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Brain Nerve. 2012 Jul;64(7):799-813.

[Neurological disease and facial recognition].

[Article in Japanese]

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1
Department of Neurology, Showa University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

To discuss the neurological basis of facial recognition, we present our case reports of impaired recognition and a review of previous literature. First, we present a case of infarction and discuss prosopagnosia, which has had a large impact on face recognition research. From a study of patient symptoms, we assume that prosopagnosia may be caused by unilateral right occipitotemporal lesion and right cerebral dominance of facial recognition. Further, circumscribed lesion and degenerative disease may also cause progressive prosopagnosia. Apperceptive prosopagnosia is observed in patients with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), pathologically considered as Alzheimer's disease, and associative prosopagnosia in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Second, we discuss face recognition as part of communication. Patients with Parkinson disease show social cognitive impairments, such as difficulty in facial expression recognition and deficits in theory of mind as detected by the reading the mind in the eyes test. Pathological and functional imaging studies indicate that social cognitive impairment in Parkinson disease is possibly related to damages in the amygdalae and surrounding limbic system. The social cognitive deficits can be observed in the early stages of Parkinson disease, and even in the prodromal stage, for example, patients with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) show impairment in facial expression recognition. Further, patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM 1), which is a multisystem disease that mainly affects the muscles, show social cognitive impairment similar to that of Parkinson disease. Our previous study showed that facial expression recognition impairment of DM 1 patients is associated with lesion in the amygdalae and insulae. Our study results indicate that behaviors and personality traits in DM 1 patients, which are revealed by social cognitive impairment, are attributable to dysfunction of the limbic system.

PMID:
22764352
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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