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Conscious Cogn. 2011 Dec;20(4):1690-6. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Loss of emotional insight in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia or "frontal anosodiaphoria".

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  • 1Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, The University of California at Los Angeles, USA.


Loss of insight is a prominent clinical manifestation of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), but its characteristics are poorly understood. Twelve bvFTD patients were compared with 12 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients on a structured insight interview of cognitive insight (awareness of having a disorder) and emotional insight (concern over having a disorder). Compared to the AD patients, the bvFTD patients were less aware and less concerned about their disorder, and they had less appreciation of its effects on themselves and on others. After corrective feedback ("updating"), the bvFTD patients were just as aware of their disorder as the AD patients but remained unconcerned and unappreciative of its effects. These findings suggest that lack of insight in bvFTD is not due to "anosognosia," or impaired cognitive and executive awareness of disease, but to "frontal anosodiaphoria," or lack of emotional concern over having bvFTD and its impact on themselves and others.

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