Social cognition in cervical dystonia: A case-control study

Tom Burke, Ruth Monaghan, Derval McCormack, Clodagh Cogley, Marta Pinto-Grau, Sarah O'Connor, Bronagh Donohoe, Lisa Murphy, Sean O'Riordan, Ihedinachi Ndukwe, Michael Hutchinson, Niall Pender, Fiadhnait O'Keeffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Although considered a motor disorder, adult onset isolated focal dystonia has many non-motor symptoms. There is a paucity of neuropsychological research on cognitive processing in adult onset focal dystonia. Methods: We employed a battery of clinical and cognitive assessments, including basic and complex social cognition, and assessed 46 patients with adult-onset cervical dystonia, compared to 46 age-, sex–, education-, and premorbid IQ-matched healthy controls. Results: Significant between-group differences were observed in relation to measures of memory encoding, recall and recognition, as well as multimodal measures of basic Social Cognition (emotion recognition: face and prosody), but not complex Social Cognition (mentalising). There were no deficits observed in multimodal measures of executive function. Controlling for mood did not affect performance. Conclusion: In this multi-dimensional assessment of cognition in cervical dystonia, we report deficits in memory encoding, and in social cognition. Further investigation of social cognitive processes, memory, and sustained attention are required. Longitudinal studies are also needed to further delineate the role of psychological distress on cognitive outcomes and document the cognitive profile over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100072
JournalClinical Parkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Cognition
  • Mood disorder
  • Neuropsychology
  • Social cognition


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