Cognitive deficits in chronic stroke patients: neuropsychological assessment, depression, and self-reports
Background: Following stroke, clinicians are challenged to detect and untangle symptoms of cognitive dysfunction and mood disorders. Additionally, they need to evaluate the informative value of self-reports to identify patients in need of further attendance. Aims: To examine the association between neuropsychological measures, symptoms of depression, and self-reported cognitive function. Methods: One-hundred and five chronic stroke patients underwent assessment covering 6 cognitive domains and answered the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Memory and Thinking Scale from the Stroke Impact Scale 1 year after stroke. Age and gender difference in cognitive impairment were examined; linear regression was used to predict depression scores. Sensitivity and specificity analyses were used to validate self-reported functioning against performance on cognitive tests. Results: Cognitive impairment was observed in 60% of the patients in at least 1 cognitive domain. Cognitive performance was associated with symptoms of depression as well as with self-reported cognitive function. The final analyses revealed low sensitivity and specificity for the Memory and Thinking subscale from the Stroke Impact Scale. Conclusion: Cognitive impairment occurs frequently even in patients in a chronic phase after stroke and predicts symptoms of depression. Using the Stroke Impact Scale, clinicians should be aware of low sensitivity of self-reported cognitive function.
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