Perception of affective prosody in patients at an early stage of relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis

Authors

  • Markus Kraemer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, LVR Clinics Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
    • Department of Neurology, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Hospital, Essen, Germany
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    • Both authors contributed equally.
  • Michele Herold,

    1. Department of Neurology, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Hospital, Essen, Germany
    2. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, LVR Clinics Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
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    • Both authors contributed equally.
  • Jennifer Uekermann,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, LVR Clinics Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
    2. Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany
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  • Bernhard Kis,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, LVR Clinics Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • Irene Daum,

    1. Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany
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  • Jens Wiltfang,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, LVR Clinics Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • Peter Berlit,

    1. Department of Neurology, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Hospital, Essen, Germany
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  • Rolf R. Diehl,

    1. Department of Neurology, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Hospital, Essen, Germany
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  • Mona Abdel-Hamid

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, LVR Clinics Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
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Correspondence should be addressed to Markus Kraemer, Department of Neurology, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Hospital, Alfried-Krupp-Strasse 21, 45117 Essen, Germany (e-mail: markus.kraemer1977@gmx.de).

Abstract

Cognitive dysfunction is well known in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) and has been described for many years. Cognitive impairment, memory, and attention deficits seem to be features of advanced MS stages, whereas depression and emotional instability already occur in early stages of the disease. However, little is known about processing of affective prosody in patients in early stages of relapsing–remitting MS (RRMS). In this study, tests assessing attention, memory, and processing of affective prosody were administered to 25 adult patients with a diagnosis of RRMS at an early stage and to 25 healthy controls (HC). Early stages of the disease were defined as being diagnosed with RRMS in the last 2 years and having an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) of 2 or lower. Patients and HC were comparable in intelligence quotient (IQ), educational level, age, handedness, and gender. Patients with early stages of RRMS performed below the control group with respect to the subtests ‘discrimination of affective prosody’ and ‘matching of affective prosody to facial expression’ for the emotion ‘angry’ of the ‘Tübingen Affect Battery’. These deficits were not related to executive performance. Our findings suggest that emotional prosody comprehension is deficient in young patients with early stages of RRMS. Deficits in discriminating affective prosody early in the disease may make misunderstandings and poor communication more likely. This might negatively influence interpersonal relationships and quality of life in patients with RRMS.

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