Social cognition disorders after stroke are poorly described. Yet, rehabilitation difficulties are frequent after stroke. This study aimed to evaluate the frequency of social cognition disorders 3 years after a first-ever stroke and to assess the factors associated with this condition. The second aim was to describe all the cognitive domains altered in the same population.
Patients who suffered from a first-ever ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke underwent clinical and neuropsychological assessment, which included the mini-Social cognition and Emotional Assessment (SEA) for evaluating social cognition.
The 43 included patients were 67±15 years old, with a median Neurological Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) (± interquartile range) at 0±1, and a median modified Rankin Scale (± interquartile range) at 1±1. Twenty patients (46.5%) had poor results in the facial emotions subtest; this factor was associated with a low educational grade (P=0.001). Fourteen patients (34.2%) had poor results on the “faux-pas” recognition subtest; this factor was associated with nonverbal episodic memory disorders (P=0.01). Thirty four patients (79.1%) had cognitive impairment, with at least 1 cognitive domain affected.
The study demonstrates the high frequency of social cognition impairment 3 years after the first-ever stroke in young patients. Doctors and nurses should be sensitized to cognitive handicap after stroke because of difficulties for rehabilitation and returning to work.