Subcortical Structures

Mood and affective changes are seen in patients with subcortical dementia syndromes resulting from a disconnection between the frontal lobes and the basal ganglia. Behavior has been investigated in patients with certain specific disorders including Parkinson's disease (PD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and Huntington's disease. In each, the pathology has been located primarily in the basal ganglia, and all patients have had associated disorders of affect and cognition. Parkinson's disease and PSP patients are often depressed or apathetic and may develop delusions and hallucinations with drug therapy. These patients, particularly those with PSP, may demonstrate a pathological affect known as pseudobulbar affect, whereby they intermittently exhibit primary emotional displays in response to trivial stimuli. This situation is also seen in any condition causing bilateral lesions involving the bulbar regions of the neocortical motor system or its descending connections. Patients with Huntington's disease also become depressed, impulsive, and often psychotic. The clinicopathological correlation is complicated by the fact that our understanding of the pathology of each of these disorders is still incomplete, and it is not at all clear that cortex is spared. Other investigators have shown that secondary mania is associated with subcortical lesions of the white matter of the right frontal lobe, the right anterior limb of the internal capsule, and the right head of the caudate.

Recently, investigators have become interested in the role of the cerebellum in nonmotor function, including mood and executive function. y A syndrome of mutism and behavioral disturbances has been reported in some children after cerebellar resections, and several case reports have described "cortical type" behavioral disturbances resulting from purely cerebellar lesions. y

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