Nociceptive Primitive Reflexes in Neurologically and Cognitively Healthy Aging Subjects

Giovanna Cilluffo, Rosolino Camarda, Gianluca Sottile, Cecilia Camarda, Paola Torelli, Giovanna Cilluffo, Carmela Pipia, Carmela Pipia, Iacopo Battaglini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: To assess the prevalence of three nociceptive primitive reflexes (nPR), i.e., glabellar tap, snout reflex, and palmomental reflex, in neurologically and cognitively healthy (NCH) aging subjects. Objective: To investigate whether nPR are cross-sectionally associated with white matter hyperintensities (WMH), lacunes, atrophy of the caudate nuclei, and global brain atrophy. Methods: A total of 1246 NCH subjects aged 45-91 years were included in the study and underwent standard brain MRI. Atrophy of the caudate nuclei and global brain atrophy were assessed through the bicaudate ratio (BCr) and lateral ventricles to brain ratio (LVBr), respectively. WMH were assessed through visual rating scales. Lacunes were also rated. Association of nPR with vascular risk factors/diseases and imaging findings was evaluated using logistic regression analysis. Results: nPR were exhibited by 33.1% of subjects and increased with age. Subjects with nPR performed less than subjects without nPR in tests evaluating global cognition, executive functions, attention, and language. Snout reflex was the most common nPR, followed by glabellar tap and palmomental reflex. Glabellar tap was associated with parieto-temporal WMH, BCr, and LVBr; snout reflex was associated with frontal lacunes, temporal WMH, BCr, and LVBr; palmomental reflex was associated with parieto-occipital WMH, basal ganglia lacunes, BCr, and LVBr. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that in NCH aging individuals, nPR are associated with WMH, lacunes, BCr, and LVBr and are probably a warning sign of incipient cognitive decline. Therefore, NCH subjects presenting nPR should manage their vascular risk factors/vascular diseases rigorously in order to prevent or delay progression of small vessel disease, and future neurological and cognitive disabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-208-208
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Volume46
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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