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Neuroimage. 2010 Feb 15;49(4):3358-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.11.041. Epub 2009 Dec 1.

Neuroanatomical correlates of cognitive self-appraisal in neurodegenerative disease.

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Department of Neurology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Self-appraisal is a critical cognitive function, which helps us to choose tasks based on an accurate assessment of our abilities. The neural mechanisms of self-appraisal are incompletely understood, although a growing body of literature suggests that several frontal and subcortical regions are important for self-related processing. Anosognosia, or lack of awareness of one's deficits, is common in neurodegenerative dementias, offering an important window onto the brain systems involved in self-appraisal. We examined the neuroanatomical basis of self-appraisal in a mixed group of 39 individuals, including 35 with cognitive impairment due to one of several probable neurodegenerative diseases, using voxel-based morphometry and an objective, neuropsychologically-based measure of self-appraisal accuracy. Self-appraisal accuracy was correlated with tissue content in the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). We hypothesize that emotional/physiological processing carried out by vmPFC is an important factor mediating self-appraisal accuracy in dementia.

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