A cross-sectional multicenter study of cognitive and behavioural features in multiple system atrophy patients of the parkinsonian and cerebellar type
SourceJournal of Neural Transmission, 120, 4, (2013), pp. 613-618
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Neural Transmission
SubjectDCN MP - Plasticity and memory NCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue
Imaging and neuropathology studies have demonstrated significant abnormalities not only in subcortical, but also in cortical regions of patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA). This raises the possibility that cognitive dysfunction may contribute to the clinical spectrum of this disorder to a greater extent than it is currently not widely appreciated. In this cross-sectional multicenter study from the European multiple system atrophy study group ( http://www.emsa-sg.org ), we applied an extensive neuropsychological test battery in a series of 61 clinically diagnosed probable MSA patients. The results demonstrated that general cognitive decline as assessed by MMSE was uncommon (2 out of 61 patients <24). In contrast, frontal lobe-related functions (as measured by FAB) were impaired in 41 % of patients, with abstract reasoning and sustained attention less compromised. This pattern was similar to our control group of 20 patients with Parkinson's disease (matched for disease duration and age at onset). There was no difference in cognitive performance between MSA patients with the parkinsonian versus the cerebellar variant. Behaviourally, MSA patients had greater depression than PD and in the case of MSA of the cerebellar variant significantly lower anxiety. Our data show that cognitive abnormalities are relatively frequent in multiple system atrophy and this involves primarily frontal-executive functions. Their contribution to clinical disability and disease progression needs to be addressed in larger prospective studies.
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