Dysexecutive Syndromes: What's in a Drawing?


Here: a quick look at tests that can be a valuable part of a neuropsychological evaluation.

Damage to anterior regions of the brain can cause dysexecutive syndromes that manifest with varying degrees of disinhibition, disorganization, or apathy.

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The clock test requires the executive skills of planning to properly space the numbers around the circle, monitoring performance for errors, resisting distraction, and set shifting for the symbolic meaning of minutes as opposed to hours on a clock face.1 This drawing was rendered by a patient with Alzheimer disease and is courtesy of our partner Figure 1.


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With the "ramparts design," patients with frontal systems dysfunction cannot  accurately shift set between the square and triangle and typically perseverate on one or the other.1

For details on additional tests that are often a valuable part of a neuropsychological evaluation, click here.




1. Campbell JC, Tisher A. Clinical Assessment of Dysexecutive Syndromes. Psychiatric Times. 2014;31(4):34-38.

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