Impaired cognitive functions in adult-onset primary cranial cervical dystonia

Raffaella Romano, Alessandro Bertolino, Angelo Gigante, Davide Martino, Paolo Livrea, Giovanni Defazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Adult-onset primary dystonia is thought to be a purely motor disorder. Nevertheless, several studies provided evidence that sensory and psychiatric disturbances may contribute to the clinical spectrum of of dystonia, whereas evidence supporting cognitive impairment is still limited. Methods: A set of neuropsychological tests was administered to non depressed, non demented patients with cranial-cervical dystonia and healthy control subjects. The test battery included n-Back Task, Wechsler Memory Scale, Trail Making Test version A and B, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Results: As compared with healthy control subjects of similar age, sex and socio-economic status, patients with cranial-cervical dystonia showed deficit on working memory functions revealed by n-Back task, impairment of mental control and visual reproduction subtests of Wechsler memory scale, deficit on information processing speed and set-shifting capacity revealed by Trail Making Test A and B. Conclusion: Patients with cranial-cervical dystonia may have impairment in specific cognitive domains relative to working memory, processing speed, visual motor ability and short term memory. Probably, these deficits are not dependent on the clinical expression of dystonia but might rather reflect the cortical and subcortical changes highlighted by functional and VBM imaging studies in patients with different forms of dystonia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-165
Number of pages4
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Cognitive functions
  • Dystonia
  • Processing speed
  • Short term memory
  • Visual motor ability
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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