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Vol. 29, No. 2, 1989
Issue release date: 1989
Eur Neurol 1989;29:71–76

Frontal Lobe Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease: Prognostic Value for Dementia?

Piccirilli M. · D’Alessandro P. · Finali G. · Piccinin G.L. · Agostini L.
aClinica Neurologica dell’Universita degli Studi, and bServizio di Neurofisiopatologia, Ospedale Regionale, Perugia, Italy

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The purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate if the presence of frontal motor deficits in parkinsonians without signs of global intellectual impairment may have a predictive value for the development of a progressive dementing process during the course of the illness. An examination of the higher level of motor organization, using skills thought to depend upon the integrity of the frontal regions, was performed by 30 parkinsonian patients who did not present any signs of general intellectual impairment. According to their performance, as compared with controls, they were divided into two subgroups: those with and those without frontal dysfunctions. After a mean period of 4 years, a second neuropsychological examination was carried out to assess any eventual change of mental status. The results suggest that frontal dysfunctions may be observed several years before the appearance of generalized intellectual impairment and may be considered one of the predictive factors for development of dementia in Parkinson’s disease. Careful consideration of these defects during examination of motor abilities may be of value in the clinical management of parkinsonian patients.

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