Cognitive planning deficit in patients with cerebellar atrophy.

Grafman J; Litvan I; Massaquoi S; Stewart M; Sirigu A; Hallett M.
Neurology, 1992 Aug, 42(8):1493-6.


We compared the performance of 12 patients with cerebellar atrophy (CA) and 12 normal controls matched for age and education on the Tower of Hanoi, a nine-problem task that requires cognitive planning. CA patients performed significantly worse than controls on this task despite no difference in planning and between-move pause times. A reanalysis of the data using just the subgroup of patients with pure cerebellar cortical atrophy (CCA) (N = 9) replicated the above results and also showed that CCA patients had significantly increased planning times compared with controls. Neither age, sex, education level, severity of dementia, word fluency, response time, memory, nor visuomotor procedural learning predicted CA or CCA performance. This deficit in cognitive planning suggests a functional link between the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and the frontal lobe concerning specific cognitive processes. However, the exact role of the cerebellum in cognitive planning remains undetermined.