There is increasing interest in the nature of the emotion recognition deficit in Huntington's disease (HD). Recognition of all negative emotions tends to be impaired in HD, particularly in the facial domain. This study aims to evaluate brain's reactivity to emotional pictures by recording event-related potentials and assessing their relationship to evaluative measures of affect in a cohort of 20 early HD patients, compared to 24 age and sex matched controls. Fourty-two colour slides were chosen from the International Affective Picture System. Each subject was requested to attribute a valence and an arousal rating. (Centre for the Study of Emotion and Attention, 1995). We placed 19 scalp electrodes, for the recording of slow late positive potential (LPP) in the 400–800 ms following pictures presentation. In HD patients the valence and arousal rating were within normal ranges for pleasant, neutral and unpleasant pictures. The amplitude of LPP was slightly reduced during unpleasant pictures viewing. We found a positive correlation between LPP amplitude and functionality scales. In the early phase of HD, the selective processing of emotional stimuli seemed not to be seriously impaired, and may indicate a preservation of high cortical functions in the initial stages of the disease.
- Early HD
- affective pictures
- late positive potential
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