The neuropsychological pattern of corticobasal degeneration: comparison with progressive supranuclear palsy and Alzheimer's disease

Neurology. 1995 Aug;45(8):1477-83. doi: 10.1212/wnl.45.8.1477.


The pattern of cortical and subcortical neuropathologic lesions in corticobasal degeneration (CBD) should predict a specific cognitive profile in this disease. To characterize this profile and to determine its specificity by comparison with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT), we used an extensive neuropsychological battery assessing global efficiency, executive functions, various tests of encoding and retrieval, dynamic motor organization, and upper limb praxis. We compared the performance of patients with CBD (n = 15) with that of controls (n = 19) matched for age and education, and with that of patients with PSP and SDAT (15 in each group), matched for severity of dementia and depression. Patients with CBD showed: (1) a moderate global deterioration; (2) a dysexecutive syndrome similar to that of patients with PSP and more severe than in SDAT; (3) explicit learning deficits, without retention difficulties and easily compensated by using the same semantic cues at encoding and retrieval as in PSP; this was in contrast with SDAT where cued recall and recognition were also impaired; (4) disorders of dynamic motor execution (temporal organization, bimanual coordination, control, and inhibition) similar to those of patients with PSP and not in SDAT; (5) asymmetric praxis disorders (posture imitation, symbolic gesture execution, and object utilization) that were not observed in PSP or SDAT. Patients with CBD show a specific neuropsychological pattern associating a dysexecutive syndrome, likely due to degeneration of the basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex, and asymmetric praxis disorders, which might be related to premotor and parietal lobe lesions. This neuropsychological profile may help to distinguish this condition clinically from other neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Basal Ganglia* / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / psychology
  • Cerebral Cortex* / pathology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Gestures
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / pathology
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / physiopathology
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / psychology