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Frontal functioning alterations in chronic hepatitis C virus infected patients


The neuropsychological implications of severe liver dysfunction have been widely discussed in recent neuropsychological literature. However, research has only just begun on the harmful effects of mild liver dysfunction on neurocognitive processes, as well as the direct action of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) on the central nervous system. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible existence of alterations in the executive functions of HCV patients.

Materials and methods

The executive functions were assessed by the administration of the two tests batteries related to the frontal lobe functioning; the Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, to a group of HCV patients (n=20) and to a control group (n= 20).


The obtained results suggest the presence of impaired capability to inhibit previous associations and to use feedback in order to correct behaviour in the HCV group. Structured planning, conceptualization, organized search, attention supervision and control in non routine tasks and maintenance of a non automatic response, are other impaired aspects in these patients.


These results were not related to the degree of liver fibrosis, suggesting direct action of the hepatitis C virus on the frontal lobe


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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Peixoto, B., Lopez, L., Areias, J. et al. Frontal functioning alterations in chronic hepatitis C virus infected patients. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S169 (2008).

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