Objective: To investigate the cognitive and mental status of patients with basal ganglia calcification on a computed tomographic scan.
Design: Eighteen ambulatory patients with basal ganglia calcification and without other radiological findings who were identified from the computed tomography records of a general hospital in a 2-year period and 16 control subjects who were matched for age, education, sex, and premorbid IQ estimation consented to participate. All subjects underwent a neurological evaluation, a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, and tests with psychiatric rating scales.
Results: Significant differences for the control group were found in tests that evaluated motor speed and executive, visuospatial, and some memory functions. Four patients (22%) met criteria for organic mood disorder (minor depression, three patients; bipolar depression, one patient) according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition, whereas six other patients (33%) met diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Conclusions: These results indicate that patients with basal ganglia calcifications frequently have a subcortical pattern of neuropsychological dysfunction and behavioral changes that are known to be associated with alterations of the frontal-limbic-basal ganglia circuits. The pattern of neuropsychological impairment is consistent with basal ganglia damage. However, poor performance in other neuropsychological tests suggest additional involvement of other connected networks.