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Neurocase. 2001;7(6):515-21.

Gerstmann syndrome in systemic lupus erythematosus: neuropsychological, neuroimaging and spectroscopic findings.

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Clinical and Magnetic Resonance Research Center, Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.


Gerstmann syndrome (GS) comprises four interlaced neuropsychological symptoms including finger agnosia, right-left confusion, agraphia, and acalculia. While GS is commonly associated with focal lesions to the region of the left angular gyrus, it has also been associated with numerous diffuse etiologies including atrophy, alcoholism, carbon monoxide poisoning, lead intoxication and anaphylactic shock. Thus, a vigorous debate has emerged as to whether GS represents a syndrome arising from general brain decline or a distinct and localizing lesion. We report a right-handed patient who developed neuropsychological dysfunction secondary to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Neuropsychological evaluation found the patient to exhibit symptoms consistent with the GS tetrad, as well as general cognitive decline. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a distinct focal lesion of the left parieto-occipital white matter underlying the angular gyrus as well as diffuse atrophy. (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed substantial metabolic derangement in a voxel placed within the visible lesion, although substantial metabolic derangement was observed in regions remote from the focal pathology. Thus, GS in this first case in SLE would appear to comprise a focal neurological tetrad of disorders within a more general pattern of cognitive decline and metabolic derangement.

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