Authors:Tamas Sefcsik, Dezso Nemeth, Karolina Janacsek, Ildiko Hoffmann, Jeff Scialabba, Peter Klivenyi, Geza Gergely Ambrus, Gabor Haden, and Laszlo Vecsei
The role of the basal ganglia in cognition is still uncertain. This case study investigates the partial neuropsychological profile of a 20-year-old patient with a perinatal left putaminal lesion. This pathology is relatively rare and little is known of its cognitive effects. The focuses of our neuropsychological assessment were working memory, executive functions, analysis of spontaneous speech and implicit skill learning. The patient's executive functions did not attain the normal range, and working memory was also partially impaired. In addition, the temporal features of her speech revealed an increased pause/signal time ratio. Finally, in an implicit skill learning task, the patient showed general motor skill learning, but no sequence specific learning. Together these findings suggest that the frontal/subcortical circuit between the putamen and frontal motor areas plays a role in higher cognitive processing such as executive functions, working memory, as well as in first-order sequence learning.