A cognitive neuropsychological and psychophysiological investigation of a patient who exhibited an acute exacerbated response during innocuous somatosensory stimulation and movement
We report findings from a cognitive neuropsychological and psychophysiological investigation of a patient who displayed an exacerbated acute emotional expression during movement, innocuous, and aversive somatosensory stimulation. The condition developed in the context of non-specific white matter ischaemia along with abnormalities in the cortical white matter of the left anterior parietal lobe, and subcortical white matter of the left Sylvian cortex. Cognitive neuropsychological assessment revealed a pronounced deficiency in executive function, relative to IQ, memory, attention, language and visual processing. Compared to a normal control group, the patient [EQ] displayed a significantly elevated skin conductance level during both innocuous and aversive somatosensory stimulation. His pain tolerance was also significantly reduced. Despite this, EQ remained able to accurately describe the form of stimulation taking place, and to rate the levels of pain intensity and pain affect. These results suggest that EQ's exaggerated behavioural response and reduced pain tolerance to somatosensory stimulation may be linked to cognitive changes, possibly related to increased apprehension and fear, rather than altered pain intensity or pain affect per se.