Executive control functions in degenerative dementias: A comparative review

Lisa M. Duke, Alfred W. Kaszniak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


This paper reviews the literature concerning executive control impairments in degenerative dementias. The construct of executive control functioning is examined, as is the neuroanatomy of frontal-subcortical networks, believed to underlie executive function (EF) impairments. The pattern of EF impairments in Alzheimer's disease (AD) which affects temporal and parietal brain regions most severely is contrasted with observed executive dysfunctions in patients with dementias involving degeneration of primarily frontal and frontal-subcortical brain areas. EF impairments are present in each of these types of dementing illnesses. Although EF impairments are present in AD, they are less prominent than the memory disorder in the neuropsychological profile of the disease and tend to become more pronounced later in the course of the illness. In contrast, patients with frontal or frontal-subcortical dementia may demonstrate executive dysfunction, which occurs earlier in the disease progression and may be initially more severe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-99
Number of pages25
JournalNeuropsychology Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Executive function
  • Frontal lobe dementia
  • Frontal lobes
  • Neuropsychology
  • Subcortical dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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