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Implicit Sensitivity to Disgust-inducing Stimuli in Self-neglect FTD Patients

Bedoin, Nathalie PhD*; Thomas-Antérion, Catherine MD; Dorey, Jean-Michel MD; Lebert, Florence MD§

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology: December 2009 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - p 236-241
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e3181b7f26a
Original Studies

Background Among behavioral and socioemotional changes occurring before cognitive decline at the early stages of frontotemporal dementia, the patients often manifest with self-neglect and some criteria of Diogene syndrome. Despite the lack of accurate behavior regarding disgust, are they still sensitive to the emotional content of disgust-inducing words or scenes?

Methods Eleven patients with frontotemporal dementia, 11 healthy controls, and 34 young adults performed a lexical decision task, where some of the words conveyed an emotional content and a number comparison task while they were presented with emotion-inducing pictures. They were not instructed to identify the emotional content of the words and pictures.

Results Contrary to the healthy controls paired for age, the patients provided delayed responses for disgust-inducing words in the lexical decision task and in presence of disgust-inducing pictures in the number comparison task.

Conclusions Although they manifest with self-neglect and inaccurate behavior regarding dirt, the patients were still sensitive to disgust, provided that this sensitivity was tested implicitly, suggesting that they above all suffer from inabilities in matching the appropriate social behavior with such emotions.

*Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage, Université de Lyon-CNRS

Unité de Neuropsychologie-CM2R

Service NPG (Neuro-Psycho-Gériatrie), CHU de St Etienne

§CM2R CHU de Lille, Centre de Bailleul, Lille, France

Reprints: Nathalie Bedoin, PhD, Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage, Institut des Sciences de l'Homme, 14 avenue Berthelot, 69363 Lyon Cedex 07, France (e-mail:

Received for publication July 17, 2008;

accepted July 4, 2008

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.