias has received personal compensation in the range of $500-$4,999 for serving as an Editor, Associate Editor, or Editorial Advisory Board Member for Elsevier.
Sandro Sorbi Sandro Sorbi has nothing to disclose.
Valentina Bessi Valentina Bessi has nothing to disclose.