Basal Ganglia Calcification in Psychiatric Inpatients: A Case-Control Study

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Background and Objective:

Several case reports have noted basal ganglia calcification (BGC) as an incidental radiologic finding in patients presenting with psychiatric manifestations. In this study, we examined the clinical correlates of mental disorders in two groups of psychiatric patients, one with BGC and one with normal radiologic studies.


In a retrospective cross-sectional case-control study of patients admitted to the psychiatric ward in Al Ain Hospital between January 2011 and December 2013, we compared all 15 patients diagnosed with BGC and 30 control patients who had normal radiologic findings.


The BGC group’s psychiatric symptoms began when they were aged in their 30s and 40s, later than the controls’ 20s and 30s (P=0.001). More of the BGC group than the controls had cognitive symptoms (60% versus 6.7%, P=0.001). The BGC group was more likely to have chronic medical comorbidities (66.7% versus 20%, P=0.003). The BGC group’s mean serum calcium was lower than the controls’ (P=0.003) and the C-reactive protein was higher (P=0.049). We did not find significant differences between the groups in psychiatric diagnoses; five of the 15 patients with BGC had mood disorders and four of the 15 had psychotic disorders.


Patients with BGC tend to develop psychiatric symptoms later in life than other psychiatric patients, and have higher rates of medical comorbidities. Many patients with BGC have cognitive symptoms, which can be concurrent with a mood or psychotic disorder.

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