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The basal ganglia in cognitive disorders 

The basal ganglia in cognitive disorders
The basal ganglia in cognitive disorders

James Rowe

and Timothy Rittman

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date: 06 March 2021

The basal ganglia are richly connected with the neocortex, thalamus, and midbrain in support of cognition, affective, and motor control. Neurological diseases affecting them have profound consequences for behaviour and cognition. Their anatomy and functions demonstrate clear principles of organization: pathways from the cortex via basal ganglia to the thalamus provide segregation and integration of information processing through circuits for associative, affective, and motor functions. A dual-circuit model describes direct and indirect pathways between the striatum and thalamus, with distinct anatomy and pharmacology. The cognitive consequences of disease mirror this organization, with selective deficits from many major neurodegenerative diseases. In reviewing the cognitive effects of these diseases and focal lesions, evidence for specific contributions of the basal ganglia to cognition and dementia is presented. However, a neural circuit-based approach provides a more informative account of cognition and informs new approaches to prevent and treat the cognitive consequences of neurological disease.

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