advertisement
Home » News » Parkinson’s Effect on Cognition

Parkinson’s Effect on Cognition

Parkinson’s Effect on CognitionResearchers have learned that Parkinson’s disease can affect thought processes and the acquisition of knowledge.

Interestingly, Queen’s University researchers have found that people with Parkinson’s disease can perform automated tasks better than people without the disease, but have significant difficulty switching from easy to hard tasks.

The findings are a step toward understanding the aspects of the illness that affect the brain’s ability to function on a cognitive level.

“We often think of Parkinson’s disease as being a disorder of motor function,” says Douglas Munoz, director of the Queen’s Centre for Neuroscience Studies.

“But the issue is that the same circuit can affect more cognitive functions like planning and decision-making.”

The researchers conducted an experiment using a sample of Parkinson’s patients and a control group.

When asked to look at a light when it came on, people with Parkinson’s responded with greater accuracy than people without the disease. But when asked to change that behavior – to look away from the light, for instance – Parkinson’s patients struggled.

Even when asked to simply prepare to change their behavior, people with the disease found it incredibly difficult to adjust their plans.

PhD student Ian Cameron, lead author of the study, says the findings are significant because they highlight how biased Parkinson’s patients are toward performing an automated response.

It also suggests that medications currently prescribed to treat the symptoms of the disease that affect motor functioning could further upset a patient’s cognitive balance.

Cameron is now conducting functional brain imaging in Parkinson’s patients to determine which parts of the brain are affected by medications currently used to treat the symptoms of the disease.

The findings were recently published in Neuropsychologia, an international interdisciplinary journal of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience.

Source: Queen’s University

Parkinson’s Effect on Cognition

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Parkinson’s Effect on Cognition. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/09/07/parkinsons-effect-on-cognition/17768.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 7 Jul 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jul 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.