Cognitive dysfunction after isolated brain stem insult. An underdiagnosed cause of long term morbidity

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2002 Aug;73(2):191-4. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.73.2.191.


Cognitive dysfunction adversely influences long term outcome after cerebral insult, but the potential for brain stem lesions to produce cognitive as well as physical impairments is not widely recognised. This report describes a series of seven consecutive patients referred to a neurological rehabilitation unit with lesions limited to brain stem structures, all of whom were shown to exhibit deficits in at least one domain of cognition. The practical importance of recognising cognitive dysfunction in this group of patients, and the theoretical significance of the disruption of specific cognitive domains by lesions to distributed neural circuits, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Stem Infarctions / diagnosis*
  • Brain Stem Infarctions / psychology
  • Brain Stem Infarctions / rehabilitation
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / psychology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / rehabilitation
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Dementia / rehabilitation
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System / diagnosis
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System / psychology
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*