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Eur Neurol. 2001;45(2):104-10.

Usefulness of primitive reflexes in demented and non-demented cerebrovascular patients in daily clinical practice.

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Department of Neurological Sciences, 'La Sapienza' University, Rome, Italy.


The aim of this study was to investigate the usefulness of primitive reflexes (PRs) as additional alert signs in a routine clinical setting of cognitive decline in an elderly population of chronic ischemic cerebrovascular patients. We considered the occurrence of grasp, palmomental, glabellar and snout reflexes in 75 demented (VaD) and 75 non-demented (VaND) patients, and in 75 healthy elderly controls. We never elicited more than two PRs in controls. The occurrence of three or four PRs provided the strongest correlation with dementia (p < 0.0001), with 93% specificity irrespective of low sensitivity. In conclusion, the occurrence of more than two PRs might serve as an additional warning sign of possible mild cognitive impairment in chronic ischemic cerebrovascular patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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