September 6, 2010
Study Exposes Cognitive Impairment In Parkinson’s Patients
(Ivanhoe Newswire) - 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 towards 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," Douglas Munoz, director of the Queen's Centre for Neuroscience Studies was quoted as saying. "But the issue is that the same circuit can affect more cognitive functions like planning and decision-making."
PhD student Ian Cameron, lead author of the study, says the findings are significant because they highlight how biased Parkinson's patients are towards 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.
SOURCE : Neuropsychologia, September 2010