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Open Access Open Badges Case report

Abulia following penetrating brain injury during endoscopic sinus surgery with disruption of the anterior cingulate circuit: Case report

Alexander A Grunsfeld and Ivan S Login*

Author affiliations

Department of Neurology, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Virginia, 22908, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Neurology 2006, 6:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-6-4

Published: 23 January 2006



It is common knowledge that the frontal lobes mediate complex human behavior and that damage to these regions can cause executive dysfunction, apathy, disinhibition and personality changes. However, it is less well known that subcortical structures such as the caudate and thalamus are part of functionally segregated fronto-subcortical circuits, that can also alter behavior after injury.

Case presentation

We present a 57 year old woman who suffered penetrating brain injury during endoscopic sinus surgery causing right basal ganglia injury which resulted in an abulic syndrome.


Abulia does not result solely from cortical injury but can occur after disruption anywhere in the anterior cingulate circuit – in the case of our patient, most prominently at the right caudate.