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Span J Psychol. 2013;16:E52. doi: 10.1017/sjp.2013.59.

Facial affect recognition in myasthenia gravis.

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Universidad de Deusto (Spain).


The assessment of facial expression is an important aspect of a clinical neurological examination, both as an indicator of a mood disorder and as a sign of neurological damage. To date, although studies have been conducted on certain psychosocial aspects of myasthenia, such as quality of life and anxiety, and on neuropsychological aspects such as memory, no studies have directly assessed facial emotion recognition accuracy. The aim of this study was to assess the facial emotion recognition accuracy (fear, surprise, sadness, happiness, anger, and disgust), empathy, and reaction time of patients with myasthenia. Thirty-five patients with myasthenia and 36 healthy controls were tested for their ability to differentiate emotional facial expressions. Participants were matched with respect to age, gender, and education level. Their ability to differentiate emotional facial expressions was evaluated using the computer-based program Feel Test. The data showed that myasthenic patients scored significantly lower (p < 0.05) than healthy controls in the total Feel score, fear, surprise, and higher reaction time. The findings suggest that the ability to recognize facial affect may be reduced in individuals with myasthenia.

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