Dec 09
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Establishing the Diagnosis of Minimal Hepatic Encephalopathy: Neuropsychological Screening in Cirrhosis

Mary Canellopoulou
Associate Professor of Psychology

School of Liberal Arts and Science

When: Monday, February 1, 15:00 – 15:50

Where: Deree Faculty Lounge

Organized by: Faculty Research Seminars 2015-16 Series

 


Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) is a highly prevalent neuropsychiatric syndrome, characterized by a plethora of cognitive deficits within the spectrum of neurocognitive impairment in Cirrhosis (SO-NIC). In the absence of recognizable clinical symptoms or widely accepted consensus for diagnosis, neuropsychometric measures, especially those suitable for sequential use, would constitute an early diagnostic indicator of subclinical forms of encephalopathy. In the present study, a group of cirrhotic outpatients in Greece (n=68, mean age: 53.9) were compared to a group of healthy controls (n=62, mean age: 52.7), matched for age, sex, education and premorbid intellectual functioning, on a battery of both paper-pencil and computerized neuropsychological tests. Cirrhotic patients demonstrated marked impairment in domains such as attention, short-term memory, executive function, psychomotor abilities and speed of information processing (P<0.05). Cognitive deficits also covaried with the severity of encephalopathy documented by neurophysiological tests (r=0.602, P=0.012) and liver function as indicated by fibrosis (r=0.741, P=0.028). Such findings are consistent with existing literature utilizing a variety of measures and indicate that the observed pattern of impairment is not specific to cirrhosis but suggestive of other organic brain syndromes with frontal-subcortical circuits involvement.

Mary Canellopoulou 

Mary Canellopoulou is a clinical, cognitive neuropsychologist and a graduate of the Department of Psychology and the Neurosciences at Brunel University, London. She has received clinical training in neuropsychological screening at the Centre of health, Sickness and Disablement, Middlesex and at St. Thomas hospital in London.

Since 1997, she has been senior research fellow at Athens Euroclinic, Department of Neurology, conducting research in memory pathology in patients with organic brain syndromes.

She has presented her work in Hellenic, European and international congresses and her scientific findings have been published in a range of journals such as “Neuropsychologia” and “Annals of General Psychiatry”.