This study is being done to test the feasibility and effectiveness of web-based
social-cognitive training exercises in treating social-emotional deficits in patients with
stroke or frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
Although deficits in empathy and social interaction are relatively common in certain forms
of FTD and stroke, there are currently no proven treatments for these symptoms. Spouses and
caregivers often cite these symptoms as a major concern, and these deficits can have a
negative impact on the quality of life that patients experience. The purpose of this study
is to evaluate whether or not web-based social training exercises can improve
social-cognitive impairments in patients with FTD or right hemisphere stroke. These training
exercises have been shown to improve social skills and empathy in other disorders. This
study will be the first to examine if these exercises can be effective and feasible for
treating social deficits in stroke and FTD.
The study will be based out of the Johns Hopkins Hospital where patients will be assessed
three times in total. Patients will be assessed upon enrollment in the study and after each
of the two treatment conditions. The training itself will be completed at home on a provided
laptop, with monitoring and support by the study team. This study uses a crossover design,
which means that all patients will receive the training treatment and a control treatment
during their participation in the study. The approximate timeline for the study is 9 weeks
- Clinical diagnosis of right hemispheric stroke or behavioral variant frontotemporal
- Able to give informed consent.
- Premorbid proficiency in English (by self-report).
- Age 18 or older.
- Score of 21 or higher on the mini-mental state examination.
- Prior history of neurological disease affecting the brain other than stroke or
frontotemporal dementia (e.g., brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain
- Known uncorrected hearing loss
- Known uncorrected vision loss
- Prior history of severe psychiatric illness, developmental disorders, or mental
retardation (e.g., schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders) other than FTD
- Score of 20 or lower on the Mini-Mental State Examination.