Psychometric tests, visual reaction time tests and electroencephalograms were performed in 26 cirrhotic patients without overt portal-systemic encephalopathy and in 26 healthy individuals. Cirrhotics performed poorly, compared with controls, on intelligence, learning and memory, perceptual motor and spatial tests. Non-alcoholic scored lower than alcoholic cirrhotics compared with controls in most tests. Visual reaction time ability was lower in cirrhotics than controls, but the etiology of the cirrhosis did not influence the test results. EEG was normal in all subjects. We conclude that psychomotor tests are the most useful tool for the detection of latent encephalopathy and in the discrimination of different cirrhosis.
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