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Poor visuospatial skills can disrupt activities of daily living. The cerebellum has been implicated in visuospatial processing, and patients with cerebellar injury often exhibit poor visuospatial skills, as measured by impaired memory for the figure within the Rey-Osterrieth complex figure task (ROCF). Visuospatial skills are an inherent aspect of the ROCF; however, figure organization (i.e., the order in which the figure is reconstructed by the participant) can influence recall ability. The objective of this study was to examine and compare visuospatial and organization skills in people with cerebellar ataxia. We administered the ROCF to patients diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia and healthy controls. The cerebellar ataxia group included patients that carried a diagnosis of spinocerebellar ataxia (any subtype), autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia, or cerebellar ataxia with unknown etiology. Primary outcome measures were organization and recall performance on the ROCF, with supplemental information derived from cognitive tests of visuospatial perception, working memory, processing speed, and motor function. Cerebellar ataxia patients revealed impaired figure organization relative to that of controls. Figure copy was impaired in the patients, but their subsequent recall performance was normal, suggesting compensation from initial organization and copying strategies. In controls, figure organization predicted recall performance, but this relationship was not observed in the patients. Instead, processing speed predicted patients' recall accuracy. Supplemental tasks indicated that visual perception was intact in the cerebellar ataxia group and that performance deficits were more closely tied to organization strategies than with visuospatial skills.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Cerebellum (London, England)
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Incoordination of voluntary movements that occur as a manifestation of CEREBELLAR DISEASES. Characteristic features include a tendency for limb movements to overshoot or undershoot a target (dysmetria), a tremor that occurs during attempted movements (intention TREMOR), impaired force and rhythm of diadochokinesis (rapidly alternating movements), and GAIT ATAXIA. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p90)
Diseases that affect the structure or function of the cerebellum. Cardinal manifestations of cerebellar dysfunction include dysmetria, GAIT ATAXIA, and MUSCLE HYPOTONIA.
Primary or metastatic neoplasms of the CEREBELLUM. Tumors in this location frequently present with ATAXIA or signs of INTRACRANIAL HYPERTENSION due to obstruction of the fourth ventricle. Common primary cerebellar tumors include fibrillary ASTROCYTOMA and cerebellar HEMANGIOBLASTOMA. The cerebellum is a relatively common site for tumor metastases from the lung, breast, and other distant organs. (From Okazaki & Scheithauer, Atlas of Neuropathology, 1988, p86 and p141)
Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or PERIPHERAL NERVE DISEASES. Motor ataxia may be associated with CEREBELLAR DISEASES; CEREBRAL CORTEX diseases; THALAMIC DISEASES; BASAL GANGLIA DISEASES; injury to the RED NUCLEUS; and other conditions.
Cerebellar degeneration associated with a remote neoplasm. Clinical manifestations include progressive limb and GAIT ATAXIA; DYSARTHRIA; and NYSTAGMUS, PATHOLOGIC. The histologic type of the associated neoplasm is usually carcinoma or lymphoma. Pathologically the cerebellar cortex and subcortical nuclei demonstrate diffuse degenerative changes. Anti-Purkinje cell antibodies (anti-Yo) are found in the serum of approximately 50% of affected individuals. (Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p686)