Anosognosia in patients with cerebrovascular lesions. A study of causative factors.
Psychological and biological hypotheses have been proposed to explain anosognosia. We correlated the presence of anosognosia with the presence and severity of psychiatric disturbances, neglect, intellectual impairments, and computed tomographic evidence of lesion size, location, and measurements of brain atrophy.
A series of 80 patients with acute stroke were assessed using a battery of psychiatric and neuropsychological tests and computed tomography.
There were five main findings. First, 27 (28%) of the 96 patients originally screened showed anosognosia. Second, patients with anosognosia had significantly higher frequencies of hemispatial neglect and related phenomena, as well as deficits in recognizing facial emotions and in receptive prosody. Third, depression was equally frequent among patients with and without anosognosia. Fourth, patients with anosognosia had a significantly higher frequency of right hemisphere lesions, primarily involving the temporoparietal junction, thalamus, and basal ganglia. Fifth, patients with anosognosia showed significantly more subcortical brain atrophy, primarily involving the frontal white matter and diencephalic areas.
The present study demonstrates that anosognosia does not "protect" stroke patients from depressive feelings; rather, it represents arousal-attentional disorders after lesions in specific areas of the right hemisphere in nonaphasic patients with preexisting subcortical atrophy.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association