Luigi Trojano

Professor of Neuropsychology

Name Luigi
Surname Trojano
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Address Department of Psychology, University of Campania 'Luigi Vanvitelli', Viale Ellittico 31, 81100 Caserta, Italy


  • Persistent left unilateral mirror writing: A neuropsychological case study.

    Publication Date: 01/09/2010 on Brain and language
    by Angelillo VG, De Lucia N, Trojano L, Grossi D
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bandl.2010.04.003

    Mirror writing (MW) is a rare disorder in which a script runs in direction opposite to normal and individual letters are reversed. The disorder generally occurs after left-hemisphere lesions, is transient and is observed on the left hand, whereas usually motor impairments prevent assessment of direction of right handwriting. We describe a left-handed patient with complete left hand mirror writing, still evident 2 years after a hemorrhagic stroke in left nucleo-capsular region. Since the patient could write with his right hand he underwent several writing tasks with either hand, and a thorough assessment to clarify the nature of MW. MW was evident in writing to dictation with left hand only, both in right and left hemispace, but the patient could modify his behavior when a verbal instruction was provided. No mirror errors were found in reading words, in copying geometric figures and in spatial orientation tasks. MW in our patient could be accounted for by a failure in automatic transformation of grapho-motor programs to write with the left hand. A lack of concern (a sort of anosodiaphoria) and a poor cognitive flexibility could contribute to long-term persistence of MW.

  • Recognition and mental manipulation of body parts dissociate in locked-in syndrome.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2010 on Brain and cognition
    by Conson M, Pistoia F, Sarà M, Grossi D, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2010.05.001

    Several lines of evidence demonstrate that the motor system is involved in motor simulation of actions, but some uncertainty exists about the consequences of lesions of descending motor pathways on mental imagery tasks. Moreover, recent findings suggest that the motor system could also have a role in recognition of body parts. To address these issues in the present study we assessed patients with a complete damage of descending motor pathways (locked-in syndrome, LIS) on the hand laterality task, requiring subjects to decide whether a hand stimulus in a given spatial orientation represents a left or a right hand. LIS patients were less accurate than healthy controls in judging hand laterality; more importantly, LIS patients' performance was modulated by spatial orientation of hand stimuli whereas it was not affected by biomechanical constraints. These findings demonstrate a dissociation between spared hand recognition and impaired access to action simulation processes in LIS patients.

  • Late recovery after traumatic, anoxic, or hemorrhagic long-lasting vegetative state.

    Publication Date: 20/07/2010 on Neurology
    by Estraneo A, Moretta P, Loreto V, Lanzillo B, Santoro L, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181e8e8cc

    Late recovery of awareness in vegetative state (VS) is considered as an exceptional outcome, and has been reported prevalently after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The present prospective study aimed to verify frequency of late recovery (later than 1 year postonset in TBI and 3 months postonset in patients without TBI) of responsiveness and consciousness in traumatic and nontraumatic long-lasting (more than 6 months after onset) VS.

  • Impaired conscious recognition of negative facial expressions in patients with locked-in syndrome.

    Publication Date: 09/06/2010 on The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
    by Pistoia F, Conson M, Trojano L, Grossi D, Ponari M, Colonnese C, Pistoia ML, Carducci F, Sarà M
    DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6300-09.2010

    The involvement of facial mimicry in different aspects of human emotional processing is widely debated. However, little is known about relationships between voluntary activation of facial musculature and conscious recognition of facial expressions. To address this issue, we assessed severely motor-disabled patients with complete paralysis of voluntary facial movements due to lesions of the ventral pons [locked-in syndrome (LIS)]. Patients were required to recognize others' facial expressions and to rate their own emotional responses to presentation of affective scenes. LIS patients were selectively impaired in recognition of negative facial expressions, thus demonstrating that the voluntary activation of mimicry represents a high-level simulation mechanism crucially involved in explicit attribution of emotions.

  • Neuropsychologic assessment and cognitive rehabilitation in a patient with locked-in syndrome and left neglect.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2010 on Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
    by Trojano L, Moretta P, Estraneo A, Santoro L
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2009.10.033

    We describe a patient affected by severe incomplete locked-in syndrome (LIS) and left neglect caused by a combination of vascular lesions. Our patient's neglect prevented the use of augmentative communication devices based on a computerized eye-tracker system. For this reason, we adapted a visual scanning training for neglect rehabilitation. At the end of the rehabilitative training, the patient had regained full exploration of the monitor and could use the eye-tracker system for communicative purposes. This case report shows that specific rehabilitative approaches can be devised in severely disabled LIS patients with additional brain lesions and specific cognitive defects.

  • Differential neuropsychological profiles in Parkinsonian patients with or without vascular lesions.

    Publication Date: 15/01/2010 on Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society
    by Santangelo G, Vitale C, Trojano L, De Gaspari D, Bilo L, Antonini A, Barone P
    DOI: 10.1002/mds.22893

    The purpose of this study is to compare the neuropsychological profile of patients affected by parkinsonism and vascular lesions to that in patients with PD alone (PD) and to evaluate whether the brain vascular lesion load is associated with neuropsychological variables. Thirty-six nondemented patients with parkinsonism were divided into 3 groups of 12 patients each, according to both clinical history and the presence of brain vascular lesions and/or dopaminergic denervation as revealed by magnetic resonance and dopamine transporter imaging, respectively. The first group had vascular lesions without dopaminergic denervation (VP group); the second group had vascular lesions and dopaminergic denervation (DD) (VP+DD group); and the third group consisted of patients with dopaminergic denervation (PD group) without vascular lesions. All patients underwent neurological and neuropsychological assessments. The groups differed in disease duration, age at onset, and cerebrovascular risk factors. The VP and VP+DD groups performed worse than the PD group on frontal/executive tasks. Regardless of the presence of dopaminergic denervation, cerebrovascular lesions in hemispheric white matter, basal ganglia, and cerebellum have an important effect in determining early onset and severity of cognitive impairment in patients with parkinsonism.

  • Cognitive dysfunctions and pathological gambling in patients with Parkinson's disease.

    Publication Date: 30/04/2009 on Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society
    by Santangelo G, Vitale C, Trojano L, Verde F, Grossi D, Barone P
    DOI: 10.1002/mds.22472

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the neuropsychological correlates of pathological gambling (PG) in Parkinson's disease (PD). Fifteen patients with PD affected by PG (identified based on DSM-IV criteria; PD+PG) without clinically evident dementia were compared with 15 nondemented patients with PD not affected by PG (PD-PG). Two groups of patients with PD were matched for age, length of education, and gender. Clinical and neuropsychiatric features were assessed; several cognitive domains, mainly related to executive functions, were explored by means of standardized neuropsychological tasks. PD+PG and PD-PG did not differ on clinical and neuropsychiatric aspects. PD+PG patients performed significantly worse than PD-PG patients on cognitive tasks that evaluated visuo-spatial long-term memory and several frontal lobe functions. After Bonferroni correction, differences remained significant on the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB) (P = 0.001), on phonological fluency task (P = 0.003), and on the Trail Making Test, part B minus part A (P = 0.002). Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that low scores on the FAB were the only independent predictor of PG (odds ratio, 27.9; 95% CI: 2.82-277.95, P = 0.004). The results indicate an association between PG and frontal lobe dysfunctions in nondemented patients with PD. Low scores on the FAB indicate patients with PD at high risk for PG.

  • Relationship between depression and cognitive dysfunctions in Parkinson's disease without dementia.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2009 on Journal of neurology
    by Santangelo G, Vitale C, Trojano L, Longo K, Cozzolino A, Grossi D, Barone P
    DOI: 10.1007/s00415-009-0146-5

    To explore the relationship between depression and cognitive impairment in non-demented PD patients, we evaluated neurological and neuropsychological asset in 65 patients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder (dPD) according to DSM-IV criteria and 60 patients without depression (nPD). Compared with nPD patients, dPD patients had significantly higher scores on behavioral rating scales and performed worse on the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB), Semantic Fluency Task, Copying Task (CT), and Stroop Test. Three dPD subgroups were identified based on the first two DSM-IV criteria: patients fulfilling criterion 1 (depressed mood; group 1); patients fulfilling criterion 2 (apathy/anhedonia; group 2); patients fulfilling criteria 1 and 2 (group 3). Patients of group 2 scored significantly lower than patients of group 1 on the CT, FAB and phonological fluency task. Patients of groups 2 and 3 scored significantly lower than nPD patients on visuoconstructional and frontal tasks. Similar results were obtained in dPD patients stratified in four subgroups based on cut-off scores of the Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Snaith Hamilton Pleasure Scale. In summary, PD patients with concomitant apathy and anhedonia may show more severe cognitive impairments. Since such patients are diagnosed to be affected by depression according to clinical DSM-IV criteria, we suggest that DSM-IV criteria may not distinguish an affective from a cognitive disorder in PD.

  • Communicating using the eyes without remembering it: cognitive rehabilitation in a severely brain-injured patient with amnesia, tetraplegia and anarthria.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2009 on Journal of rehabilitation medicine
    by Trojano L, Moretta P, Estraneo A
    DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0344

    We describe here a case of cognitive rehabilitation in a young patient with closed head injury, who had dense anterograde amnesia and such disabling neurological defects (tetraplegia and anarthria) that the condition evoked some features of an incomplete locked-in syndrome. After a prolonged period of no communicative possibility, the patient underwent a specific training, based on principles of errorless learning, with the aim of using a computerized eye-tracker system. Although, due to memory disturbances, the patient always denied ever having used the eye-tracker system, learned to use the computerized device and improved interaction with the environment. This favourable outcome may serve as a stimulus for devising new training approaches in patients with complex patterns of cognitive impairments, even when associated with severe motor impairments.

  • Cognitive neuroscience of drawing: contributions of neuropsychological, experimental and neurofunctional studies.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2009 on Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
    by Trojano L, Grossi D, Flash T
    DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2008.11.015