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Neuropsychology. 2008 Sep;22(5):553-62. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.22.5.553.

Does the Clock Drawing Test have focal neuroanatomical correlates?

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Division of Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Iowa, IA, USA.


The Clock Drawing Test (CDT) is widely used in clinical neuropsychological practice. The CDT has been used traditionally as a "parietal lobe" test (e.g., Kaplan, 1988), but most empirical work has focused on its sensitivity and specificity for detecting and differentiating subtypes of dementia. There are surprisingly few studies of its neuroanatomical correlates. The authors investigated the neuroanatomical correlates of the CDT, using 133 patients whose lesions provided effective coverage of most of both hemispheric convexities and underlying white matter. On the CDT, 30 subjects were impaired and 87 were unimpaired (16 were "borderline"). Impairments on the CDT were associated with damage to right parietal cortices (supramarginal gyrus) and left inferior frontal-parietal opercular cortices. Visuospatial errors were predominant in patients with right hemisphere damage, whereas time setting errors were predominant in patients with left hemisphere lesions. These findings provide new empirical evidence regarding the neuroanatomical correlates of the CDT, and together with previous work, support the use of this quick and easily administered test not only as a screening measure but also as a good index of focal brain dysfunction.

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