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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • pallidotomy;
  • neuropsychological;
  • frontostriatal circuitry

Abstract

We assessed the long-term neuropsychological effects of unilateral posteroventral pallidotomy in Parkinson's disease. Eleven Parkinson's disease patients, from an original cohort of 15 consecutive patients who underwent pallidotomy, were evaluated. A neuropsychological battery was administered to each patient before (3 days) and after (3 months and 4 years) surgery during the effects of levodopa. The following tests were administered: Rey's Auditory-Verbal Learning Test, Visual Associative Learning test from the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised, Luria's motor alternation, Benton's Judgment of Line Orientation, Trail Making, phonetic verbal fluency, Stroop test, Petrides' working memory tasks, Beck's depression questionnaire and the Maudsley obsessional–compulsive inventory. In the 3-month postoperative assessment, there was a significant worsening in phonetic verbal fluency and an improvement in Benton's Judgment of Line Orientation test. In the 4-year follow-up assessment, phonetic verbal fluency and Benton's Judgment of Line Orientation test returned to baseline scores. Although there was no significant difference between pre- and postsurgical scores for long-term visual associative memory, there was a significant deterioration between 3-month and 4-year follow-up performances. Our results suggest that unilateral posteroventral pallidotomy may produce transient changes in prefrontal and visuospatial functions, but there is no evidence of permanent neuropsychological effects.