An examination of the neurocognitive profile and base rate of performance impairment in primary dystonia

Academic Article


  • Background: Primary dystonia has been traditionally viewed as a motor disorder. However, non-motor symptoms are frequently present and significantly quality of life. Neuropsychiatric and cognitive symptoms have been identified, but prior studies have been limited in sample size and lack of control groups. This study examined the neurocognitive profile of a sample of persons with primary dystonia (PWD) as compared to demographically matched healthy control group. Methods: A cognitive test battery was administered to 25 PWD who presented for pre-surgical candidacy evaluation for deep brain stimulation surgery. The test battery domains included global cognitive function, attention, expressive language, visuospatial skills, memory, and executive functioning. Twenty-five age, gender, education-matched healthy control participants were compared to the PWD. Results: Compared to demographically matched healthy controls, PWD performed worse on measures of global cognitive function, attention, memory, and conceptualization. Based on normative comparison, a large portion of PWD were impaired on tasks of executive functioning and expressive language. Over 80% of the PWD showed impairment on at least one neurocognitive measure and over 60% showed impairment on 3 or more tests. Conclusions: Neurocognitive deficits were prevalent among our PWD sample. These impairments were present across a broad range of cognitive domains. Given the degree of cognitive impairment found in this study, our results have implications for health care providers with providing interventions to PWD.
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    Author List

  • Niccolai L; Aita SL; Walker HC; Martin RC; Clay OJ; Crowe M; Triebel KL
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 5
  • Volume

  • 74