Cognitive impairment in patients with Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome

Behav Neurol. 2011;24(2):143-8. doi: 10.3233/BEN-2011-0325.


Introduction: Patients with Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome (PTCS) may complain of difficulty in thinking or concentrating; however there has been little formal cognitive evaluation in this population.

Objective: To evaluate the characteristics and nature of cognitive impairment in patients with PTCS.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed records of 10 patients diagnosed with PTCS who were cognitively tested at presentation. In each cognitive test, "Borderline deficit" (BD) was defined as a score more than 1 standard deviation (SD) below and "Definite Deficit" (DD) as a score more than 2 SD below the mean for age, sex and education. In each cognitive domain, impairment was defined as a single test score more than 2 SD below the mean, or scores of more than 1 SD below the mean for age, sex and education in > 50% of tests.

Results: Mean age of patients was 43.4 ± 13.5 years. 8/10(80%) patients were female. 3/10(30%) had papilledema; 3/10(30%) had significant cerebral venous outflow obstruction. Impairment was most commonly seen and was most severe in the WMS logical memory I (BD-44%, DD-44%), WMS logical memory II (BD-37.5%, DD-50%), RAVLT delayed recall (BD-30%, DD-40%) and RAVLT retention(BD-40%, DD-30%) tests. Evaluation of cognitive domains revealed impairment in memory and learning (80%), executive function (10%), visuo-spatial skills (30%), and language (30%).

Conclusion: Our results indicate that patients with PTCS can have significant cognitive impairment, particularly in learning and memory. The prevalence needs to be studied in a larger cohort. The relationship of cognitive impairment with chronically elevated intracranial pressures and its role in contributing to patient morbidity needs to be investigated further.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies