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Neuropsychologia. 2006;44(4):518-33. Epub 2005 Aug 11.

Disgust in pre-clinical Huntington's disease: a longitudinal study.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, St. Mary's College, South Street, St. Andrews, Scotland KY16 9JP, UK.


Emotion recognition from both face and voice and experience of emotions were investigated in a group of non-symptomatic people at risk of carrying the Huntington's disease gene who presented for genetic testing. Based on the results of the DNA test, a group of people carrying the Huntington's disease gene (HD+), and a group of non-carriers (HD-) were formed. Since we were especially interested in the time course of possible deficits in emotion recognition, all people at risk were reassessed 6 and 12 months after the initial assessment. Recognising facial expressions of disgust was significantly impaired on all three assessments in the HD+ group, while recognition of vocal emotions and the experience of emotions were largely unaffected, confirming that deficits in recognition of facial expressions of disgust are an early correlate of carrying the gene for Huntington's disease. The inclusion of a healthy control group (n = 37) further allowed an estimate of the genetic and environmental contribution to deficits in facial emotion recognition.

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