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Dement Geriatr Cogn Dis Extra. 2011 Jan;1(1):372-80. doi: 10.1159/000332019. Epub 2011 Nov 5.

When Rey-Osterrieth's Complex Figure Becomes a Church: Prevalence and Correlates of Graphic Confabulations in Dementia.

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Neurology Unit, IRCCS Multimedica, Castellanza.


Verbal confabulation (VC) has been described in several pathological conditions characterized by amnesia and has been defined as 'statements that involve distortion of memories'. Here we describe another kind of confabulation (graphic confabulation, GC), evident at the recall of the Rey-Osterrieth complex figure (ROCF). In a retrospective study of 267 patients with mild-to-moderate dementia, 14 patients (4.9 %) recalled the abstract ROCF as drawings with recognizable semantic meaning. VC was evident at the story recall test in 19.8% of the study participants. VC and GC were homogeneously distributed among the different types of dementia. VC has been proposed to originate from complex interactions of amnesia, motivational deficit and dysfunction of monitoring systems. On the contrary, GC seems to be the result of a deficit in visual memory replaced by the semantic translation of isolated parts of the ROCF along with a source monitoring deficit.


Dementia; Graphic confabulation; Rey-Osterrieth's complex figure; Verbal confabulation

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