Cognitive function in multiple system atrophy of the cerebellar type



Dementia represents an exclusion criterion for the diagnosis of multiple system atrophy (MSA), but there have been reports of fronto-executive dysfunction in patients with MSA of the striatonigral type (MSA-P). To study the cognitive profile of MSA, 20 patients with MSA of the cerebellar type (MSA-C) were subjected to an extensive neuropsychological test battery comprising tests for IQ, attention, verbal and visuospatial memory, as well as executive function. There was evidence for impaired verbal memory and verbal fluency. Test performance was not related to the severity of motor disability. Regarding the similar cognitive syndrome of MSA-P, the otherwise subclinical problems in MSA-C result from subcortical rather than from cerebellar dysfunction. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society