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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 22, Issue 1-2, Pages 17-23

Rose-Colored Answers: Neuropsychological Deficits and Patient-Reported Outcomes after Stroke

Anna M. Barrett

Director, Stroke Rehabilitation Research, Kessler Foundation Research Center, Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation/ Neurology and Neurosciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry, NJ Medical School, NJ, USA

Received 31 May 2010; Accepted 31 May 2010

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patient-reported, subjective outcomes are promoted as a standard for ethical, valid studies in many neurological disorders. Such outcomes are considered potentially more sensitive and specific to important therapeutic effects, and may be more linked to disability and disease-related life losses than conventional assessments of impairment (e.g. ability to walk, performance on language tests, serological or radiological indices). Self-report is invaluable to identify social and emotional consequences of brain injury: depression, changes in intimate and family relationships, social role and community participation losses. However, common stroke-related neuropsychological deficits are likely to confound subjective stroke outcome measures. The scientific community focused on stroke-related health outcomes may arrive at significantly underestimated patient reports of stroke-related disability, caused by a failure to adjust for the effect on self-report of spatial neglect, deficits of magnitude estimation, pathologic alteration of self-awareness, and alteration in distributed cortical systems supporting emotional semantics and abstraction.