Hôpital neurologique Pierre Wertheimer, Bron-Lyon, Université de Savoie, Chambéry, Service de psychiatrie, Centre hospitalier Le Vinatier, Bron, Institut fédératif des neurosciences, Lyon, Inserm U534, Bron, Inserm U280, Centre hospitalier Le Vinatier, Bron
Introduction: some behavioral disturbances observed in Parkinson’s disease (PD) could be related to impaired recognition of various social messages particularly emotional facial expressions. Method: facial expression recognition was assessed using morphed faces (five emotions: happiness, fear, anger, disgust, neutral), and compared to gender recognition and general cognitive assessment in 12 patients with Parkinson’s disease and 14 controls subjects. Results: facial expression recognition was impaired among patients, whereas gender recognitions, visuo-perceptive capacities and total efficiency were preserved. Post hoc analyses disclosed a deficit for fear and disgust recognition compared to control subjects. Conclusion: the impairment of emotional facial expression recognition in PD appears independent of other cognitive deficits. This impairment may be related to the dopaminergic depletion in basal ganglia and limbic brain regions. They could take a part in psycho-behavioral disorders and particularly in communication disorders observed in Parkinson’s disease patients.