Clinical Neuroscience

[Mentalizing deficit in neurological disorders: a review article]

HEROLD Róbert1, VARGA Eszter1, MIKE Andrea2, TÉNYI Tamás1, SIMON Mária1, HAJNAL András1, FEKETE Sándor1, ILLÉS Zsolt2,3,4

NOVEMBER 20, 2015

Clinical Neuroscience - 2015;68(11-12)


[Introduction – Mentalization is the ability to attribute mental states (intentions, desires, thoughts, emotions) to others, and hence to predict their behaviour. This ability fundamentally determines our participation in social relationships and adaptation to society. A significant proportion of the disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) affects those brain structures and neurotransmitter systems that play a role in the mentalizing processes. Accordingly, a number of CNS disorders may be associated with mentalizing deficits, which may affect the outcome of these diseases. Here, we review recent research on mentalizing abilities in neurological diseases. Methods – An internet database search was performed to identify publications on the subject. Results – Sixty-two publications in English corresponded to the search criteria. These publications reported impaired mentalization in several neurological disorders (e.g. epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, dementias, traumatic brain injury). Discussion – The results indicate that a number of neurological disorders associate with mentalizing deficit. This deficit is often present in the early stages of the diseases and has a prognostic value, which in turn emphasizes the importance of the early detection and adequate rehabilitation.]


  1. Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Pszichiátriai és Pszichoterápiás Klinika, Pécs
  2. Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Neurológiai Klinika, Pécs
  3. MTA-PTE Clinical Neuroscience MR Research Group, Pécs
  4. Department of Neurology, Institute of Clinical Research, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Earlier and more efficiently: the role of deep brain stimulation for parkinson’s disease preserving the working capabilities]

DELI Gabriella, BALÁS István, KOMOLY Sámuel, DÓCZI Tamás, JANSZKY József, ASCHERMANN Zsuzsanna, NAGY Ferenc, BOSNYÁK Edit, KOVÁCS Norbert

[Background – The recently published “EarlyStim” study demonstrated that deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) with early fluctuations is superior to the optimal pharmacological treatment in improving the quality of life and motor symptoms, and preserving sociocultural position. Our retrospective investigation aimed to evaluate if DBS therapy was able to preserve the working capabilities of our patients. Methods – We reviewed the data of 39 young (<60 years-old) PD patients who underwent subthalamic DBS implantation at University of Pécs and had at least two years follow-up. Patients were categorized into two groups based on their working capabilities: Patients with active job (“Job+” group, n=15) and retired patients (without active job, “Job-” group, n=24). Severity of motor symptoms (UPDRS part 3), quality of life (EQ-5D) and presence of active job were evaluated one and two years after the operation. Results – As far as the severity of motor symptoms were concerned, similar (approximately 50%) improvement was achieved in both groups. However, the postoperative quality of life was significantly better in the Job+ group. Majority (12/15, 80%) of Job+ group members were able to preserve their job two years after the operation. However, only a minimal portion (1/24, 4.2%) of the Job- group members was able to return to the world of active employees (p<0.01, McNemar test). Conclusion – Although our retrospective study has several limitations, our results fit well with the conclusions of “EarlyStim” study. Both of them suggest that with optimal timing of DBS implantation we may preserve the working capabilities of our patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Sleep disordered breathing and epilepsy: relationships and therapeutic considerations]

FALUDI Béla, BÓNÉ Beáta, KOMOLY Sámuel, JANSZKY József

[The importance of the sleep related breathing disorders (obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, central sleep apnea, and Cheyne-Stokes breathing) in the pathophysiology crebro- and cardiovascular disorders is well known. The relationship of sleep related breathing abnormalities and epilepsy is also important but underestimated in the daily practice. The relation is bidirectional. The breathing abnormalities in sleep may play important role in generating epileptic seizure, but the adverse effect of seizure and antiepileptic therapy (generation of apneas and hypopneas) may worsen the seizure control. The effect of new therapies (vagal nerve and deep brain stimulation) on the sleep architecture and sleep disordered breathing must be examined and discussed. Here we present a brief case of epileptic patient with deep brain stimulation therapy on sleep as well. The examination of the sleep related breathing abnormalities in epilepsy patient may help improve the effectiveness of antiepileptic therapy.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Novel strategy in the radiotherapy of metastatic brain tumors: simultaneous whole brain radiotherapy and integrated stereotactic radiosurgery]


[Background and purpose – Treatment of central nervous system (CNS) tumors has always played an important role in development of radiotherapy techniques. Precise patient immobilisation, non-coplanar field arrangement, conformal treatment, arc therapy, radiosurgery, application of image fusion to radiation planning or re-irradiation were first introduced into clinical routine in the treatment of brain tumors. Methods – A modern multifunctional radiation instrument, Novalis TX has been installed at the University of Pécs two years ago. New methods, such as real time 3D image guided therapy, dynamic arc therapy and ultra-conformity offer further progress in treatment of CNS tumors. Whole brain irradiation and simultaneous fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery or integrated boost seem to be an optimal method in the treatment of not only soliter or oligo, but even a higher number (4-9) and not typically radiosensitive brain metastases. The new treatment strategy is illustrated by presentation of four case histories. Results – Treatment protocol was completed in all cases. Treatment period of 1.5 to 3 weeks, and treatment time of only a few minutes were not stressful for the patients. A quite remarkable clinical improvement as to general condition of the patients was experienced in three cases. Follow-up images confirmed either remission or a stable disease. Conclusions – Simultaneous whole brain radiotherapy and integrated stereotactic radiosurgery is a reproducible, safe method that offers an effective irradiation with delivery of definitive dosage even in cases with radio-insensitive brain metastasis.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Health insurance aspects of physiotherapeutic care of neurology disorders in outpatient care]

MOLICS Bálint, BONCZ Imre, LEIDECKER Eleonóra, HORVÁTH Cs. Zoltán, SEBESTYÉN Andor, KRÁNIZC János, KOMOLY Sámuel, DÓCZI Tamás, OLÁH András

[Background and purpose – The aim of our study is to analyse the ambulatory rehabilitation care of patients with neurological disorders in the field of physiotherapy. Methods – Data derive from the database of the Hungarian National Health Insurance Fund Administration (year 2009). The analyses covered patients with diagnosis „G00–G99 Diseases of the nervous system” according to the International Classification of Diseases and underwent physiotherapy treatment. Results – In 2009 altogether 190986 patients with neurological disorders received physiotherapy treatment in outpatient care, representing 1331675 cases and got 388.215 million Hungarian Forint health insurance reimbursement. The number of patients with nerve, nerve root and plexus disorders was 39 patients/10 000 population for males and 66 patients/10000 population for females. The number of patients with cerebral palsy and other paralytic syndromes was 49 patients/10000 population for males and 35 patients/10000 population for females. The number of patients with episodic and paroxysmal disorders was 33 patients/10000 population for males and 52 patients/10000 population for females. Conclusion – In the outpatient physiotherapy care the utilization indicators of females were higher in nerve, nerve root and plexus disorders and episodic and paroxysmal disorders, while in cerebral palsy and other paralytic syndromes the utilization of male was higher. There are important age and gender inequalities in the utilization of physiotherapy care of patients with neurological disorders.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Attachment as a predictor of risk for eating disorders on a representative hungarian adult sample]

SZALAI Dömötör Tamás, CZEGLÉDI Edit

[Background and purpose – Many studies confirm the relationship between attachment disturbances and (the severity of) eating disorders, however among them only one Hungarian study can be found. The exact predisposing traits of attachment and the strength of relationship is still uncleared. Our aim was to explore these aspects. Methods – Study was based on a cross-sectional nationally representative survey, called „Hungarostudy 2013” (N=2000, 46.9% males, mean age 46.9 years, SD=18.24 years). Measures: Sociodemographic and self-reported anthropometric data (weight and height), short Hungarian version of Relationship Scale Questionnaire, SCOFF questionnaire and short Hungarian version of Beck Depression Inventory. Results – The frequency of risk for eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia nervosa) was 3.9% (N=76) among the respondents (N=1860). Attachment anxiety was significantly higher in the risk for eating disorders group (t(1888)=-3.939, p<0.001), and significantly predicted the risk for eating disorders after adjusting for the potential background variables (OR=1.09, p=0.040). Detachment was not a significant predictor of risk for eating disorders (OR=0.98, p=0.515). Younger age (OR=0.97, p<0.001), higher level of depression (OR=1.09, p<0.001) and higher body mass index (OR=1.08, p<0.001) were also significant cross-sectional predictors of risk for eating disorders. The explained variance of the model was 10.7%. Conclusion – The study supported, that higher attachment anxiety is associated with the increased risk of eating disorders, with a possible therapeutic relevance. Assessment of attachment’s further aspects and creating multivariable models are required for more thorough understanding and optimising of intervention points.]

All articles in the issue

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Clinical Neuroscience

Neuroscience highlights: The mirror inside our brain

KRABÓTH Zoltán, KÁLMÁN Bernadette

Over the second half of the 19th century, numerous theories arose concerning mechanisms involved in understanding of action, imitative learning, language development and theory of mind. These explorations gained new momentum with the discovery of the so called “mirror neurons”. Rizzolatti’s work inspired large groups of scientists seeking explanation in a new and hitherto unexplored area of how we perceive and understand the actions and intentions of others, how we learn through imitation to help our own survival, and what mechanisms have helped us to develop a unique human trait, language. Numerous studies have addressed these questions over the years, gathering information about mirror neurons themselves, their subtypes, the different brain areas involved in the mirror neuron system, their role in the above mentioned mechanisms, and the varying consequences of their dysfunction in human life. In this short review, we summarize the most important theories and discoveries that argue for the existence of the mirror neuron system, and its essential function in normal human life or some pathological conditions.

Clinical Neuroscience

Matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis: Possible markers and treatment agents


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are synthesized by many cell groups and responsible for the destruction of matrix proteins, and endogen tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) have a role in the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by affecting the blood-brain barrier. We aimed to investigate the role of MMPs and TIMPs in the immunopathogenesis and in the course of multiple sclerosis (MS). We enrolled 25 relapsing remitting MS patients, who had a definite MS diagnosis according to McDonald criteria and 25 healthy subjects similar for age and gender as control group. MMP-9- and TIMP-1 levels were measured twice in patient group (one time during an attack and one in remission) and once in healthy subjects. MMP-9- and TIMP-levels of patients during attack and remission period and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratio were found significantly higher than in the control subjects. In patient group MMP-9 and TIMP-1 levels and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratio during attacks were not significantly different than during remission period. However, when subdivided according to their number of attacks, patients with 2 attacks had significantly higher levels during attack period comparing to remission period (p<0.05); in case of patients with more than 2 attacks did not have a statistically significant difference in attack and remission periods. Matrix metalloproteinases are important actors in MS immunopathogenesis, particularly in the early period and inhibitor agents for these enzymes can be used as a treatment option.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Health status and costs of ambulatory patients with multiple sclerosis in Hungary]

PÉNTEK Márta, GULÁCSI László, RÓZSA Csilla, SIMÓ Magdolna, ILJICSOV Anna, KOMOLY Sámuel, BRODSZKY Valentin

[Background and purpose - Data on disease burden of multiple sclerosis from Eastern-Central Europe are very limited. Our aim was to explore the quality of life, resource utilisation and costs of ambulating patients with multiple sclerosis in Hungary. Methods - Cross-sectional questionnaire survey was performed in two outpatient neurology centres in 2009. Clinical history, health care utilisation in the past 12 months were surveyed, the Expanded Disability Status Scale and the EQ-5D questionnaires were applied. Cost calculation was conducted from the societal perspective. Results - Sixty-eight patients (female 70.6%) aged 38.0 (SD 9.1) with disease duration of 7.8 (SD 6.7) years were involved. Fifty-five (80.9%) had relapsing-remitting form and 52 (76.5%) were taking immunomodulatory drug. The average scores were: Expanded Disability Status Scale 1.9 (SD 1.7), EQ-5D 0.67 (SD 0.28). Mean total cost amounted to 10 902 Euros/patient/year (direct medical 67%, direct nonmedical 13%, indirect costs 20%). Drugs, disability pension and informal care were the highest cost items. Costs of mild (Expanded Disability Status Scale 0-3.5) and moderate (Expanded Disability Status Scale 4.0-6.5) disease were 9 218 and 17 634 Euros/patient/year respectively (p<0.01), that is lower than results from Western European countries. Conclusion - Our study provides current inputs for policy making and contributes to understanding variation of costof- illness of multiple sclerosis in Europe.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Family planning in multiple sclerosis: conception, pregnancy, breastfeeding]

RÓZSA Csilla

[Family planning is an exceptionally important question in multiple sclerosis, as women of childbearing age are the ones most often affected. Although it is proven that pregnancy does not worsen the long-term prognosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, many patients are still doubtful about having children. This question is further complicated by the fact that patients – and often even doctors – are not sufficiently informed about how the ever-increasing number of available disease-modifying treatments affect pregnancies. Breastfeeding is an even less clear topic. Patients usually look to their neurologists first for answers concerning these matters. It falls to the neurologist to rationally evaluate the risks and benefits of contraception, pregnancy, assisted reproduction, childbirth, breastfeeding and disease modifying treatments, to inform patients about these, and then together come to a decision about the best possible therapeutic approach, taking the patients’ individual family plans into consideration. Here we present a review of relevant literature adhering to international guidelines on the topics of conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding, with a special focus on the applicability of approved disease modifying treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The goal of this article is to provide clinicians involved in the care of MS patients with up-to-date information that they can utilize in their day-to-day clinical practice. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

Retinal morphological changes during the two years of follow-up in Parkinson’s disease

ATUM Mahmut, DEMIRYÜREK Enes Bekir

The study aims to investigate the relationship between the progression of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD) and retinal morphology. The study was carried out with 23 patients diagnosed with early-stage IPD (phases 1 and 2 of the Hoehn and Yahr scale) and 30 age-matched healthy controls. All patients were followed up at least two years, with 6-month intervals (initial, 6th month, 12th month, 18th month, and 24th month), and detailed neurological and ophthalmic examinations were performed at each follow-up. Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part III (UPDRS Part III) scores, Hoehn and Yahr (H&Y) scores, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement, central macular thickness (CMT) and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness were analyzed at each visit. The average age of the IPD and control groups was 43.96 ± 4.88 years, 44.53 ± 0.83 years, respectively. The mean duration of the disease in the IPD group was 7.48 ± 5.10 months at the start of the study (range 0-16). There was no statistically significant difference in BCVA and IOP values between the two groups during the two-year follow-up period (p> 0.05, p> 0.05, respectively). Average and superior quadrant RNFL thicknesses were statistically different between the two groups at 24 months and there was no significant difference between other visits (p=0.025, p=0.034, p> 0.05, respectively). There was no statistically significant difference in CMT between the two groups during the follow-up period (p> 0.05). Average and superior quadrant RNFL thicknesses were significantly thinning with the progression of IPD.