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Cogn Behav Neurol. 2005 Dec;18(4):198-205.

The ubiquity of memory retrieval deficits in patients with frontal-striatal dysfunction.

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University of California, San Diego, CA 92161, USA.



Previous studies have shown that patients with frontal-striatal dysfunction demonstrate improved performance on tests of recognition memory relative to free recall memory, suggesting deficits in retrieval processes. Not all studies, however, have indicated that all patients with frontal-striatal dysfunction display this profile. In this study, we examined the ubiquity of this "retrieval deficit" profile in a relatively large sample of patients with Parkinson disease (PD) or Huntington disease (HD).


Participants included 150 patients with PD and 65 patients with HD. Patients were classified as demonstrating a retrieval deficit or not based on a comparison of their standardized performances on the Recognition Discriminability and Long-Delay Free Recall indices from the California Verbal Learning Test.


Results indicated that 1) a retrieval deficit was more prevalent in patients with HD than PD, 2) this group difference emerged only in patients with at least a mild level of global cognitive impairment, and 3) even when the profile did emerge more frequently in patients with HD, it was present in only 44% of the patients.


These findings suggest that not all patient groups with frontal-striatal dysfunction display a retrieval deficit profile, but in groups that do (ie, patients with HD), it is more likely to appear in individuals with greater cognitive impairment.

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