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Cogn Neuropsychol. 2011 Oct;28(7):500-14; discussion 515-20. doi: 10.1080/02643294.2012.674012.

Types of case series--the anatomically based approach: commentary on M. F. Schwartz & G. S. Dell: case series investigations in cognitive neuropsychology.

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Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, SISSA, Trieste, Italy.


The paper addresses a weakness in the Schwartz and Dell paper (2010)-namely, its discussion of the inclusion criteria for case series. The paper distinguishes the different types that exist and how they constrain the theoretical conclusions that one can draw about the organization of the normal cognitive system. Four different types of inclusion criteria are considered. Two are those treated by Schwartz and Dell-namely, theoretically derived clinical criteria, such as the example of semantic dementia, and broad clinical criteria such as the presence of aphasia. In addition, in the present paper two different types of anatomically based criteria are assessed-those using anatomical regions selected a priori and also regions selected as a result of an anatomical group study analysis. Putative functional syndromes are argued to be the empirical building blocks for cognitive neuropsychology. Anatomically based case series can aid in their construction or in their fractionation.

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