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1.  Verbal Learning and Memory in Patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies or Parkinson's Disease with Dementia 
This study compared verbal learning and memory in patients with autopsy-confirmed dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and patients with Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD). Twenty-four DLB patients, 24 PDD patients, and 24 normal comparison participants were administered the California Verbal Learning Test. The three groups were matched on demographic variables and the two patient groups were matched on the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. The results indicated that DLB patients recalled less information than PDD patients on all but one recall measure and displayed a more rapid rate of forgetting. In contrast, the PDD patients committed a greater percent of perseveration errors than the DLB patients. The two groups did not differ in the percentage of recall intrusion errors or any measures of recognition. A discriminant function analysis (DFA) using short delay cued recall, percent perseveration errors, and list b recall, differentiated the DLB and PDD groups with 81.3% accuracy. The application of the DFA algorithm to another sample of 42 PDD patients resulted in a 78.6% correct classification rate. The results suggest that, despite equivalent levels of general cognitive impairment, patients with DLB or PDD exhibit a different pattern of verbal learning and memory deficits.
PMCID: PMC2935683  PMID: 19221922
2.  Dementia with Lewy Bodies versus Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease Dementia: A Comparison of Cognitive Profiles 
Background and Purpose
It is particularly difficult to differentiate dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) from the related dementias of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD). Few studies have been designed to comparatively analyze detailed neuropsychological assessments of DLB patients and patients with AD and PDD.
Three groups of patients participated in this study: 10 with DLB, 76 with AD, and 17 with PDD, who had been diagnosed as probable DLB, AD, and PDD, respectively, according to the clinical criteria of the consortium on DLB, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Diseases and Stroke/Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorder Association, and the clinical diagnostic criteria for PDD. All patients were evaluated by careful neurological examination with detailed neuropsychological testing.
Significant differences among the three groups were found for attention, memory, and executive function, which included tasks of backward digit span, three-word recall, verbal delayed recall, and the Stroop test. Post hoc analysis revealed that the deficiencies of attention on the digit span task were greater in the DLB group than in the AD and PDD groups. The scores for episodic verbal memory tasks were significantly lower in the DLB and AD groups than in the PDD group. The performance in frontal executive function, as indicated by the Stroop test, was significantly worse in the DLB and PDD groups than in the AD group.
The results of the present study show that the pattern of cognitive dysfunction, in terms of attention, episodic memory, and executive functions, differ between patients with DLB and patients with AD and PDD.
PMCID: PMC3079155  PMID: 21519522
dementia with lewy bodies; Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease dementia; cognition; neuropsychology
3.  Rivastigmine for the treatment of dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) afflicts millions of people worldwide and leads to cognitive impairment or dementia in the majority of patients over time. Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) is characterized by deficits in attention, executive and visuospatial function, and memory. The clinical diagnostic criteria and neuropathology surrounding PDD remain controversial with evidence of overlap among PDD, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Cortical cholinergic deficits are greater in PDD than in AD, and are well-correlated with the cognitive and neuropsychiatric dysfunction that occurs in PDD. Inhibition of acetylcholine metabolism is therefore a practical therapeutic strategy in PDD.
This review examines current evidence for rivastigmine (a cholinesterase/butyrylcholinesterase inhibitor) treatment in PDD. In addition to its efficacy, we examine the safety profile, side effects, and cost effectiveness of rivastigmine in PDD. Rivastigmine provides modest benefit in PDD and further long-term studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of rivastigmine over time. Tolerability is a problem for many PDD patients treated with rivastigmine. Future studies of rivastigmine in PDD should focus on pragmatic outcomes such as time to need for nursing home placement, pharmacoeconomic outcomes and simultaneous patient/caregiver quality of life assessments.
PMCID: PMC2656320  PMID: 19300613
Parkinson’s disease; dementia; rivastigmine; cholinesterase inhibitor
4.  Dissociations among daytime sleepiness, nighttime sleep, and cognitive status in Parkinson’s disease 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2013;19(9):806-811.
Daytime and nighttime sleep disturbances and cognitive impairment occur frequently in Parkinson’s disease (PD), but little is known about the interdependence of these non-motor complications. Thus, we examined the relationships among excessive daytime sleepiness, nighttime sleep quality and cognitive impairment in PD, including severity and specific cognitive deficits.
Ninety-three PD patients underwent clinical and neuropsychological evaluations including the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Patients were classified as having normal cognition (PD-NC), mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), or dementia (PDD) using recently proposed Movement Disorder Society PD-MCI and PDD criteria. Relationships between the sleep and cognitive measures and PD cognitive groups were examined.
The PD cohort included PD-NC (n=28), PD-MCI (n=40), and PDD (n=25) patients. ESS scores, as a measure of daytime sleepiness, were significantly worse (p=0.005) in cognitively impaired PD patients, particularly PDD patients. ESS scores correlated significantly with Mini-Mental State Examination scores and also with cognitive domain scores for attention/working memory, executive function, memory, and visuospatial function. In contrast, PSQI scores, as a measure of nighttime sleep quality, neither differed among cognitive groups nor correlated with any cognitive measures.
Daytime sleepiness in PD, but not nighttime sleep problems, is associated with cognitive impairment in PD, especially in the setting of dementia, and attention/working memory, executive function, memory, and visuospatial deficits. The presence of nighttime sleep problems is pervasive across the PD cognitive spectrum, from normal cognition to dementia, and is not independently associated with cognitive impairment or deficits in cognitive domains.
PMCID: PMC3729741  PMID: 23735187
Dementia; Excessive daytime sleepiness; Executive function; MCI (mild cognitive impairment); Parkinson’s disease; Sleep disorders
5.  CLOX: an executive clock drawing task 
OBJECTIVE—To describe a clock drawing task (CLOX) designed to elicit executive impairment and discriminate it from non-executive constructional failure.
SUBJECTS—90 elderly subjects were studied (45 elderly and well persons from the independent living apartments of a continuing care retirement community and 45 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease). The clock drawing performance of elderly patients was compared with that of 62 young adult controls.
METHODS—Subjects received the CLOX, an executive test (EXIT25), and the mini mental state examination (MMSE). The CLOX is divided into an unprompted task that is sensitive to executive control (CLOX1) and a copied version that is not (CLOX2). Between rater reliability (27 subjects) was high for both subtests.
RESULTS—In elderly subjects, CLOX subscores correlated strongly with cognitive severity (CLOX1: r=−0.83 v the EXIT25; CLOX2: r=0.85 v the MMSE). EXIT25 and MMSE scores predicted CLOX1 scores independently of age or education (F(4,82)=50.7, p<0.001; R2=0.71). The EXIT25 accounted for 68% of CLOX1 variance. Only the MMSE significantly contributed to CLOX2 scores (F(4,72)= 57.2,p<0.001; R2=0.74). CLOX subscales discriminated between patients with Alzheimer's disease and elderly controls (83.1% of cases correctly classified; Wilkes' lambda=0.48, p<0.001), and between Alzheimer's disease subgroups with and without constructional impairment (91.9% of cases correctly classified; Wilkes' lambda=0.31, p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS—The CLOX is an internally consistent measure that is easy to administer and displays good inter-rater reliability. It is strongly associated with cognitive test scores. The pattern of CLOX failures may discriminate clinical dementia subgroups.

PMCID: PMC2170069  PMID: 9598672
6.  Validity of the MoCA and MMSE in the detection of MCI and dementia in Parkinson disease 
Neurology  2009;73(21):1738-1745.
Due to the high prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia in Parkinson disease (PD), routine cognitive screening is important for the optimal management of patients with PD. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is more sensitive than the commonly used Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in detecting MCI and dementia in patients without PD, but its validity in PD has not been established.
A representative sample of 132 patients with PD at 2 movement disorders centers was administered the MoCA, MMSE, and a neuropsychological battery with operationalized criteria for deficits. MCI and PD dementia (PDD) criteria were applied by an investigator blinded to the MoCA and MMSE results. The discriminant validity of the MoCA and MMSE as screening and diagnostic instruments was ascertained.
Approximately one third of the sample met diagnostic criteria for a cognitive disorder (12.9% PDD and 17.4% MCI). Mean (SD) MoCA and MMSE scores were 25.0 (3.8) and 28.1 (2.0). The overall discriminant validity for detection of any cognitive disorder was similar for the MoCA and the MMSE (receiver operating characteristic area under the curve [95% confidence interval]): MoCA (0.79 [0.72, 0.87]) and MMSE (0.76 [0.67, 0.85]), but as a screening instrument the MoCA (optimal cutoff point = 26/27, 64% correctly diagnosed, lack of ceiling effect) was superior to the MMSE (optimal cutoff point = 29/30, 54% correctly diagnosed, presence of ceiling effect).
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment, but not the Mini-Mental State Examination, has adequate psychometric properties as a screening instrument for the detection of mild cognitive impairment or dementia in Parkinson disease. However, a positive screen using either instrument requires additional assessment due to suboptimal specificity at the recommended screening cutoff point.
= Alzheimer disease;
= area under the curve;
= deep brain stimulation;
= Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition;
= Geriatric Depression Scale;
= Hopkins Verbal Learning Test;
= instrumental activities of daily living;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= Montreal Cognitive Assessment;
= negative predictive value;
= Parkinson disease;
= Parkinson disease dementia;
= positive predictive value;
= quality of life;
= receiver operating characteristic;
= Tower of London-Drexel;
= Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale.
PMCID: PMC2788810  PMID: 19933974
7.  Comparison of Four Verbal Memory Tests for the Diagnosis and Predictive Value of Mild Cognitive Impairment 
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered to be an early stage of a neurodegenerative disorder, particularly Alzheimer's disease, and the clinical diagnosis requires the objective demonstration of cognitive deficits. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the predictive value of MCI for the conversion to dementia when using four different verbal memory tests (Logical Memory, LM; California Verbal Learning Test, CVLT; Verbal Paired-Associate Learning, VPAL; and Digit Span, DS) in the MCI criteria.
Participants were consecutive patients with subjective cognitive complaints who performed a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation and were not demented, observed in a memory clinic setting.
At baseline, 272 non-demented patients reporting subjective cognitive complaints were included. During the follow-up time (3.0 ± 1.9 years), 58 patients converted to dementia and 214 did not. Statistically significant differences between the converters and non-converters were present in LM, VPAL, and CVLT. A multivariate Cox regression analysis combining the four memory tests revealed that only the CVLT test remained significant as a predictor of conversion to dementia. Non-demented patients with cognitive complaints diagnosed as having MCI according to abnormal (<1.5 SD) learning in the CVLT test had a 3.61 higher risk of becoming demented during the follow-up.
The verbal memory assessment using the CVLT should be preferred in the diagnostic criteria of MCI for a more accurate prediction of conversion to dementia.
PMCID: PMC3347876  PMID: 22590473
Mild cognitive impairment; Diagnostic criteria; Preclinical dementia; Alzheimer's disease; Memory impairment
8.  Performance on the dementia rating scale in Parkinson's disease with dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies: comparison with progressive supranuclear palsy and Alzheimer's disease 
Background: The relation between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD) is unknown.
Objectives: To compare the cognitive profiles of patients with DLB and PDD, and compare those with the performance of patients with a subcortical dementia (progressive supranuclear palsy) and a cortical dementia (Alzheimer's disease).
Design: Survey of cognitive features.
Setting: General community in Rogaland county, Norway, and a university dementia and movement disorder research centre in the USA.
Patients: 60 patients with DLB, 35 with PDD, 49 with progressive supranuclear palsy, and 29 with Alzheimer's disease, diagnosed by either standardised clinical procedures and criteria (all PDD and Alzheimer cases and 76% of cases of progressive supranuclear palsy), or necropsy (all DLB cases and 24% of cases of progressive supranuclear palsy). Level of dementia severity was matched using the total score on the dementia rating scale adjusted for age and education.
Main outcome measures: Dementia rating scale subscores corrected for age.
Results: No significant differences between the dementia rating scale subscores in the PDD and DLB groups were found in the severely demented patients; in patients with mild to moderate dementia the conceptualisation subscore was higher in PDD than in DLB (p = 0.03). Compared with Alzheimer's disease, PDD and DLB had higher memory subscores (p < 0.001) but lower initiation and perseveration (p = 0.008 and p=0.021) and construction subscores (p = 0.009 and p = 0.001). DLB patients had a lower conceptualisation subscore (p = 0.004). Compared with progressive supranuclear palsy, PDD and DLB patients had lower memory subscores (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The cognitive profiles of patients with DLB and PDD were similar, but they differed from those of patients with Alzheimer's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. The cognitive pattern in DLB and PDD probably reflects the superimposition of subcortical deficits upon deficits typically associated with Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC1738667  PMID: 12933921
9.  Imaging amyloid deposition in Lewy body diseases 
Neurology  2008;71(12):903-910.
Extrapyramidal motor symptoms precede dementia in Parkinson disease (PDD) by many years, whereas dementia occurs early in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Despite this clinical distinction, the neuropsychological and neuropathologic features of these conditions overlap. In addition to widespread distribution of Lewy bodies, both diseases have variable burdens of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles characteristic of Alzheimer disease (AD).
To determine whether amyloid deposition, as assessed by PET imaging with the β-amyloid–binding compound Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB), can distinguish DLB from PDD, and to assess whether regional patterns of amyloid deposition correlate with specific motor or cognitive features.
Eight DLB, 7 PDD, 11 Parkinson disease (PD), 15 AD, and 37 normal control (NC) subjects underwent PiB-PET imaging and neuropsychological assessment. Amyloid burden was quantified using the PiB distribution volume ratio.
Cortical amyloid burden was higher in the DLB group than in the PDD group, comparable to the AD group. Amyloid deposition in the PDD group was low, comparable to the PD and NC groups. Relative to global cortical retention, occipital PiB retention was lower in the AD group than in the other groups. For the DLB, PDD, and PD groups, amyloid deposition in the parietal (lateral and precuneus)/posterior cingulate region was related to visuospatial impairment. Striatal PiB retention in the DLB and PDD groups was associated with less impaired motor function.
Global cortical amyloid burden is high in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but low in Parkinson disease dementia. These data suggest that β-amyloid may contribute selectively to the cognitive impairment of DLB and may contribute to the timing of dementia relative to the motor signs of parkinsonism.
= Automated Anatomic Labeling;
= Alzheimer disease;
= Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center;
= American version of the National Adult Reading Test;
= analysis of covariance;
= Blessed Dementia Scale;
= cerebral amyloid angiopathy;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= distribution volume ratio;
= Cued Selective Reminding Test;
= Free Selective Reminding Test;
= Hoehn and Yahr;
= Massachusetts General Hospital;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= normal control;
= neurofibrillary tangle;
= Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire;
= not significant;
= Parkinson disease;
= Parkinson disease dementia;
= Pittsburgh Compound B;
= region of interest;
= Statistical Parametric Mapping;
= UK Parkinson’s Disease Society Brain Bank Research Center;
= United Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale;
= Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Revised.
PMCID: PMC2637553  PMID: 18794492
10.  The Organization of Narrative Discourse in Lewy Body Spectrum Disorder 
Brain and language  2011;119(1):30-41.
Narrative discourse is an essential component of day-to-day communication, but little is known about narrative in Lewy Body spectrum disorder (LBSD), including Parkinson's disease (PD), Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We performed a detailed analysis of a semi-structured speech sample in 32 non-aphasic patients with LBSD, and we related their narrative impairments to gray matter (GM) atrophy using voxel-based morphometry. We found that patients with PDD and DLB have significant difficulty organizing their narrative speech. This was correlated with deficits on measures of executive functioning and speech fluency. Regression analyses associated this deficit with reduced cortical volume in inferior frontal and anterior cingulate regions. These findings are consistent with a model of narrative discourse that includes executive as well as language components and with an impairment of the organizational component of narrative discourse in patients with PDD and DLB.
PMCID: PMC3163000  PMID: 21689852
Parkinson's disease; discourse; speech; language; Dementia with Lewy bodies
11.  Cognitive effects of dopamine depletion in the context of diminished acetylcholine signaling capacity in mice 
Disease Models & Mechanisms  2012;6(1):171-183.
A subset of patients with Parkinson’s disease acquires a debilitating dementia characterized by severe cognitive impairments (i.e. Parkinson’s disease dementia; PDD). Brains from PDD patients show extensive cholinergic loss as well as dopamine (DA) depletion. We used a mutant mouse model to directly test whether combined cholinergic and DA depletion leads to a cognitive profile resembling PDD. Mice carrying heterozygous deletion of the high-affinity, hemicholinium-3-sensitive choline transporter (CHTHET) show reduced levels of acetylcholine throughout the brain. We achieved bilateral DA depletion in CHTHET and wild-type (WT) littermates via intra-striatal infusion of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), or used vehicle as control. Executive function and memory were evaluated using rodent versions of cognitive tasks commonly used with human subjects: the set-shifting task and spatial and novel-object recognition paradigms. Our studies revealed impaired acquisition of attentional set in the set-shifting paradigm in WT-6OHDA and CHTHET-vehicle mice that was exacerbated in the CHTHET-6OHDA mice. The object recognition test following a 24-hour delay was also impaired in CHTHET-6OHDA mice compared with all other groups. Treatment with acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors physostigmine (0.05 or 0.1 mg/kg) and donepezil (0.1 and 0.3 mg/kg) reversed the impaired object recognition of the CHTHET-6OHDA mice. Our data demonstrate an exacerbated cognitive phenotype with dual ACh and DA depletion as compared with either insult alone, with traits analogous to those observed in PDD patients. The results suggest that combined loss of DA and ACh could be sufficient for pathogenesis of specific cognitive deficits in PDD.
PMCID: PMC3529349  PMID: 22864020
12.  Impairment of script comprehension in Lewy body spectrum disorders 
Brain and language  2013;125(3):330-343.
A disabling impairment of higher-order language function can be seen in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD), Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We focus on script comprehension in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders. While scripts unfold sequentially, constituent events are thought to contain an internal organization. Executive dysfunction in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders may interfere with comprehension of this internal structure. We examined 42 patients (30 non-demented PD and 12 mildly demented PDD/DLB patients) and 12 healthy seniors. We presented 22 scripts (e.g., “going fishing”), each consisting of six events. Pilot data from young controls provided the basis for organizing associated events into clusters and arranging them hierarchically into scripts. We measured accuracy and latency to judge the order of adjacent events in the same cluster versus adjacent events in different clusters. PDD/DLB patients were less accurate in their ordering judgments than PD patients and controls. Healthy seniors and PD patients were significantly faster to judge correctly the order of highly associated within-cluster event pairs relative to less closely associated different-cluster event pairs, while PDD/DLB patients did not consistently distinguish between these event-pair types. This relative insensitivity to the clustered-hierarchical organization of events was related to executive impairment and to frontal atrophy as measured by volumetric MRI. These findings extend prior work on script processing to patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders and highlight the potential impact of frontal/executive dysfunction on the daily lives of affected patients.
PMCID: PMC3940934  PMID: 23566691
Parkinson's disease; Parkinson's disease dementia; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Frontal cortex; Executive function; Scripts; Organization; Discourse; Volumetric MRI
13.  Cognitive functioning and depressive symptoms in adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease 
AIM: To investigate cognitive functioning and depressive symptoms in adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
METHODS: A neuropsychological test battery, including subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised and III, Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised, California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), Stroop Color-Word Test, and Trail Making Test, which assessed verbal and visual short- and long-term memory, processing speed, logical reasoning, verbal intelligence, attention, and executive functioning, was administered to 13- to 19-year-old patients with IBD (n = 34; active disease n = 20). Depressive symptoms were measured with the Beck Depression Inventory. The findings were compared with peers with non-acute juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA; n = 23). Patients with coexisting psychiatric disorders were excluded.
RESULTS: The IBD group, especially patients in the acute phase, made more perseverative errors in the CVLT test that assessed verbal memory than the JIA group (6.0 ± 4.3 vs 3.3 ± 2.9, P < 0.01), but no other differences between the IBD and JIA groups were observed in the neuropsychological tests. The difference was close to statistical significance, even when glucocorticoid medication was controlled for (P < 0.052). The IBD group had more depressive symptoms than the JIA group (7.9 ± 7.6 vs 4.0 ± 4.0, P < 0.05). Approximately one third of the IBD group had at least mild depressive symptoms, and those with acute illness had the highest scores. However, depressive symptoms were not related to the difference in the verbal memory test (perseverative errors in the CVLT) between the IBD and JIA groups.
CONCLUSION: Adolescents with acute IBD may have mild verbal memory problems but no major cognitive deficits compared to peers with JIA.
PMCID: PMC3602478  PMID: 23538788
Cognitive impairment; Inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn’s disease; Depressive symptoms; Ulcerative colitis; Adolescents
14.  Dementia in Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS): Comparison with Alzheimer’s Disease 
Neurocognitive deficits in fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) involve attentional control, working memory, executive functioning, and declarative and procedural learning. To date, no studies comparing FXTAS with other dementias have been done. We characterize the dementia in FXTAS, comparing it with Alzheimer’s disease.
Retrospective chart review of 68 adults (50 men, 18 women) with FXTAS. 20 men with FXTAS dementia were matched by age, gender, and education to patients with mild Alzheimer's dementia (AD). Neuropsychological measures were compared between the two groups: Boston Naming Test (BNT), phonemic fluency (Controlled Oral Word Association Test), digit span forward (DSF) and backward (DSB). Comparisons were based on analysis of covariance and t-tests to assess significant differences between groups with respect to the neuropsychological measures.
50% of men with FXTAS and no women were cognitively impaired. On mean scores of verbal fluency (22.83 in FXTAS vs. 28.83 in AD, p = 0.112), working memory (DSB, 4.80 in AD vs. 5.41 in FXTAS, p = 0.359), and language (BNT, 48.54 in AD vs. 54.20 in FXTAS, p = 0.089), there were no significant differences. Digit span forward, measuring attention, was significantly higher in subjects with FXTAS dementia (8.59, vs. 7.10 in AD, p = 0.010).
Individuals with FXTAS have significant cognitive deficits, on the order of those in AD although the cognitive profiles in these dementias are not similar. Further research is needed to outline the neuropsychiatric profile in FXTAS and the correlation of genetic markers with the progression and severity of cognitive loss.
PMCID: PMC2898561  PMID: 18384046
15.  Diagnosis and management of Parkinson's disease dementia 
Parkinson's disease (PD) has long been considered predominantly a motor disorder. However, its frequent association with dementia, which contributes significantly to the morbidity and mortality of the condition, is gaining increasing recognition. PD dementia (PDD) has a unique clinical profile and neuropathology, distinct from Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cholinergic deficits, a feature of both AD and PDD, underlie the rationale for cholinesterase inhibitor therapy in both conditions. In clinical practice, it is important that PDD should be recognised and appropriately treated. This review aims to outline the recently proposed clinical diagnostic criteria for PDD and to summarise the guidelines/recommendations published since 2006 on the use of cholinesterase inhibitors in the management of PDD. Although the cholinesterase inhibitor rivastigmine has recently been approved for the management of PDD, there remains a need for the development of novel therapies that can affect key mechanisms of the disease or prevent/delay patients with PD and mild cognitive impairment from progressing to PDD.
PMCID: PMC2658001  PMID: 18822028
16.  Grey Matter Changes in Cognitively Impaired Parkinson's Disease Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85595.
Cortical changes associated with cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease (PD) are not fully explored and require investigations with established diagnostic classification criteria.
We used MRI source-based morphometry to evaluate specific differences in grey matter volume patterns across 4 groups of subjects: healthy controls (HC), PD with normal cognition (PD-NC), PD with mild cognitive impairment (MCI-PD) and PD with dementia (PDD).
We examined 151 consecutive subjects: 25 HC, 75 PD-NC, 29 MCI-PD, and 22 PDD at an Italian and Czech movement disorder centre. Operational diagnostic criteria were applied to classify MCI-PD and PDD. All structural MRI images were processed together in the Czech centre. The spatial independent component analysis was used to assess group differences of local grey matter volume.
We identified two independent patterns of grey matter volume deviations: a) Reductions in the hippocampus and temporal lobes; b) Decreases in fronto-parietal regions and increases in the midbrain/cerebellum. Both patterns differentiated PDD from all other groups and correlated with visuospatial deficits and letter verbal fluency, respectively. Only the second pattern additionally differentiated PD-NC from HC.
Grey matter changes in PDD involve areas associated with Alzheimer-like pathology while fronto-parietal abnormalities are possibly an early marker of PD cognitive decline. These findings are consistent with a non-linear cognitive progression in PD.
PMCID: PMC3897481  PMID: 24465612
17.  Imaging amyloid deposition in Lewy body diseases 
Neurology  2008;71(12):903-910.
Extrapyramidal motor symptoms precede dementia in Parkinson disease (PDD) by many years, whereas dementia occurs early in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Despite this clinical distinction, the neuropsychological and neuropathologic features of these conditions overlap. In addition to widespread distribution of Lewy bodies, both diseases have variable burdens of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles characteristic of Alzheimer disease (AD).
To determine whether amyloid deposition, as assessed by PET imaging with the β-amyloid–binding compound Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB), can distinguish DLB from PDD, and to assess whether regional patterns of amyloid deposition correlate with specific motor or cognitive features.
Eight DLB, 7 PDD, 11 Parkinson disease (PD), 15 AD, and 37 normal control (NC) subjects underwent PiB-PET imaging and neuropsychological assessment. Amyloid burden was quantified using the PiB distribution volume ratio.
Cortical amyloid burden was higher in the DLB group than in the PDD group, comparable to the AD group. Amyloid deposition in the PDD group was low, comparable to the PD and NC groups. Relative to global cortical retention, occipital PiB retention was lower in the AD group than in the other groups. For the DLB, PDD, and PD groups, amyloid deposition in the parietal (lateral and precuneus)/posterior cingulate region was related to visuospatial impairment. Striatal PiB retention in the DLB and PDD groups was associated with less impaired motor function.
Global cortical amyloid burden is high in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but low in Parkinson disease dementia. These data suggest that β-amyloid may contribute selectively to the cognitive impairment of DLB and may contribute to the timing of dementia relative to the motor signs of parkinsonism.
PMCID: PMC2637553  PMID: 18794492
Brain and Language  2011;120(1):52-60.
While grammatical aspects of language are preserved, executive deficits are prominent in Lewy body spectrum disorder (LBSD), including Parkinson’s disease (PD), Parkinson’s dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We examined executive control during sentence processing in LBSD by assessing temporary structural ambiguities. Using an on-line word detection procedure, patients heard sentences with a syntactic structure that has high-compatibility or low-compatibility with the main verb’s statistically preferred syntactic structure, and half of the sentences were lengthened strategically between the onset of the ambiguity and its resolution. We found selectively slowed processing of lengthened ambiguous sentences in the PDD/DLB subgroup. This correlated with impairments on measures of executive control. Regression analyses related the working memory deficit during ambiguous sentence processing to significant cortical thinning in frontal and parietal regions. These findings emphasize the role of prefrontal disease in the executive limitations that interfere with processing ambiguous sentences in LBSD.
PMCID: PMC3253921  PMID: 21962945
Parkinson’s; Lewy body; syntactic ambiguity; working memory; frontal
19.  Verbal memory is associated with structural hippocampal changes in newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease 
Background and objective
Cognitive impairment, including impairment of episodic memory, is frequently found in newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease (PD). In this longitudinal observational study we investigated whether performance in memory encoding, retention, recognition and free recall is associated with reduced hippocampal radial distance.
We analysed baseline T1-weighted brain MRI data from 114 PD subjects without cognitive impairment, 29 PD subjects with mild cognitive impairment and 99 normal controls from the ParkWest study. Age- and education-predicted scores for the California Verbal Learning Test 2 (CVLT-2) and tests of executive function were regressed against hippocampal radial distance while adjusting for imaging centre.
There was no association between encoding or performance on executive tests and hippocampal atrophy in the PD group. In the full PD sample we found bilaterally significant associations between lower delayed free recall scores and hippocampal atrophy in the CA1, CA3 and subiculum area (left, p=0.0013; right, p=0.0082). CVLT-2 short delay free recall scores were associated with bilateral hippocampal CA1 and subicular atrophy in the full PD sample (left, p=0.013; right, p=0.047). CVLT-2 recognition scores showed a significant association with right-sided subicular and CA1 atrophy in the full PD sample (p=0.043).
At the time of PD diagnosis, subjects’ verbal memory performance in recall and recognition are associated with atrophy of the hippocampus, while encoding is not associated with hippocampal radial distance. We postulate that impaired recall and recognition might reflect deficient memory consolidation at least partly due to structural hippocampal changes.
PMCID: PMC4041694  PMID: 23154124
20.  Memory, Mood, and Vitamin D in Persons with Parkinson’s Disease 
Journal of Parkinson's disease  2013;3(4):547-555.
Research in recent years has suggested a role of vitamin D in the central nervous system. The final converting enzyme and the vitamin D receptor are found throughout the human brain. From animal studies vitamin D appears important in neurodevelopment, up-regulation of neurotrophic factors, stabilization of mitochondrial function, and antioxidation.
To examine the relationship between serum vitamin D and neuropsychiatric function in persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
This is an add-on study to a longitudinal study following neuropsychiatric function in persons with PD. Baseline neuropsychiatric performance and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D were examined for 286 participants with PD. Measures of global cognitive function (MMSE, MOCA, Mattis Dementia Scale), verbal memory (Hopkins Verbal Learning Test), fluency (animals, vegetables, and FAS words), visuospatial function (Benton Line Orientation), executive function (Trails Making Test and Digit-Symbol Substitution), PD severity (Hoehn & Yahr and Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale) and depression (Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)) were administered. Multivariate linear regression assessed the association between vitamin D concentration and neuropsychiatric function, in the entire cohort as well as the non-demented and demented subsets.
Using a multivariate model, higher vitamin concentrations were associated with better performance on numerous neuropsychiatric tests in the non-demented subset of the cohort. Significant associations were specifically found between vitamin D concentration and verbal fluency and verbal memory (t = 4.31, p < 0.001 and t = 3.04, p = 0.0083). Vitamin D concentrations also correlated with depression scores (t =−3.08, p = 0.0083) in the non-demented subset.
Higher plasma vitamin D is associated with better cognition and better mood in this sample of PD patients without dementia. Determination of causation will require a vitamin D intervention study.
PMCID: PMC3966187  PMID: 24081441
Parkinson’s disease; vitamin D; dementia; depression; cognition
21.  Analysis of the Substantia Innominata Volume in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease with Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and Alzheimer’s Disease 
Journal of Movement Disorders  2011;4(2):68-72.
Background and Purpose
The substantia innominata (SI) contains the nucleus basalis of Meynert, which is the major source of cholinergic input to the cerebral cortex. We hypothesized that degeneration of the SI and its relationship to general cognitive performance differs in amyloidopathy and synucleinopathy.
We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based volumetric analysis to evaluate the SI volume in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease-mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), PD with dementia (PDD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and healthy elderly controls. The correlation between SI volume and general cognitive performance, measured using the Korean version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (K-MMSE), was examined.
Compared to control subjects, the mean normalized SI volume was significantly decreased in all of the other groups. The normalized SI volume did not differ between the subjects with PDD and DLB, whereas it was significantly smaller in subjects with PDD (p = 0.029) and DLB (p = 0.011) compared with AD. In subjects with PD-related cognitive impairment (PD-MCI, PDD, or DLB), there was a significant positive correlation between the SI volume and K-MMSE score (r = 0.366, p < 0.001), whereas no correlation was seen in subjects with AD-related cognitive impairment (aMCI or AD).
Our data suggest that the SI loss is greater in synucleinopathy-related dementia (PDD or DLB) than in AD and that the contribution of the SI to cognitive performance is greater in synucleinopathy than in amyloidopathy.
PMCID: PMC4027689  PMID: 24868398
The substantia innominata; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease-related cognitive dysfunction
22.  Specific Measures of Executive Function Predict Cognitive Decline in Older Adults 
Decline in executive function has been noted in the prodromal stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and may presage more global cognitive declines. In this prospective longitudinal study, five measures of executive function were used to predict subsequent global cognitive decline in initially nondemented older adults. Of 71 participants, 15 demonstrated significant decline over a 1-year period on the Dementia Rating Scale (Mattis, 1988) and the remaining participants remained stable. In the year before decline, the decline group performed significantly worse than the no-decline group on two measures of executive function: the Color-Word Interference Test (CWIT; inhibition/switching condition) and Verbal Fluency (VF; switching condition). In contrast, decliners and non-decliners performed similarly on measures of spatial fluency (Design Fluency switching condition), spatial planning (Tower Test), and number-letter switching (Trail Making Test switching condition). Furthermore, the CWIT inhibition-switching measure significantly improved the prediction of decline and no-decline group classification beyond that of learning and memory measures. These findings suggest that some executive function measures requiring inhibition and switching provide predictive utility of subsequent global cognitive decline independent of episodic memory and may further facilitate early detection of dementia.
PMCID: PMC3314335  PMID: 22115028
Executive functions; Global cognition; Switching; Prodromal Alzheimer’s disease; Mild cognitive impairment; Prediction
23.  Effect of levodopa on cognitive function in Parkinson's disease with and without dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies 
Levodopa (L‐dopa) is the gold standard treatment for Parkinson's disease, but a lack of clear efficacy combined with a perceived liability to neuropsychiatric side effects has limited L‐dopa use in patients with parkinsonism and dementia. Therefore, the effect of L‐dopa on the cognitive profile of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD) is unclear.
To ascertain the acute and long‐term effects of L‐dopa on aspects of attention and cognition in patients with DLB and PDD, and to compare these with the effects in Parkinson's disease.
Baseline cognitive and motor function was assessed off L‐dopa in patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 22), PDD (n = 27) and DLB (n = 11) using standard “bedside” measures and a computerised programme detecting reaction times and accuracy. All patients then underwent an acute L‐dopa challenge with subsequent subjective and objective analysis of alertness, verbal recall, reaction times and accuracy. The same parameters were measured after 3 months on L‐dopa to assess the prolonged effect.
Acute L‐dopa challenge considerably improved motor function and subjective alertness in all patients without compromising either reaction times or accuracy, but increased fluctuations were noted in both groups with dementia. Neuropsychiatric scores improved in patients with Parkinson's disease both with and without dementia on L‐dopa at 3 months. Although patients with Parkinson's disease also had better mean global cognitive function at this time, mean verbal attention and memory deteriorated, and patients with PDD had slower reaction times in some tests. No patient had a marked deterioration over this time. Patients with DLB did not experience any adverse cognitive or neuropsychiatric effects after 3 months of L‐dopa treatment.
The use of L‐dopa in patients with parkinsonism with dementia does not adversely affect cognitive function.
PMCID: PMC2077405  PMID: 16952917
24.  The Case for Testing Memory with Both Stories and Word Lists Prior to DBS Surgery for Parkinson’s Disease 
The Clinical neuropsychologist  2011;25(3):348-358.
Patients seeking deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery for Parkinson’s disease (PD) typically undergo neuropsychological assessment to determine candidacy for surgery, with poor memory performance interpreted as a contraindication. Patients with PD may exhibit worse memory for word lists than for stories due to the lack of inherent organization in a list of unrelated words. Unfortunately, word list and story tasks are typically developed from different normative datasets, and the existence of a memory performance discrepancy in PD has been challenged. We compared recall of stories and word lists in 35 non-demented PD candidates for DBS. We administered commonly-used neuropsychological measures of word list and story memory (Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, Logical Memory), along with a second word list task that was co-normed with the story task. Age-corrected scores were higher for the story task than for both word list tasks. Compared to story recall, word list recall correlated more consistently with motor severity and composite measures of processing speed, working memory, and executive functioning. These results support the classic view of fronto-subcortical contributions to memory in PD and suggest that executive deficits may influence word list recall more than story recall. We recommend a multi-componential memory battery in the neuropsychological assessment of DBS candidates to characterize both mesial temporal and frontal-executive memory processes. One should not rely solely on a word list task because patients exhibiting poor memory for word lists may perform better with stories and therefore deserve an interdisciplinary discussion for DBS surgery.
PMCID: PMC3077807  PMID: 21491347
25.  Visual recognition memory differentiates dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia 
To compare cognitive impairments in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), to discriminate between the two entities.
10 DLB and 12 PDD consecutive patients performed a neuropsychological battery designed to assess several cognitive domains: verbal and visual memory (Delayed Matching to Sample (DMS)‐48), language, gnosia, praxia and executive functions.
DLB patients had poorer performances in orientation (p<0.05), Trail Making Test A (p<0.05) and reading of names of colours in the Stroop Test (p<0.05). Their scores were also lower in the visual object recognition memory test (DMS‐48), in both immediate (p<0.05) and delayed recognition (p<0.05). No differences were observed in the other tests.
Despite global similarities in cognitive performances between DLB and PDD patients, we observed important differences: in particular, DMS‐48, a test of visual object recognition memory and visual storage capacity, was poorer in DLB patients.
PMCID: PMC2117680  PMID: 17287240

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