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.
Parkinson’s disease; dementia; rivastigmine; cholinesterase inhibitor
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.
Parkinson's disease; discourse; speech; language; Dementia with Lewy bodies
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.
Parkinson’s; Lewy body; syntactic ambiguity; working memory; frontal
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.
Few studies have examined connected speech in demented and non-demented patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). We assessed the speech production of 35 patients with Lewy body spectrum disorder (LBSD), including non-demented PD patients, patients with PD dementia (PDD), and patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), in a semi-structured narrative speech sample in order to characterize impairments of speech fluency and to determine the factors contributing to reduced speech fluency in these patients. Both demented and non-demented PD patients exhibited reduced speech fluency, characterized by reduced overall speech rate and long pauses between sentences. Reduced speech rate in LBSD correlated with measures of between-utterance pauses, executive functioning, and grammatical comprehension. Regression analyses related non-fluent speech, grammatical difficulty, and executive difficulty to atrophy in frontal brain regions. These findings indicate that multiple factors contribute to slowed speech in LBSD, and this is mediated in part by disease in frontal brain regions.
Parkinson’s disease; speech; language; fluency; dementia with Lewy bodies
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.
Mild cognitive impairment; Diagnostic criteria; Preclinical dementia; Alzheimer's disease; Memory impairment
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.
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.
dementia with lewy bodies; Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease dementia; cognition; neuropsychology
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.
Magnetic resonance based volumetric measures of hippocampal formation, amygdala (A), caudate nucleus (CN), normalised for total intracranial volume (TIV), were analysed in relation to measures of cognitive deterioration and specific features of memory functions in 18 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychological examination included the mini mental state examination (MMSE), the Mattis dementia rating scale (DRS), tests of executive functions, assessment of language abilities and praxis, the Wechsler memory scale (WMS), the California verbal learning test (CVLT) and the Grober and Buschke test. The volume of the hippocampal formation (HF/TIV) was correlated with specific memory variables: memory quotient and paired associates of the WMS; intrusions and discriminability at recognition for the Grober and Buschke test. By contrast, except for intrusions, no correlations were found between memory variables and the volume of amygdala (A/TIV). No correlations were found between the volume of caudate nuclei (CN/TIV) and any neuropsychological score. The volume of the hippocampal formation was therefore selectively related to quantitative and qualitative aspects of memory performance in patients with probable Alzheimer's disease.
Patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders (LBSD) such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) exhibit deficits in both narrative comprehension and narrative expression. The present research examines the hypothesis that these impairments are due to a material-neutral deficit in organizational executive resources rather than to impairments of language per se. We predicted that comprehension and expression of narrative would be similarly affected and that deficits in both expression and comprehension of narrative would be related to the same anatomic distribution of prefrontal disease.
We examined 29 LBSD patients and 26 healthy seniors on their comprehension and expression of narrative discourse. For comprehension, we measured accuracy and latency in judging events with high and low associativity from familiar scripts such as “going fishing.” The expression task involved maintaining the connectedness of events while narrating a story from a wordless picture book.
LBSD patients were impaired on measures of narrative organization during both comprehension and expression relative to healthy seniors. Measures of organization during narrative expression and comprehension were significantly correlated with each other. These measures both correlated with executive measures but not with neuropsychological measures of lexical semantics or grammar. Voxel-based morphometry revealed overlapping regressions relating frontal atrophy to narrative comprehension, narrative expression, and measures of executive control.
Difficulty with narrative discourse in LBSD stems in part from a deficit of organization common to comprehension and expression. This deficit is related to prefrontal cortical atrophy in LBSD.
Parkinson’s disease; speech; language; dementia with Lewy bodies
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.
Cognitive impairment; Inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn’s disease; Depressive symptoms; Ulcerative colitis; Adolescents
Depression in Parkinson's disease (PD) is frequently associated with executive deficits, which can influence nonliteral comprehension and lexical access. This study explores whether depressive symptoms in PD modulate verbal fluency and nonliteral language comprehension. Twelve individuals with PD without depressive symptoms, 13 with PD and depressive symptoms (PDDSs), and 13 healthy controls completed a semantic and phonemic verbal fluency task and an indirect speech acts comprehension task. All groups had the same performance in the phonemic fluency task while the PDDS group was impaired in the semantic task. For the indirect speech act comprehension task, no difference was observed between the groups. However, the PDDS group had difficulty answering direct speech act questions. As some language impairments in PD become apparent when depressive symptoms are associated with the disease, it would appear to be important to take the presence of depressive symptoms into account when evaluating language abilities in PD.
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.
Executive functions; Global cognition; Switching; Prodromal Alzheimer’s disease; Mild cognitive impairment; Prediction
Executive functions describe a wide variety of higher order cognitive processes that allow the flexible modification of thought and behaviour in response to changing cognitive or environmental contexts. Their impairment is common in neurodegenerative disorders. Executive deficits negatively affect everyday activities and hamper the ability to cope with other deficits, such as memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease or behavioural disorders in frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Our study aimed to characterize the neural correlates of executive functions by relating respective deficits to regional hypometabolism in early dementia. Executive functions were assessed with two classical tests, the Stroop and semantic fluency test and various subtests of the behavioural assessment of the dysexecutive syndrome test battery capturing essential aspects of executive abilities relevant to daily living. Impairments in executive functions were correlated with reductions in brain glucose utilization as measured by [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography and analysed voxelwise using statistical parametric mapping in 54 subjects with early dementia, mainly Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and its prodromal stages: subjective and mild cognitive impairment. Although the analysis revealed task-specific frontoparietal networks, it consistently showed that hypometabolism in one region in the left lateral prefrontal cortex—the inferior frontal junction area—was related to performance in the various neuropsychological tests. This brain region has recently been related to the three component processes of cognitive control—working memory, task switching and inhibitory control. Group comparisons additionally showed hypometabolism in this area in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Our study underlines the importance of the inferior frontal junction area for cognitive control in general and for executive deficits in early dementia.
Alzheimer's disease; executive functions; [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose-PET; frontotemporal dementia; inferior frontal junction
Prior work has related sentence processing to executive deficits in non-demented patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). We extended this investigation to patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and PD dementia (PDD) by examining grammatical and working memory components of sentence processing in the full range of patients with Lewy body spectrum disorder (LBSD). Thirty-three patients with LBSD were given a two-alternative, forced-choice sentence-picture matching task. Sentence type, working memory, and grammatical structure were systematically manipulated in the sentences. We found that patients with PDD and DLB were significantly impaired relative to non-demented PD patients and healthy controls. The deficit in PDD/DLB was most pronounced for sentences lengthened by the strategic placement of an additional prepositional phrase and for sentences with an additional proposition due to a center-embedded clause. However, there was no effect for subject-relative versus object-relative grammatical structure. An MRI voxel-based morphometry analysis in a subset of patients showed significant gray matter thinning in the frontal lobe bilaterally, and this extended to temporal, parietal and occipital regions. A regression analysis related sentence processing difficulty in LBSD to frontal neocortex, including inferiorprefrontal, premotor, and dorsolateral prefrontal regions, as well as right superior temporal cortex. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that patients with PDD and DLB have difficulty processing sentences with increased working memory demands and that this deficit is related in part to their frontal disease.
Lewy body; Parkinson’s; sentence processing; working memory; MRI; prefrontal
Dementia is a frequent and devastating complication in Parkinson’s disease (PD). There is an intensive search for biomarkers that may predict the progression from normal cognition (PD-NC) to dementia (PDD) in PD. Mild cognitive impairment in PD (PD-MCI) seems to represent a transitional state between PD-NC and PDD. Few studies have explored the structural changes that differentiate PD-NC from PD-MCI and PDD patients.
Objectives and Methods
We aimed to analyze changes in cortical thickness on 3.0T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) across stages of cognitive decline in a prospective sample of PD-NC (n = 26), PD-MCI (n = 26) and PDD (n = 20) patients, compared to a group of healthy subjects (HC) (n = 18). Cortical thickness measurements were made using the automatic software Freesurfer.
In a sample of 72 PD patients, a pattern of linear and progressive cortical thinning was observed between cognitive groups in cortical areas functionally specialized in declarative memory (entorhinal cortex, anterior temporal pole), semantic knowledge (parahippocampus, fusiform gyrus), and visuoperceptive integration (banks of the superior temporal sulcus, lingual gyrus, cuneus and precuneus). Positive correlation was observed between confrontation naming and thinning in the fusiform gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus and anterior temporal pole; clock copy with thinning of the precuneus, parahippocampal and lingual gyrus; and delayed memory with thinning of the bilateral anteromedial temporal cortex.
The pattern of regional decreased cortical thickness that relates to cognitive deterioration is present in PD-MCI patients, involving areas that play a central role in the storage of prior experiences, integration of external perceptions, and semantic processing.
Twenty five patients with probable mild Alzheimer's disease were assessed for deficits in executive functioning and the impact of these deficits on performance in other neuropsychological domains. The Wisconsin card sorting test, the release from proactive interference paradigm, the verbal fluency test, and the Stroop test were adopted to classify patients with (AD+) and without (AD-) executive deficits. Seven of the patients showed an impairment in executive function (AD+), defined as a performance below the cut off score in at least two of these tests. There were no significant differences in clinical assessments, demographic features, or other cognitive functions between patients. Executive dysfunction may be an early additional feature in a subgroup of patients with mild Alzheimer's disease. Impairment on frontal lobe tests does not seem to be related to the severity or duration of disease, or to a different pattern of impairment in other cognitive domains.
OBJECTIVES--To examine cognitive function in chronic fatigue syndrome. METHODS--Twenty patients with chronic fatigue syndrome recruited from primary care and 20 matched normal controls were given CANTAB computerised tests of visuospatial memory, attention, and executive function, and verbal tests of letter and category fluency and word association learning. RESULTS: Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were impaired, predominantly in the domain of memory but their pattern of performance was unlike that of patients with amnesic syndrome or dementia. They were normal on tests of spatial pattern recognition memory, simultaneous and delayed matching to sample, and pattern-location association learning. They were impaired on tests of spatial span, spatial working memory, and a selective reminding condition of the pattern-location association learning test. An executive test of planning was normal. In an attentional test, eight subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome were unable to learn a response set; the remainder exhibited no impairment in the executive set shifting phase of the test. Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were also impaired on verbal tests of unrelated word association learning and letter fluency. CONCLUSION--Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have reduced attentional capacity resulting in impaired performance on effortful tasks requiring planned or self ordered generation of responses from memory.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a heterogeneous clinical entity that comprises the prodromal phase of Alzheimer's disease (Pr-AD). New biomarkers are useful in detecting Pr-AD, but they are not universally available. We aimed to investigate baseline clinical and neuropsychological variables that might predict progression from MCI to AD dementia.
All patients underwent a complete clinical and neuropsychological evaluation at baseline and every 6 months during a two-year follow-up period, with 54 out of 109 MCI patients progressing to dementia (50 of them progressed to AD dementia), and 55 remaining as stable MCI (S-MCI).
A combination of MMSE and California Verbal Learning Test Long Delayed Total Recall (CVLT-LDTR) constituted the best predictive model: subjects scoring above 26/30 on MMSE and 4/16 on CVLT-LDTR had a negative predictive value of 93.93% at 2 years, whereas those subjects scoring below both of these cut-off scores had a positive predictive value of 80.95%.
Pr-AD might be distinguished from S-MCI at baseline using the combination of MMSE and CVLT-LDTR. These two neuropsychological predictors are relatively brief and may be readily completed in non-specialist clinical settings.
Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) often have cognitive deficits from the time of diagnosis. Except in patients with dementia, the impact of cognitive symptoms on daily function is not well documented. This study had two objectives: (1) to determine the functional significance of cognitive deficits in nondemented patients with PD and (2) to assess the sensitivity of two measures of global cognitive abilities to identify individuals with impaired ADL function. One hundred eleven subjects with PD and a range of cognitive abilities were included. Of these, 20 were diagnosed with PDD. All subjects were assessed with the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale to two (DRS-2) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). ADL function was reported by an informant using the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study Activities of Daily Living Inventory (ADCS-ADL). The ability of the DRS-2 and MMSE to capture the impact of cognitive impairment on ADL function was assessed in the entire cohort and in subsets of nondemented individuals. After adjustment for covariates, cognition as measured by the DRS-2 was strongly related to ADL function in the entire cohort (partial correlation coefficient = 0.55, P < 0.001). The association remained strong when only nondemented subjects were included (r = 0.42, P < 0.001). The DRS-2 was significantly more accurate than the MMSE, particularly for detecting milder degrees of ADL impairment (ROC area = 0.87 vs. 0.75, P = 0.0008). Cognition is associated with impairment in ADL function, even in nondemented patients with PD. However, sensitive cognitive assessment measures may be needed to identify these functionally relevant impairments.
Parkinson's disease; cognitive impairment; ADL
To compare the profile of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease (AD) with dementia associated with Parkinson's disease (PDD).
Neuropsychological assessment was performed in 488 patients with PDD and 488 patients with AD using the Mini‐Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale‐cognitive subscale (ADAS‐cog). Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate whether the diagnosis could be accurately predicted from the cognitive profile. Additionally, the cognitive profiles were compared with a normative group using standardised effect sizes (Cohen's d).
Diagnosis was predicted from the cognitive profile, with an overall accuracy of 74.7%. Poor performance of the AD patients on the orientation test in ADAS‐cog best discriminated between the groups, followed by poor performance of the PDD patients on the attentional task in MMSE. Both groups showed memory impairment, AD patients performing worse than PDD patients.
The cognitive profile in PDD differs significantly from that in AD. Performance on tests of orientation and attention are best in differentiating the groups.
This study is aimed to clarify the association between MDMA cumulative use and cognitive dysfunction, and the potential role of candidate genetic polymorphisms in explaining individual differences in the cognitive effects of MDMA. Gene polymorphisms related to reduced serotonin function, poor competency of executive control and memory consolidation systems, and high enzymatic activity linked to bioactivation of MDMA to neurotoxic metabolites may contribute to explain variations in the cognitive impact of MDMA across regular users of this drug. Sixty ecstasy polydrug users, 110 cannabis users and 93 non-drug users were assessed using cognitive measures of Verbal Memory (California Verbal Learning Test, CVLT), Visual Memory (Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test, ROCFT), Semantic Fluency, and Perceptual Attention (Symbol Digit Modalities Test, SDMT). Participants were also genotyped for polymorphisms within the 5HTT, 5HTR2A, COMT, CYP2D6, BDNF, and GRIN2B genes using polymerase chain reaction and TaqMan polymerase assays. Lifetime cumulative MDMA use was significantly associated with poorer performance on visuospatial memory and perceptual attention. Heavy MDMA users (>100 tablets lifetime use) interacted with candidate gene polymorphisms in explaining individual differences in cognitive performance between MDMA users and controls. MDMA users carrying COMT val/val and SERT s/s had poorer performance than paired controls on visuospatial attention and memory, and MDMA users with CYP2D6 ultra-rapid metabolizers performed worse than controls on semantic fluency. Both MDMA lifetime use and gene-related individual differences influence cognitive dysfunction in ecstasy users.
Background and Purpose
Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is a putative prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD) characterized by deficits in episodic verbal memory. Our goal in the present study was to determine whether executive dysfunction may also be detectable in individuals diagnosed with aMCI.
This study used a hidden maze learning test to characterize component processes of visuospatial executive function and learning in a sample of 62 individuals with aMCI compared with 94 healthy controls.
Relative to controls, individuals with aMCI made more exploratory/learning errors (Cohen's d = .41). Comparison of learning curves revealed that the slope between the first two of five learning trials was four times as steep for controls than for individuals with aMCI (Cohen's d = .64). Individuals with aMCI also made a significantly greater number of rule-break/error monitoring errors across learning trials (Cohen's d = .21).
These results suggest that performance on a task of complex visuospatial executive function is compromised in individuals with aMCI, and likely explained by reductions in initial strategy formulation during early visual learning and “on-line” maintenance of task rules.
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.