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October 1984

Differential Perceptual-Spatial Impairment in Huntington's and Alzheimer's Dementias

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Neurosciences Branch (Dr Brouwers, Mr Cox, and Drs Martin and Fedio) and Experimental Therapeutics Branch (Dr Chase), National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Neurol. 1984;41(10):1073-1076. doi:10.1001/archneur.1984.04050210071017

• Because the severity of memory disorders exhibited by neuropsychiatric patients overshadows other cognitive deficiencies, we explored the visuoperceptual and constructive abilities of patients with Alzheimer's (AD) or Huntington's (HD) disease. The tasks assessed directional sense with reference to egocentric space, as well as visuodiscriminative and constructive skills of patients and matched controls. A double dissociation was found: the performance of patients with AD was found to be significantly impaired on tasks involving extrapersonal perception and construction but not on the test of egocentric space. In contrast, visuoconstructive performance by patients with HD was not significantly impaired, while salient deficits were apparent when manipulation of personal space was required. These differential patterns of defects may have been aligned with neuropathologic changes in different cortical and subcortical structures, respectively, in patients with AD and HD.

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