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Keywords:

  • cognition;
  • multiple system atrophy;
  • neuropsychology

ABSTRACT

Consensus diagnostic criteria for multiple system atrophy consider dementia as a nonsupporting feature, despite emerging evidence demonstrating that cognitive impairments are an integral part of the disease. Cognitive disturbances in multiple system atrophy occur across a wide spectrum from mild single domain deficits to impairments in multiple domains and even to frank dementia in some cases. Frontal-executive dysfunction is the most common presentation, while memory and visuospatial functions also may be impaired. Imaging and neuropathological findings support the concept that cognitive impairments in MSA originate from striatofrontal deafferentation, with additional contributions from intrinsic cortical degeneration and cerebellar pathology. Based on a comprehensive evidence-based review, the authors propose future avenues of research that ultimately may lead to diagnostic criteria for cognitive impairment and dementia associated with multiple system atrophy. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society