A systematic review of cognition in Chiari I malformation

Jeffrey M. Rogers*, Greg Savage, Marcus A. Stoodley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Displacement of the cerebellar tonsils in Chiari type I malformation (CMI) can affect functions controlled by the cerebellum and brainstem. While playing an integral role in the control of movement, the cerebellum also has widespread cortical connections, influencing a range of cognitive process. A systematic literature review was conducted to examine the relationship between cognition and CMI, assessing evidence for general or domain-specific cognitive change. The search protocol examined the AMED, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Scopus databases. Articles meeting the following criteria were included in this review (i) examined children or adults with a clinically defined diagnosis of CMI, (ii) assessed cognitive function with a prospective examination, (iii) included at least one standardized instrument designed to measure general or specific domains of cognitive function, and (iv) were published in English in a peer-reviewed journal. Twelve articles were identified, including 783 cases aged 3 months to 64 years. General cognition, processing speed, and learning and memory appeared less affected, while language deficits appeared to diminish with age. Executive dysfunction was the most commonly reported cognitive impairment, while attention and working memory, and visuospatial and perceptual skills also appeared vulnerable. Numerous methodological limitations were identified that should be considered in interpreting the impact of CMI and planning future investigations. Overall, there is currently insufficient evidence to describe a valid and reliable profile of cognitive impairment in CMI. Further research is required to confirm these preliminary psychometric results and integrate them with pathophysiological models

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)176-187
    Number of pages12
    JournalNeuropsychology Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


    • Arnold Chiari malformation
    • Cognition
    • Neuropsychological test
    • Systematic review


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