Document Detail

Altered emotional morality in frontotemporal dementia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19499384     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
INTRODUCTION: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a disorder characterised by abnormal social behaviour and potential sociopathy, provides a window to the neurobiology of moral behaviour. This study investigated the basis of altered moral judgements in patients with FTD.
METHODS: We administered an inventory of moral knowledge, five "reasoned" moral dilemmas, and five "emotional" moral dilemmas where subjects may cause direct harm to another through their own actions, to 21 patients with FTD compared to 21 comparably mildly impaired patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 21 normal controls. Among the FTD patients, the results were compared to findings on functional neuroimaging.
RESULTS: All groups showed retention of knowledge for moral behaviour and the ability to make reasoned moral judgements. In contrast to the other groups, the FTD patients were altered in their ability to make emotional moral judgements. Among the FTD patients, the altered moral judgements corresponded to right hemisphere frontotemporal involvement.
CONCLUSIONS: In FTD patients, these findings suggest a decreased emotional responsiveness to others and a tendency to respond to moral dilemmas in a calculated fashion. Such a disturbance may result from ventromedial frontal dysfunction in FTD and supports the presence of a "morality" network in the brain, predominantly in the right hemisphere.
Mario F Mendez; Jill S Shapira
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Cognitive neuropsychiatry     Volume:  14     ISSN:  1464-0619     ISO Abbreviation:  Cogn Neuropsychiatry     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-06-05     Completed Date:  2009-08-19     Revised Date:  2014-04-08    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9713497     Medline TA:  Cogn Neuropsychiatry     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  165-79     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Alzheimer Disease / psychology,  radionuclide imaging
Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology,  radionuclide imaging
Data Interpretation, Statistical
Dementia / psychology*,  radionuclide imaging
Emotions / physiology*
Functional Laterality / physiology
Middle Aged
Neuropsychological Tests
Positron-Emission Tomography
Psychomotor Performance / physiology
Social Behavior
Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon

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