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February 1994

Mood Changes After Surgery for Tumors of the Cerebral Cortex

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Göttingen (Germany) (Dr Irle); Department of Psychology, University of Freiburg (Germany) (Dr Peper); and Department of Neurosurgery, University of Heidelberg (Germany) (Drs Wowra and Kunze).

Arch Neurol. 1994;51(2):164-174. doi:10.1001/archneur.1994.00540140070017

Objective:  To identify cortical lesion sites associated with particular mood states.

Design:  A prospective study of patients with tumors affecting the cerebral cortex. The patients were examined neuropsychologically 1 to 5 days preoperatively and 2 to 10 days, several months, and several years postoperatively. Only data from the preoperative and the first postoperative examination were considered in this report.

Setting:  Neurosurgical department of the University of Heidelberg (Germany).

Patients and Subjects:  A consecutive sample of 141 patients with brain tumors (84 female and 57 male) with cortical lesions caused by microsurgical tumor resection; 29 clinical control patients (having undergone surgery for slipped disks); and 18 normal control subjects.

Main Outcome Measure:  Preoperative and postoperative mood state as measured with an adjective checklist.

Results:  (1) Patients with lesions of the ventral frontal cortex or lesions of the temporoparietal cortex reported postoperatively significantly (P<.01) worse mood states (anxiety/depression, irritability/anger, fatigue) than did patients in the other lesion and control groups. (2) A more detailed lesion analysis revealed that lesions of heteromodal frontal or parietal association cortexes, combined with paralimbic lesions, were responsible for the negative mood states. Lesions of the sensorimotor cortexes ameliorated the negative effects of heteromodal and paralimbic lesions. (3) Lesion laterality did not influence the mood states.

Conclusions:  Heteromodal cortexes may be especially concerned with emotionally relevant operations. A loss of these functions deprives limbic structures of one of their main sources of input and is therefore likely also to produce changes in feelings, that is, emotional states.

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