Memory in patients with cerebellar degeneration

I. M. Appollonio, Jordon Grafman*, V. Schwartz, S. Massaquoi, M. Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Scopus citations


Eleven patients with relatively selective cerebellar degeneration and 11 normal control subjects underwent a comprehensive neurologic and neuropsychological examination. The neuropsychological tests assessed general intellectual ability, different aspects of memory (effortful, automatic, and implicit memory processes), speed of information processing, and verbal fluency (using both category and letter fluency tasks). The results indicated that cerebellar patients were significantly impaired only on tasks requiring the use of executive functions, such as the initiation/perseveration subtest of the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale or the fluency tests, and on memory measures requiring greater processing effort. They performed normally on automatic and implicit measures of memory. Performance on the effortful memory and executive measures was not associated with neurologic variables or mood state. After controlling for the initiation/perseveration deficit, the effortful memory scores of the cerebellar patients were no longer different from those of controls. The present study suggests that memory in patients with relatively pure cerebellar dysfunction is only partially compromised and that the impairment is secondary to a deficit in executive functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1536-1544
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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