Cognitive, linguistic and affective disturbances following a right superior cerebellar artery infarction: a case study

Cortex. 2009 Apr;45(4):527-36. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2007.12.010. Epub 2008 Mar 2.


The cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome (CCAS) is a neurobehavioral syndrome that may develop after congenital and acquired cerebellar lesions. The syndrome consists of deficits in executive functioning, spatial cognition, visual-spatial memory and language and also involves personality and behavioral changes. We describe a 58-year-old right-handed man who in addition to affective disturbances presented with a unique combination of cognitive and linguistic deficits following an ischemic infarction in the vascular territory of the right superior cerebellar artery (SCA). Neurocognitive and neurolinguistic examinations were performed in the acute phase (10 days post-onset) and lesion phase (four weeks post-onset) of the stroke. A Tc-99m-ECD SPECT study was performed five weeks after the stroke. Acute phase data revealed a generalized cognitive decline and mild transcortical sensory aphasia. In the lesion phase, the neurobehavioral tableau was dominated by executive dysfunctions, disrupted divided attention, disturbed visual-spatial organization and behavioral abnormalities. Neurolinguistic investigations disclosed visual dyslexia and surface dysgraphia. Reading of words and visual lexical decision tasks of words and nonwords were severely defective and predominantly characterized by visual errors. In addition, writing irregular and ambiguous words resulted in regularization errors (phonologically plausible errors based on phoneme-grapheme correspondence rules). In the absence of any structural damage in the supratentorial brain regions, a quantified SPECT study showed a relative hypoperfusion in the right cerebellar hemisphere and the left medial frontal lobe. CCAS is for the first time reported in association with visual dyslexia and surface dysgraphia. We hypothesize that the cognitive and linguistic deficits might result from functional disruption of the cerebellar-encephalic pathways, connecting the cerebellum to the frontal supratentorial areas which subserve attentional and planning processes. This phenomenon of crossed cerebellar-cerebral diaschisis is supported by SPECT findings revealing a hypoperfusion in the anatomoclinically suspected brain regions. The constellation of cognitive, linguistic and behavioral symptoms adds new evidence to the multifaceted area of cerebellar neurocognition and demonstrates that the cerebellum might play a crucial role in cognitive, linguistic, and affective processing.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agraphia / diagnosis
  • Agraphia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Cerebellar Diseases / complications
  • Cerebellar Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / pathology
  • Cerebellum / blood supply
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebral Infarction / complications*
  • Cerebral Infarction / pathology
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Dyslexia / diagnosis
  • Dyslexia / etiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Language Disorders / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mood Disorders / etiology
  • Syndrome