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Arch Med Res. 2002 Nov-Dec;33(6):586-9.

Hypercalculia in savant syndrome: central executive failure?

Author information

1
Unidad de Neurociencias, Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. aagonza@prodigy.net.mx

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The existence of outstanding cognitive talent in mentally retarded subjects persists as a challenge to present knowledge. We report the case of a 16-year-old male patient with exceptional mental calculation abilities and moderate mental retardation.

METHODS:

The patient was clinically evaluated. Data from standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and two 99mTc-ethyl cysteine dimer (ECD)-single photon emission computer tomography (SPECT) (in resting condition and performing a mental calculation task) studies were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Main neurologic findings were brachycephalia, right-side neurologic soft signs, obsessive personality profile, low color-word interference effect in Stroop test, and diffuse increased cerebral blood flow during calculation task in 99mTc-ECD SPECT. MRI showed anatomical temporal plane inverse asymmetry.

CONCLUSIONS:

Evidence appears to support the hypothesis that savant skill is related to excessive and erroneous use of cognitive processing resources instigated by probable failure in central executive control mechanisms.

PMID:
12505107
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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