Constructional Apraxia in Older Patients with Brain Tumors: Considerations with an Up-To-Date Review of the Literature

Giorgia Abete Fornara, Andrea Di Cristofori, Giulio Andrea Bertani, Giorgio Carrabba, Barbara Zarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Constructional apraxia (CA) is a neuropsychological impairment of either basic perceptual and motor abilities or executive functions, in the absence of any kind of motor or perceptual deficit. Considering patients with focal brain tumors, CA is common in left or right parietal and parieto-occipital lesions. In neuropsychology, the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (ROCFT; or parallel forms) is commonly used for the assessment of CA. This study stems from a clinical observation of a difficulty with CA tests for the majority of older neurosurgical patients without occipitoparietal lesions. Methods: Patients were tested at 3 points: before surgery, 3 months after surgery, and 12 months after surgery. Thirty patients (15 meningiomas and 15 glioblastomas) were studied retrospectively. Results: Older patients with focal brain lesions, regardless of the nature of the tumor, performed poorly at CA tests. More than 50% of patients obtained pathologic results at all 3 times considered. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that as CA complex tests involve multiple domains, poor results in copy task may reflect a global cognitive deficit of older patients with tumors, without a specific constructional praxis deficit. CA complex tests (such as the ROCFT) do not give significant informations about visuo-constructional abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1130-e1137
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Constructional apraxia
  • Elderly glioma
  • Elderly meningioma
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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