J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 84:544-551 doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-303618
  • Movement disorders
  • Research paper

The Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination for the differential diagnosis and longitudinal assessment of patients with parkinsonian disorders

Open Access
  1. James B Rowe
  1. Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Timothy Rittman, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Herchel Smith Building, Forvie Site, Addenbrooke's Hospital Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0SZ, UK; tr332{at}
  • Received 6 August 2012
  • Revised 28 November 2012
  • Accepted 30 November 2012
  • Published Online First 8 January 2013


Objective Differentiating idiopathic Parkinson's disease from atypical parkinsonian syndromes is challenging, especially in the early stages. We assessed whether the Revised Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (ACE-R) could differentiate between parkinsonian syndromes and reflect longitudinal changes in cognition in these disorders.

Methods The ACE-R was administered at baseline and after approximately 18 months to 135 patients with parkinsonian disorders: 86 with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD), 30 with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), 19 with corticobasal degeneration (CBD). We assessed differences between groups for ACE-R, ACE-R subscores and Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores at baseline (analyses of variance, receiver operating characteristics curves), and the interaction between diagnosis and change in ACE-R scores between visits (analyses of variance).

Results The ACE-R verbal fluency subscore distinguished between PSP and PD with a high sensitivity (0.92) and specificity (0.87); total ACE-R score and the visuospatial subscore were less specific (0.87 and 0.84 respectively) and sensitive (0.70 and 0.73). Significant group level differences were found between PD and PSP for MMSE and ACE-R (total score and subscores for attention and concentration, fluency, language, and visuospatial function), and between PD and CBD for the ACE-R visuospatial subscore. Performance worsened between visits for ACE-R score in PD (p=0.001) and CBD (p=0.001); visuospatial subscore in PD (p=0.003), PSP (p=0.022) and CBD (p=0.0002); and MMSE in CBD (p=0.004).

Conclusions We propose the ACE-R, particularly the verbal fluency subscore, as a valuable contributor to the differential diagnosis of parkinsonian syndromes in the correct clinical context. The ACE-R may reflect disease progression in PD and CBD.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

Open Access

Visit the full archive of podcasts for JNNP here >>

Free sample
This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of JNNP.
View free sample issue >>

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article