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Dement Geriatr Cogn Dis Extra. 2011 Jan;1(1):202-11. doi: 10.1159/000328924. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

Cognitive profile of idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus.

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Department of Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai.



Frontal lobe dysfunction is believed to be a primary cognitive symptom in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH); however, the neuropsychology of this disorder remains to be fully investigated. The objective of this study was to delineate a comprehensive profile of cognitive dysfunction in iNPH and evaluate the effects of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt surgery on cognitive dysfunction.


A total of 32 iNPH patients underwent neuropsychological testing of memory, attention, language, executive function, and visuoperceptual and visuospatial abilities. Of these 32 patients, 26 were reevaluated approximately 1 year following CSF shunt surgery. The same battery of tests was performed on 32 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 30 healthy elderly controls.


The iNPH patients displayed baseline deficits in attention, executive function, memory, and visuoperceptual and visuospatial functions. Impairments of attention, executive function, and visuoperceptual and visuospatial abilities in iNPH patients were more severe than in those with AD, whereas the degree of memory impairment was comparable to that in AD patients. A significant improvement in executive function was observed following shunt surgery.


Patients with iNPH are impaired in various aspects of cognition involving both 'frontal' executive functions and 'posterior cortical' functions. Shunt treatment can ameliorate executive dysfunction.


Executive dysfunction; Neuropsychology of dementia; Subcortical dementia; Visual perception; Visuospatial abilities

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