The common belief that primary dystonia is a purely motor disorder with no anatomical substrate and no other accompanying neurological dysfunction has recently been challenged. In addition, there is increasing evidence that the basal ganglia besides motor control, plays a role in cognitive functioning. However, no systematic cognitive performance evaluation has been carried out in patients with primary blepharospasm (BS), one of the most common forms of adult dystonia. We evaluated a series of 20 patients with primary BS and a group of 17 controls matched by severity of mood symptoms, age, and sex. BS patients performed significantly worse on the Luria sequencing test, Purdue pegboard test, reciprocal coordination, tactile denomination, and reverse visuospatial span and the differences persisted after correction for age, duration of disease, severity of BS, and degree of depression. The Wisconsin card sorting test showed no statistical difference, but BS patients made more errors and more perseverative answers than expected according to population means, whereas the control group performed poorly but within normal parameters. Our findings suggest broad cortical involvement in focal dystonia that is not correlated with the severity or duration of dystonia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology