Working memory and verbal fluency deficits following cerebellar lesions: Relation to interindividual differences in patient variables

Jutta Peterburs, Christian Bellebaum, Benno Koch, Michael Schwarz, Irene Daum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Findings concerning cognitive impairment in patients with focal cerebellar lesions tend to be inconsistent and usually reflect a mild deficit. Patient variables such as lesion age and the age at lesion onset might affect functional reorganization and contribute to the variability of the findings. To assess this issue, 14 patients with focal vascular cerebellar lesions and 14 matched healthy control subjects performed a verbal working memory and a verbal long-term memory task as well as verbal fluency tasks. Patients showed deficits in working memory and verbal fluency, while recall of complex narrative material was intact. Verbal fluency performance correlated significantly with age in the patient group, with more severe impairments in older patients, suggesting that age at lesion onset is a critical variable for cognitive outcome. In controls, no significant correlations with age were observed. Taken together, our findings support the idea of cerebellar involvement in nonmotor functions and indicate the relevance of interindividual differences in regard to clinical parameters after focal cerebellar damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalCerebellum
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Age
  • Cerebellum
  • Cognition
  • Functional reorganization
  • Verbal fluency
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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