Language Impairment in Adolescents With Sydenham Chorea

Estefânia Harsányi, Janaina Moreira, Arthur Kummer, Zilda Maria Alves Meira, Francisco Cardoso, Antonio L. Teixeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background Neuropsychiatric comorbidities are frequent in Sydenham chorea. However, cognitive impairment in Sydenham chorea has not been sufficiently described. The objective of this study was to evaluate expressive and receptive language deficits in adolescents with Sydenham chorea. Methods Twenty patients with Sydenham chorea were compared with 20 patients with rheumatic fever without chorea and 20 healthy controls. Participants were matched for age and gender. Participants were assessed with verbal fluency tasks (phonemic and semantic) and with verbal comprehension tasks (Token Test). Patients with Sydenham chorea were also assessed with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Sydenham Chorea Rating Scale. Results Performance in verbal fluency and in verbal comprehension tasks differed significantly (P < 0.01) among the three groups. Patients with Sydenham chorea performed significantly worse than healthy control group in phonemic and semantic verbal fluency tasks as well as in the Token Test. The group with rheumatic fever also performed worse than healthy controls in phonemic verbal fluency. Severity of motor signs in Sydenham chorea inversely correlated with performance in phonemic verbal fluency (words beginning with letter S, and total sum of words beginning with letters F, A, and S). Conclusions Adolescents with Sydenham chorea show difficulties in verbal fluency and in verbal comprehension. Patients with rheumatic fever also have some degree of language impairment. Future studies must investigate language impairment in difference stages of Sydenham chorea (acute, persistent, and remission) and putative biological markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-416
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cognition
  • language
  • neuropsychiatry
  • rheumatic fever
  • Sydenham chorea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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