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1.  Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Parkinson’s Disease, Atypical Parkinsonism and Essential Tremor 
Diffusion tensor imaging could be useful in characterizing movement disorders because it non-invasively examines multiple brain regions simultaneously. We report a multi-target imaging approach focused on the basal ganglia and cerebellum in Parkinson’s disease, parkinsonian variant of multiple system atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy, essential tremor, and healthy controls. Seventy-two subjects were studied with a diffusion tensor imaging protocol at 3 Tesla. Receiver operating characteristics analysis was performed to directly compare groups. Sensitivity and specificity values were quantified for control vs. movement disorder (92% sensitivity, 88% specificity), control vs. parkinsonism (93% sensitivity, 91% specificity), Parkinson’s disease vs. atypical parkinsonism (90% sensitivity, 100% specificity), Parkinson’s disease vs. multiple system atrophy (94% sensitivity, 100% specificity), Parkinson’s disease vs. progressive supranuclear palsy (87% sensitivity, 100% specificity), multiple system atrophy vs. progressive supranuclear palsy (90% sensitivity, 100% specificity), and Parkinson’s disease vs. essential tremor (92% sensitivity, 87% specificity). The brain targets varied for each comparison, but the substantia nigra, putamen, caudate, and middle cerebellar peduncle were the most frequently selected brain regions across classifications. These results indicate that using diffusion tensor imaging of the basal ganglia and cerebellum accurately classifies subjects diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, atypical parkinsonism, and essential tremor and clearly distinguishes them from control subjects.
PMCID: PMC3748146  PMID: 23674400
DTI; Parkinsonism; essential tremor; basal ganglia; cerebellum
2.  Differential Diagnosis of Parkinsonism Using Dual-Phase F-18 FP-CIT PET Imaging 
Dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging can demonstrate presynaptic dopaminergic neuronal loss in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, differentiating atypical parkinsonism (APD) from PD is often difficult. We investigated the usefulness of dual-phase F-18 FP-CIT positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in the differential diagnosis of parkinsonism.
Ninety-eight subjects [five normal, seven drug-induced parkinsonism (DIP), five essential tremor (ET), 24 PD, 20 multiple system atrophy-parkinson type (MSA-P), 13 multiple system atrophy-cerebellar type (MSA-C), 13 progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and 11 dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)] underwent F-18 FP-CIT PET. PET images were acquired at 5 min (early phase) and 3 h (late phase) after F-18 FP-CIT administration (185 MBq). Regional uptake pattern of cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres was assessed on early phase images and striatal DAT binding pattern was assessed on late phase images, using visual, quantitative, and statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analyses.
Striatal DAT binding was normal in normal, ET, DIP, and MSA-C groups, but abnormal in PD, MSA-P, PSP, and DLB groups. No difference was found in regional uptake on early phase images among normal DAT binding groups, except in the MSA-C group. Abnormal DAT binding groups showed different regional uptake pattern on early phase images compared with PD in SPM analysis (FDR < 0.05). When discriminating APD from PD, visual interpretation of the early phase image showed high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity (75.4 % and 100 %, respectively). Regarding the ability to distinguish specific APD, sensitivities were 81 % for MSA-P, 77 % for MSA-C, 23 % for PSP, and 54.5 % for DLB.
Dual-phase F-18 FP-CIT PET imaging is useful in demonstrating striatal DAT loss in neurodegenerative parkinsonism, and also in differentiating APD, particularly MSA, from PD.
PMCID: PMC4035208  PMID: 24895507
Atypical parkinsonism; Dual-phase; F-18 FP-CIT; Positron emission tomography; PET
3.  New Perspective on Parkinsonism in Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the second most common type of presenile dementia. Three clinical prototypes have been defined; behavioral variant FTD, semantic dementia, and progressive nonfluent aphasia. Progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, and motor neuron disease may possess clinical and pathological characteristics that overlap with FTD, and it is possible that they may all belong to the same clinicopathological spectrum. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a clinicopathological syndrome that encompasses a heterogenous group of neurodegenerative disorders. Owing to the advancement in the field of molecular genetics, diagnostic imaging, and pathology, FTLD has been the focus of great interest. Nevertheless, parkinsonism in FTLD has received relatively less attention. Parkinsonism is found in approximately 20–30% of patients in FTLD. Furthermore, parkinsonism can be seen in all FTLD subtypes, and some patients with familial and sporadic FTLD can present with prominent parkinsonism. Therefore, there is a need to understand parkinsonism in FTLD in order to obtain a better understanding of the disease. With regard to the clinical characteristics, the akinetic rigid type of parkinsonism has predominantly been described. Parkinsonism is frequently observed in familial FTD, more specifically, in FTD with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17q (FTDP-17). The genes associated with parkinsonism are microtubule associated protein tau (MAPT), progranulin (GRN or PGRN), and chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) repeat expansion. The neural substrate of parkinsonism remains to be unveiled. Dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging revealed decreased uptake of DAT, and imaging findings indicated atrophic changes of the basal ganglia. Parkinsonism can be an important feature in FTLD and, therefore, increased attention is needed on the subject.
PMCID: PMC4027647  PMID: 24868417
Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Parkinsonism
4.  The role of dopamine in risk taking: a specific look at Parkinson’s disease and gambling 
An influential model suggests that dopamine signals the difference between predicted and experienced reward. In this way, dopamine can act as a learning signal that can shape behaviors to maximize rewards and avoid punishments. Dopamine is also thought to invigorate reward seeking behavior. Loss of dopamine signaling is the major abnormality in Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine agonists have been implicated in the occurrence of impulse control disorders in Parkinson’s disease patients, the most common being pathological gambling, compulsive sexual behavior, and compulsive buying. Recently, a number of functional imaging studies investigating impulse control disorders in Parkinson’s disease have been published. Here we review this literature, and attempt to place it within a decision-making framework in which potential gains and losses are evaluated to arrive at optimum choices. We also provide a hypothetical but still incomplete model on the effect of dopamine agonist treatment on these value and risk assessments. Two of the main brain structures thought to be involved in computing aspects of reward and loss are the ventral striatum (VStr) and the insula, both dopamine projection sites. Both structures are consistently implicated in functional brain imaging studies of pathological gambling in Parkinson’s disease.
PMCID: PMC4038955  PMID: 24910600
impulse control disorders; impulsivity; reward; loss aversion; insula; ventral striatum
5.  Rotigotine is safe and efficacious in Atypical Parkinsonism Syndromes induced by both α-synucleinopathy and tauopathy 
Transdermal rotigotine (RTG) is a non-ergot dopamine agonist (D3>D2>D1), and is indicated for use in early and advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD). RTG patch has many potential advantages due to the immediacy of onset of the therapeutic effect. Of note, intestinal absorption is not necessary and drug delivery is constant, thereby avoiding drug peaks and helping patient compliance. In turn, transdermal RTG seems a suitable candidate in the treatment of atypical Parkinsonian disorders (APS).
Fifty-one subjects with a diagnosis of APS were treated with transdermal RTG. The diagnoses were: Parkinson’s disease with dementia, multiple system atrophy Parkinsonian type, multiple system atrophy cerebellar type, progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism. Patients were evaluated by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS; part III), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), and mini–mental state examination (MMSE) and all adverse events (AEs) were recorded. Patients treated with RTG showed an overall decrease of UPDRS III scores without increasing behavioral disturbances. Main AEs were hypotension, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, tachycardia, and dystonia. On the whole, 15 patients were affected by AEs and seven patients suspended RTG treatment due to AEs.
The results show that transdermal RTG is effective with a good tolerability profile. RTG patch could be a good therapeutic tool in patients with APS.
PMCID: PMC4051815  PMID: 24940065
transdermal dopamine agonist; open label study; Parkinson plus
6.  C9orf72 repeat expansions are a rare genetic cause of parkinsonism 
Brain  2013;136(Pt 2):385-391.
The recently identified C9ORF72 gene accounts for a large proportion of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degenerations. Since several forms of these disorders are associated with parkinsonism, we hypothesized that some patients with Parkinson’s disease or other forms of parkinsonism might carry pathogenic C9OFR72 expansions. Therefore, we looked for C9ORF72 repeat expansions in 1,446 parkinsonian unrelated patients consisted of 1,225 clinically diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, 123 with progressive supranuclear palsy, 21 with corticobasal degeneration syndrome, 43 with Lewy body dementia and 25 with multiple system atrophy-parkinsonism. Of the 1,446 parkinsonian patients, five carried C9ORF72 expansions: three patients with typical Parkinson’s disease, one with corticobasal degeneration syndrome and another with progressive supranuclear palsy. This study shows that: i) although rare, C9ORF72 repeat expansions may be associated with clinically typical Parkinson’s disease, but also with other parkinsonism; ii) in several patients, parkinsonism was dopa-responsive and remained pure, without associated dementia, for more than 10 years; iii) interestingly, all C9ORF72 repeat expansion carriers had positive family histories of parkinsonism, degenerative dementias or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This study also provides the tools for identifying parkinsonian patients with C9ORF72 expansions, with important consequences for genetic counseling.
PMCID: PMC3984141  PMID: 23413259
Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Open Reading Frames; genetics; Parkinson Disease; diagnosis; genetics; Pedigree; Proteins; genetics; Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion; genetics; Young Adult; parkinsonism; C9ORF72; dementia
7.  Behavioral and Neurophysiological Effects of Transdermal Rotigotine in Atypical Parkinsonism 
Effective therapies for the so-called atypical parkinsonian syndrome (APS) such as multiple system atrophy (MSA), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), or corticobasal syndrome (CBS) are not available. Dopamine agonists (DA) are not often used in APS because of inefficacy and in a minority of case, their side effects, like dyskinesias, impairment of extrapyramidal symptoms or the appearance of psychosis, and REM sleep behavioral disorders (RBD). Transdermal rotigotine (RTG) is a non-ergot dopamine agonist indicated for use in early and advanced Parkinson’s disease with a good tolerability and safety. Moreover, its action on a wide range of dopamine receptors, D1, D2, D3, unlike other DA, could make it a good option in APS, where a massive dopamine cell loss is documented. In this pilot, observational open-label study we evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of RTG in patients affected by APS. Thirty-two subjects with diagnosis of APS were treated with transdermal RTG. APS diagnosis was: MSA parkinsonian type (MSA-P), MSA cerebellar type (MSA-C), PSP, and CBS. Patients were evaluated by UPDRS-III, neuropsychiatric inventory, mini mental state examination at baseline, and after 6, 12, and 18 months. The titration schedule was maintained very flexible, searching the major clinical effect and the minor possible adverse events (AEs) at each visit. AEs were recorded. APS patients treated with RTG show an overall decrease of UPDRS-III scores without increasing behavioral disturbances. Only three patients were dropped out of the study. Main AEs were hypotension, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and tachycardia. The electroencephalographic recording power spectra analysis shows a decrease of theta and an increase of low alpha power. In conclusion, transdermal RTG seems to be effective and well tolerated in APS patients.
PMCID: PMC4046164  PMID: 24926284
rotigotine; atypical parkinsonism; open-label study; safety; efficacy
8.  Increased striatal dopamine release in Parkinsonian patients with pathological gambling: a [11C] raclopride PET study 
Brain : a journal of neurology  2009;132(Pt 5):1376-1385.
Pathological gambling is an impulse control disorder reported in association with dopamine agonists used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Although impulse control disorders are conceptualized as lying within the spectrum of addictions, little neurobiological evidence exists to support this belief. Functional imaging studies have consistently demonstrated abnormalities of dopaminergic function in patients with drug addictions, but to date no study has specifically evaluated dopaminergic function in Parkinson’s disease patients with impulse control disorders. We describe results of a [11C] raclopride positron emission tomography (PET) study comparing dopaminergic function during gambling in Parkinson’s disease patients, with and without pathological gambling, following dopamine agonists. Patients with pathological gambling demonstrated greater decreases in binding potential in the ventral striatum during gambling (13.9%) than control patients (8.1%), likely reflecting greater dopaminergic release. Ventral striatal bindings at baseline during control task were also lower in patients with pathological gambling. Although prior imaging studies suggest that abnormality in dopaminergic binding and dopamine release may be markers of vulnerability to addiction, this study presents the first evidence of these phenomena in pathological gambling. The emergence of pathological gambling in a number of Parkinson’s disease patients may provide a model into the pathophysiology of this disorder.
PMCID: PMC3479148  PMID: 19346328 CAMSID: cams2369
Parkinson’s disease; dopamine; impulse control disorders; pathological gambling; PET; functional imaging
9.  Serum Iron Levels and the Risk of Parkinson Disease: A Mendelian Randomization Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001462.
In this study, Mendelian randomization was used to study genes known to modify iron levels, and the effect of iron on Parkinson's disease (PD) risk was estimated. Based on estimates of the genetic effects on both iron and PD obtained from the largest sample meta-analyzed to date, the findings suggest that increased iron levels in the blood are associated with a 3% reduction in the risk of Parkinson's disease for every 10 µg/dL increase in iron. The results of this analysis have potentially important implications for future research into the prevention of Parkinson's disease.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Although levels of iron are known to be increased in the brains of patients with Parkinson disease (PD), epidemiological evidence on a possible effect of iron blood levels on PD risk is inconclusive, with effects reported in opposite directions. Epidemiological studies suffer from problems of confounding and reverse causation, and mendelian randomization (MR) represents an alternative approach to provide unconfounded estimates of the effects of biomarkers on disease. We performed a MR study where genes known to modify iron levels were used as instruments to estimate the effect of iron on PD risk, based on estimates of the genetic effects on both iron and PD obtained from the largest sample meta-analyzed to date.
Methods and Findings
We used as instrumental variables three genetic variants influencing iron levels, HFE rs1800562, HFE rs1799945, and TMPRSS6 rs855791. Estimates of their effect on serum iron were based on a recent genome-wide meta-analysis of 21,567 individuals, while estimates of their effect on PD risk were obtained through meta-analysis of genome-wide and candidate gene studies with 20,809 PD cases and 88,892 controls. Separate MR estimates of the effect of iron on PD were obtained for each variant and pooled by meta-analysis. We investigated heterogeneity across the three estimates as an indication of possible pleiotropy and found no evidence of it. The combined MR estimate showed a statistically significant protective effect of iron, with a relative risk reduction for PD of 3% (95% CI 1%–6%; p = 0.001) per 10 µg/dl increase in serum iron.
Our study suggests that increased iron levels are causally associated with a decreased risk of developing PD. Further studies are needed to understand the pathophysiological mechanism of action of serum iron on PD risk before recommendations can be made.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Parkinson disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system caused by the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substania nigra, a region of the midbrain. The earliest symptoms are usually movement-related and include tremor, slow movements, and difficulty walking, and later cognitive and behavioral problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease. Parkinson disease affects around ten million people world-wide and incidence increases with age, with men more affected than women. To date, the causes of Parkinson disease remain unknown although a combination of genetic and environmental factors is thought to play a role. Identifying possible modifiable risks is an important step in the possible prevention of Parkinson disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Previous studies have shown a possible association between lower blood levels of iron in people with Parkinson disease compared with controls, although the quality of these studies makes this finding difficult to interpret. So in this study, the researchers used a mendelian randomization approach to investigate whether there was any evidence of an effect of blood iron levels on the risk of Parkinson disease and if so to further explore the direction and scale of any link. Mendelian randomization is a method of using measured variation in genes of known function to examine the causal effect of a modifiable exposure on disease in situations where it is inappropriate to perform a randomized controlled trial.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers estimated the effect of blood iron levels on the risk of Parkinson disease using three polymorphisms in two genes, HFE and TMPRSS6. For each polymorphism, they performed a meta-analysis combining the results of studies investigating the genetic effect on iron levels, which included almost 22,000 people from Europe and Australia, and a meta-analysis of studies investigating the genetic effect on the risk of Parkinson disease, which included a total of 20,809 people with Parkinson disease and 88,892 controls from Europe and North America. They then performed three separate mendelian randomization analyses to estimate the effect of iron on Parkinson disease for the three polymorphisms. By combining the three estimates, they obtained a statistically significant odds ratio of 0.97 for Parkinson disease per 10 µg/dl increase in iron, corresponding to a 3% reduction in the risk of Parkinson disease for every 10 µg/dl increase in blood iron. Since genotype influences on blood iron levels represent differences that generally persist throughout adult life, the combined mendelian randomization estimate reflects an effect of iron over the course of a lifetime.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that increased iron levels in the blood are associated with a 3% reduction in the risk of Parkinson disease for every 10 µg/dl increase in iron. This finding is important as it suggests that increased blood iron levels may have a protective effect against Parkinson disease, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Furthermore, although mendelian randomization is an increasingly used approach to address the issue of classical confounding, there may be remaining confounding factors specific of mendelian randomization that may influence the interpretation of this study. Nevertheless, the results of this analysis have potentially important implications for future research into the prevention of Parkinson disease. Further studies on the underlying mechanisms are needed before any specific treatment recommendations can be proposed.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The National Institutes of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, MedlinePlus, and NHS Choices have several pages with comprehensive information on Parkinson disease
Wikipedia gives an explanation of mendelian randomization (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3672214  PMID: 23750121
10.  Neuroimaging in Dementia 
Neurotherapeutics  2011;8(1):82-92.
Dementia is a common illness with an incidence that is rising as the aged population increases. There are a number of neurodegenerative diseases that cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia, which is subdivided into the behavioral variant, the semantic variant, and nonfluent variant. Numerous other neurodegenerative illnesses have an associated dementia, including corticobasal degeneration, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy, Parkinson’s disease dementia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Vascular dementia and AIDS dementia are secondary dementias. Diagnostic criteria have relied on a constellation of symptoms, but the definite diagnosis remains a pathologic one. As treatments become available and target specific molecular abnormalities, differentiating amongst the various primary dementias early on becomes essential. The role of imaging in dementia has traditionally been directed at ruling out treatable and reversible etiologies and not to use imaging to better understand the pathophysiology of the different dementias. Different brain imaging techniques allow the examination of the structure, biochemistry, metabolic state, and functional capacity of the brain. All of the major neurodegenerative disorders have relatively specific imaging findings that can be identified. New imaging techniques carry the hope of revolutionizing the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease so as to obtain a complete molecular, structural, and metabolic characterization, which could be used to improve diagnosis and to stage each patient and follow disease progression and response to treatment. Structural and functional imaging modalities contribute to the diagnosis and understanding of the different dementias.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-010-0012-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3026935  PMID: 21274688
Dementia; MRI; PET; Alzheimer’s disease; frontotemporal dementia
11.  Neuroimaging in Dementia 
Dementia is a common illness with an incidence that is rising as the aged population increases. There are a number of neurodegenerative diseases that cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia, which is subdivided into the behavioral variant, the semantic variant, and nonfluent variant. Numerous other neurodegenerative illnesses have an associated dementia, including corticobasal degeneration, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy, Parkinson’s disease dementia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Vascular dementia and AIDS dementia are secondary dementias. Diagnostic criteria have relied on a constellation of symptoms, but the definite diagnosis remains a pathologic one. As treatments become available and target specific molecular abnormalities, differentiating amongst the various primary dementias early on becomes essential. The role of imaging in dementia has traditionally been directed at ruling out treatable and reversible etiologies and not to use imaging to better understand the pathophysiology of the different dementias. Different brain imaging techniques allow the examination of the structure, biochemistry, metabolic state, and functional capacity of the brain. All of the major neurodegenerative disorders have relatively specific imaging findings that can be identified. New imaging techniques carry the hope of revolutionizing the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease so as to obtain a complete molecular, structural, and metabolic characterization, which could be used to improve diagnosis and to stage each patient and follow disease progression and response to treatment. Structural and functional imaging modalities contribute to the diagnosis and understanding of the different dementias.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-010-0012-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3026935  PMID: 21274688
Dementia; MRI; PET; Alzheimer’s disease; frontotemporal dementia
12.  Dopamine agonists and risk: impulse control disorders in Parkinson's; disease 
Brain  2011;134(5):1438-1446.
Impulse control disorders are common in Parkinson's; disease, occurring in 13.6% of patients. Using a pharmacological manipulation and a novel risk taking task while performing functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the relationship between dopamine agonists and risk taking in patients with Parkinson's; disease with and without impulse control disorders. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, subjects chose between two choices of equal expected value: a ‘Sure’ choice and a ‘Gamble’ choice of moderate risk. To commence each trial, in the ‘Gain’ condition, individuals started at $0 and in the ‘Loss’ condition individuals started at −$50 below the ‘Sure’ amount. The difference between the maximum and minimum outcomes from each gamble (i.e. range) was used as an index of risk (‘Gamble Risk’). Sixteen healthy volunteers were behaviourally tested. Fourteen impulse control disorder (problem gambling or compulsive shopping) and 14 matched Parkinson's; disease controls were tested ON and OFF dopamine agonists. Patients with impulse control disorder made more risky choices in the ‘Gain’ relative to the ‘Loss’ condition along with decreased orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate activity, with the opposite observed in Parkinson's; disease controls. In patients with impulse control disorder, dopamine agonists were associated with enhanced sensitivity to risk along with decreased ventral striatal activity again with the opposite in Parkinson's; disease controls. Patients with impulse control disorder appear to have a bias towards risky choices independent of the effect of loss aversion. Dopamine agonists enhance sensitivity to risk in patients with impulse control disorder possibly by impairing risk evaluation in the striatum. Our results provide a potential explanation of why dopamine agonists may lead to an unconscious bias towards risk in susceptible individuals.
PMCID: PMC3097893  PMID: 21596771
Parkinson's; disease; dopamine; gambling; decision making; risk
13.  Impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease 
Since the original descriptions of hedonistic homeostatic dysregulation syndrome and pathological gambling in Parkinson's disease, impulse control disorders, such as compulsive spending, punding, or binge eating, are increasingly recognized. Although the term hedonistic homeostatic dysregulation syndrome has been supplanted by the concept of the dopamine dysregulation syndrome, the features of severe dyskinesias, cyclical mood disorder with hypomania or manic psychosis, and impairment of social and occupational functioning in the setting of increased intake of antiparkinson therapy remain. At this time, impulse control disorder is defined as maladaptive behaviors that emerge with disease progression and increasing antiparkinson medications. These behaviors may be disruptive, such as punding, or destructive, such as compulsive spending, gambling, binge eating, or hypersexuality.
PMCID: PMC2924724  PMID: 20948752
14.  Neuroimaging in Dementia 
Seminars in neurology  2008;28(4):467-483.
Although dementia is a clinical diagnosis, neuroimaging often is crucial for proper assessment. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) may identify nondegenerative and potentially treatable causes of dementia. Recent neuroimaging advances, such as the Pittsburgh Compound-B (PIB) ligand for positron emission tomography imaging in Alzheimer’s disease, will improve our ability to differentiate among the neurodegenerative dementias. High-resolution volumetric MRI has increased the capacity to identify the various forms of the frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum and some forms of parkinsonism or cerebellar neurodegenerative disorders, such as corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy, and spinocerebellar ataxias. In many cases, the specific pattern of cortical and subcortical abnormalities on MRI has diagnostic utility. Finally, among the new MRI methods, diffusion-weighted MRI can help in the early diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Although only clinical assessment can lead to a diagnosis of dementia, neuroimaging is clearly an invaluable tool for the clinician in the differential diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC2647854  PMID: 18843575
MRI; PET; Pittsburgh Compound-B; dementia; neurodegenerative disease
15.  Impulsive and Compulsive Behaviors in Parkinson’s Disease 
Background: Impulsive and compulsive behaviors (ICBs) are a heterogeneous group of conditions that may be caused by long-term dopaminergic replacement therapy (DRT) of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The spectrum of ICBs includes dopamine dysregulation syndrome (DDS), punding, and impulse control disorders (ICDs).
Contents: We made a detailed review regarding the epidemiology, pathology, clinical characteristics, risk factors, diagnosis as well as treatment of ICBs.
Results: The prevalence of ICBs in PD patients is approximately 3–4% for DDS, 0.34–4.2% for punding, and 6–14% for ICDs, with higher prevalence in Western populations than in Asian. Those who take high dose of levodopa are more prone to have DDS, whereas, ICDs are markedly associated with dopamine agonists. Different subtypes of ICBs share many risk factors such as male gender, higher levodopa equivalent daily dose, younger age at PD onset, history of alcoholism, impulsive, or novelty-seeking personality. The Questionnaire for Impulsive–Compulsive Disorder in Parkinson’s Disease-Rating Scale seems to be a rather efficacious instrument to obtain relevant information from patients and caregivers. Treatment of ICBs is still a great challenge for clinicians. Readjustment of DRT remains the primary method. Atypical antipsychotics, antidepressants, amantadine, and psychosocial interventions are also prescribed in controlling episodes of psychosis caused by compulsive DRT, but attention should be drawn to balance ICBs symptoms and motor disorders. Moreover, deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus might be a potential method in controlling ICBs.
Conclusion: The exact pathophysiological mechanisms of ICBs in PD remains poorly understood. Further researches are needed not only to study the pathogenesis, prevalence, features, and risk factors of ICBs, but to find efficacious therapy for patients with these devastating consequences.
PMCID: PMC4231987  PMID: 25452726
Parkinson disease; impulsive control disorders; dopamine dysregulation syndrome; review; dopaminergic replacement therapy
16.  Dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome: phenotypic spectrum from infancy to adulthood 
Brain  2014;137(4):1107-1119.
Dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome is an SLC6A3-related progressive infantile-onset parkinsonism-dystonia that mimics cerebral palsy. Ng et al. describe clinical features and molecular findings in a new cohort of patients. They report infants with classical disease, as well as young adults manifesting as atypical juvenile-onset parkinsonism-dystonia, thereby expanding the disease spectrum.
Dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome due to SLC6A3 mutations is the first inherited dopamine ‘transportopathy’ to be described, with a classical presentation of early infantile-onset progressive parkinsonism dystonia. In this study we have identified a new cohort of patients with dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome, including, most significantly, atypical presentation later in childhood with a milder disease course. We report the detailed clinical features, molecular genetic findings and in vitro functional investigations undertaken for adult and paediatric cases. Patients presenting with parkinsonism dystonia or a neurotransmitter profile characteristic of dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome were recruited for study. SLC6A3 mutational analysis was undertaken in all patients. The functional consequences of missense variants on the dopamine transporter were evaluated by determining the effect of mutant dopamine transporter on dopamine uptake, protein expression and amphetamine-mediated dopamine efflux using an in vitro cellular heterologous expression system. We identified eight new patients from five unrelated families with dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome. The median age at diagnosis was 13 years (range 1.5–34 years). Most significantly, the case series included three adolescent males with atypical dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome of juvenile onset (outside infancy) and progressive parkinsonism dystonia. The other five patients in the cohort presented with classical infantile-onset parkinsonism dystonia, with one surviving into adulthood (currently aged 34 years) and labelled as having ‘juvenile parkinsonism’. All eight patients harboured homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in SLC6A3, of which the majority are previously unreported variants. In vitro studies of mutant dopamine transporter demonstrated multifaceted loss of dopamine transporter function. Impaired dopamine uptake was universally present, and more severely impacted in dopamine transporter mutants causing infantile-onset rather than juvenile-onset disease. Dopamine transporter mutants also showed diminished dopamine binding affinity, reduced cell surface transporter, loss of post-translational dopamine transporter glycosylation and failure of amphetamine-mediated dopamine efflux. Our data series expands the clinical phenotypic continuum of dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome and indicates that there is a phenotypic spectrum from infancy (early onset, rapidly progressive disease) to childhood/adolescence and adulthood (later onset, slower disease progression). Genotype–phenotype analysis in this cohort suggests that higher residual dopamine transporter activity is likely to contribute to postponing disease presentation in these later-onset adult cases. Dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome remains under-recognized and our data highlights that dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome should be considered as a differential diagnosis for both infantile- and juvenile-onset movement disorders, including cerebral palsy and juvenile parkinsonism.
PMCID: PMC3959557  PMID: 24613933
dopamine; dopamine transporter (DAT); juvenile; parkinsonism; dystonia; SLC6A3
17.  CSF neurofilament concentration reflects disease severity in frontotemporal degeneration 
Annals of neurology  2014;75(1):116-126.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) neurofilament light chain (NfL) concentration is elevated in neurological disorders including frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). We investigated the clinical correlates of elevated CSF NfL levels in FTD.
CSF NfL, amyloid-β42 (Aβ42), tau and phosphorylated tau (ptau) concentrations were compared in 47 normal controls (NC), 8 asymptomatic gene carriers (NC2) of FTD-causing mutations, 79 FTD (45 behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia [bvFTD], 18 progressive nonfluent aphasia [PNFA], 16 semantic dementia [SD]), 22 progressive supranuclear palsy, 50 Alzheimer’s disease, 6 Parkinson’s disease and 17 corticobasal syndrome patients. Correlations between CSF analyte levels were performed with neuropsychological measures and the Clinical Dementia Rating scale sum of boxes (CDRsb). Voxel-based morphometry of structural MR images determined the relationship between brain volume and CSF NfL.
Mean CSF NfL concentrations were higher in bvFTD, SD and PNFA than other groups. NfL in NC2 was similar to NC. CSF NfL, but not other CSF measures, correlated with CDRsb and neuropsychological measures in FTD, and not in other diagnostic groups. Analyses in two independent FTD cohorts and a group of autopsy verified or biomarker enriched cases confirmed the larger group analysis. In FTD, gray and white matter volume negatively correlated with CSF NfL concentration, such that individuals with highest NfL levels exhibited the most atrophy.
CSF NfL is elevated in symptomatic FTD and correlates with disease severity. This measurement may be a useful surrogate endpoint of disease severity in FTD clinical trials. Longitudinal studies of CSF NfL in FTD are warranted.
PMCID: PMC4020786  PMID: 24242746
18.  Diagnosis and treatment of impulse control disorders in patients with movement disorders 
Impulse control disorders are a psychiatric condition characterized by the failure to resist an impulsive act or behavior that may be harmful to self or others. In movement disorders, impulse control disorders are associated with dopaminergic treatment, notably dopamine agonists (DAs). Impulse control disorders have been studied extensively in Parkinson’s disease, but are also recognized in restless leg syndrome and atypical Parkinsonian syndromes. Epidemiological studies suggest younger age, male sex, greater novelty seeking, impulsivity, depression and premorbid impulse control disorders as the most consistent risk factors. Such patients may warrant special monitoring after starting treatment with a DA. Various individual screening tools are available for people without Parkinson’s disease. The Questionnaire for Impulsive-Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease has been developed specifically for Parkinson’s disease. The best treatment for impulse control disorders is prevention. However, after the development of impulse control disorders, the mainstay intervention is to reduce or discontinue the offending anti-Parkinsonian medication. In refractory cases, other pharmacological interventions are available, including neuroleptics, antiepileptics, amantadine, antiandrogens, lithium and opioid antagonists. Unfortunately, their use is only supported by case reports, small case series or open-label clinical studies. Prospective, controlled studies are warranted. Ongoing investigations include naltrexone and nicotine.
PMCID: PMC3625015  PMID: 23634190
Impulse control disorders; Parkinson’s disease; restless leg syndrome; parkinsonism; dopamine agonist; non-motor complication; neurobehavioural
19.  Specificity of transcranial sonography in parkinson spectrum disorders in comparison to degenerative cognitive syndromes 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:12.
Hyperechogenicity of the substantia nigra (SN+), detected by transcranial sonography (TCS), was reported as a characteristic finding in Parkinson's disease (PD), with high diagnostic accuracy values, when compared mainly to healthy controls or essential tremor (ET) group. However, some data is accumulating that the SN + could be detected in other neurodegenerative and even in non-neurodegenerative disorders too. Our aim was to estimate the diagnostic accuracy of TCS, mainly focusing on the specificity point, when applied to a range of the parkinsonian disorders, and comparing to the degenerative cognitive syndromes.
A prospective study was carried out at the Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences from January until September 2011. Initially, a TCS and clinical examination were performed on 258 patients and 76 controls. The General Electric Voluson 730 Expert ultrasound system was used. There were 12.8% of cases excluded with insufficient temporal bones, and 4.3% excluded with an unclear diagnosis. The studied sample consisted of the groups: PD (n = 71, 33.2%), ET (n = 58, 27.1%), PD and ET (n = 10, 4.7%), atypical parkinsonian syndromes (APS) (n = 3, 1.4%), hereditary neurodegenerative parkinsonism (HDP) (n = 3, 1.4%), secondary parkinsonism (SP) (n = 23, 10.8%), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (n = 33, 15.4%), dementia (n = 13, 6.1%), and control (n = 71).
There were 80.3% of PD patients at stages 1 & 2 according to Hoehn and Yahr. At the cut-off value of 0.20 cm2 of the SN+, the sensitivity for PD was 94.3% and the specificity - 63.3% (ROC analysis, AUC 0.891), in comparison to the rest of the cohort. At the cut-off value of 0.26 cm2, the sensitivity was 90% and the specificity 82.4%.
The estimations for the lowest specificity for PD, in comparison to the latter subgroups (at the cut-off values of 0.20 cm2 and 0.26 cm2, respectively) were: 0% and 33.3% to APS, 33.3% and 66.7% to HDP, 34.8% and 69.6% to SP, 55.2% and 82.8% to ET, 75% and 91.7% to dementia.
The high sensitivity of the test could be employed as a valuable screening tool. But TCS is more useful as a supplementary diagnostic method, due to the specificity values not being comprehensive.
PMCID: PMC3317847  PMID: 22400906
Transcranial sonography; Substantia nigra; Parkinson's disease; Cognitive disorders; Specificity; Sensitivity
20.  TREM2 in neurodegeneration: evidence for association of the p.R47H variant with frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease 
A rare variant in the Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) gene has been reported to be a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease by two independent groups (Odds ratio between 2.9-4.5). Given the key role of TREM2 in the effective phagocytosis of apoptotic neuronal cells by microglia, we hypothesized that dysfunction of TREM2 may play a more generalized role in neurodegeneration. With this in mind we set out to assess the genetic association of the Alzheimer’s disease-related risk variant in TREM2 (rs75932628, p.R47H) with other related neurodegenerative disorders.
The study included 609 patients with frontotemporal dementia, 765 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, 1493 with Parkinson’s disease, 772 with progressive supranuclear palsy, 448 with ischemic stroke and 1957 controls subjects free of neurodegenerative disease. A significant association was observed for the TREM2 p.R47H substitution in susceptibility to frontotemporal dementia (OR = 5.06; p-value = 0.001) and Parkinson’s disease (OR = 2.67; p-value = 0.026), while no evidence of association with risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive supranuclear palsy or ischemic stroke was observed.
Our results suggest that the TREM2 p.R47H substitution is a risk factor for frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease in addition to Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest a more general role for TREM2 dysfunction in neurodegeneration, which could be related to its role in the immune response.
PMCID: PMC3691612  PMID: 23800361
TREM2; Frontotemporal dementia; Parkinson disease; Genetic association
21.  Repetitive speech phenomena in Parkinson's disease 
OBJECTIVES—Repetitive speech phenomena are morphologically heterogeneous iterations of speech which have been described in several neurological disorders such as vascular dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy, Wilson's disease, and Parkinson's disease, and which are presently only poorly understood. The present, prospective study investigated repetitive speech phenomena in Parkinson's disease to describe their morphology, assess their prevalence, and to establish their relation with neuropsychological and clinical background data.
METHODS—Twenty four patients with advanced Parkinson's disease and 29 subjects with mid-stage, stable idiopathic disease were screened for appearance, forms, and frequency of repetitive speech phenomena, and underwent a neuropsychological screening procedure comprising tests of general mental functioning, divergent thinking and memory. Patients with advanced Parkinson's disease had a significantly higher disease impairment, longer disease duration, and an unstable motor response to levodopa with frequent on-off fluctuations. Both groups were well matched as to their demographical, clinical, and cognitive background. Perceptual speech evaluation was used to count and differentiate forms of repetitive speech phenomena in different speech tasks. To compare the effect of the motor state, the appearance of repetitive speech phenomena was also assessed in a subgroup of patients with advanced Parkinson's disease during the on versus the off state.
RESULTS—Speech repetitions emerged mainly in two variants, one hyperfluent, formally resembling palilalia, and one dysfluent, stuttering-like. Both forms were present in each patient producing repetitive speech phenomena. The repetitive speech phenomena appeared in 15 patients (28.3 %), 13 of whom belonged to the advanced disease group, indicating a significant preponderance of repetitive speech phenomena in patients with a long term, fluctuating disease course. Repetitive speech phenomena appeared with almost equal frequency during the on and the off state of patients with advanced Parkinson's disease. Their distribution among different variants of speech was disproportional, with effort demanding speech tasks producing a significantly higher number of repetitive speech phenomena over semiautomatic forms of speech.
CONCLUSIONS—In idiopathic Parkinson's disease repetitive speech phenomena seem to emerge predominantly in a subgroup of patients with advanced disease impairment; manifest dementia is not a necessary prerequisite. They seem to represent a deficit of motor speech control; however, linguistic factors may also contribute to their generation. It is suggested that repetitions of speech in Parkinson's disease represent a distinctive speech disorder, which is caused by changes related to the progression of Parkinson's disease.

PMCID: PMC1737094  PMID: 10945806
22.  Clinical Analysis of Blepharospasm and Apraxia of Eyelid Opening in Patients with Parkinsonism 
Background and Purpose
Blepharospasm (BSP) and apraxia of eyelid opening (AEO) have been reported as dystonia related with parkinsonism. However, systematic analysis of clinical characteristics of BSP and AEO in parkinsonism has been seldom reported. To investigate the clinical characteristics of BSP and AEO in parkinsonism and to find out the clinical significance to differentiate parkinsonism.
We enrolled 35 patients who had BSP with or without AEO out of 1113 patients with parkinsonism (913 IPD, idiopathic Parkinson's disease; 190 MSA, multiple system atrophy, 134 MSA-p, 56 MSA-c and 10 PSP, progressive supranuclear palsy). We subdivided MSA into MSA-p (predominantly parkinsonism) and MSA-c (predominantly cerebellar) according to the diagnostic criteria proposed by Quinn. We analyzed the clinical features of BSP and parkinsonism including onset age, onset interval to BSP, characteristics of BSP, presence of AEO, coexisted dystonias on the other body parts, severity of parkinsonism and relationship with levodopa treatment.
BSP with or without AEO were more frequently observed in atypical parkinsonism (PSP, 70%; MSA-p, 11.2%; MSA-c, 8.9%) than in IPD (0.9%). Reflex BSP was observed only in atypical parkinsonism (4 MSA-p, 1 MSA-c and 2 PSP). BSP preceding parkinsonism (Pre-BSP) was observed mainly in atypical parkinsonism (2 MSA-p, 1 MSA-c, 1 PSP and 1 IPD). The presence of AEO was more frequent in atypical parkinsonism than in IPD, but isolated AEO was not detected. BSP related to levodopa ('off' symptom or 'peak-dose' effect) were observed only in IPD.
Reflex BSP, Pre-BSP and the presence of AEO may be a unique feature of atypical parkinsonism. BSP related to levodopa might be representative of IPD. No differences were found in the clinical features of BSP between MSA-p and MSA-c.
PMCID: PMC2854921  PMID: 20396463
Blepharospasm; Apraxia of eyelid opening; Parkinsonism; Reflex blepharospasm
23.  Hypokinesia without decrement distinguishes progressive supranuclear palsy from Parkinson's disease 
Brain  2012;135(4):1141-1153.
Repetitive finger tapping is commonly used to assess bradykinesia in Parkinson's disease. The Queen Square Brain Bank diagnostic criterion of Parkinson's disease defines bradykinesia as ‘slowness of initiation with progressive reduction in speed and amplitude of repetitive action’. Although progressive supranuclear palsy is considered an atypical parkinsonian syndrome, it is not known whether patients with progressive supranuclear palsy have criteria-defined bradykinesia. This study objectively assessed repetitive finger tap performance and handwriting in patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 15), progressive supranuclear palsy (n = 9) and healthy age- and gender-matched controls (n = 16). The motion of the hand and digits was recorded in 3D during 15-s repetitive index finger-to-thumb tapping trials. The main finding was hypokinesia without decrement in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy, which differed from the finger tap pattern in Parkinson's disease. Average finger separation amplitude in progressive supranuclear palsy was less than half of that in controls and Parkinson's disease (P < 0.001 in both cases). Change in tap amplitude over consecutive taps was computed by linear regression. The average amplitude slope in progressive supranuclear palsy was nearly zero (0.01°/cycle) indicating a lack of decrement, which differed from the negative slope in patients with Parkinson's disease OFF levodopa (−0.20°/cycle, P = 0.002). ‘Hypokinesia’, defined as <50% of control group's mean amplitude, combined with ‘absence of decrement’, defined as mean positive amplitude slope, were identified in 87% of finger tap trials in the progressive supranuclear palsy group and only 12% in the Parkinson's disease OFF levodopa group. In progressive supranuclear palsy, the mean amplitude was not correlated with disease duration or other clinimetric scores. In Parkinson's disease, finger tap pattern was compatible with criteria-defined bradykinesia, characterized by slowness with progressive reduction in amplitude and speed and increased variability in speed throughout the tap trial. In Parkinson's disease, smaller amplitude, slower speed and greater speed variability were all associated with a more severe Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score. Analyses of handwriting showed that micrographia, defined as smaller than 50% of the control group's mean script size, was present in 75% of patients with progressive supranuclear palsy and 15% of patients with Parkinson's disease (P = 0.022). Most scripts performed by patients with progressive supranuclear palsy did not exhibit decrements in script size. In conclusion, patients with progressive supranuclear palsy have a specific finger tap pattern of ‘hypokinesia without decrement’ and they do not have criteria-defined limb bradykinesia. Similarly, ‘micrographia’ and ‘lack of decrement in script size’ are also more common in progressive supranuclear palsy than in Parkinson's disease.
PMCID: PMC3326257  PMID: 22396397
hypokinesia; bradykinesia; repetitive finger tap; micrographia; progressive supranuclear palsy
24.  The Movement Disorder Society Evidence-Based Medicine Review Update: Treatments for the Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease 
The Movement Disorder Society (MDS) Task Force on Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) Review of Treatments for Parkinson's Disease (PD) was first published in 2002 and was updated in 2005 to cover clinical trial data up to January 2004 with the focus on motor symptoms of PD. In this revised version the MDS task force decided it was necessary to extend the review to non-motor symptoms. The objective of this work was to update previous EBM reviews on treatments for PD with a focus on non-motor symptoms. Level-I (randomized controlled trial, RCT) reports of pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions for the non-motor symptoms of PD, published as full articles in English between January 2002 and December 2010 were reviewed. Criteria for inclusion and ranking followed the original program outline and adhered to EBM methodology. For efficacy conclusions, treatments were designated: efficacious, likely efficacious, unlikely efficacious, non-efficacious, or insufficient evidence. Safety data were catalogued and reviewed. Based on the combined efficacy and safety assessment, Implications for clinical practice were determined using the following designations: clinically useful, possibly useful, investigational, unlikely useful, and not useful. Fifty-four new studies qualified for efficacy review while several other studies covered safety issues. Updated and new efficacy conclusions were made for all indications. The treatments that are efficacious for the management of the different non-motor symptoms are as follows: pramipexole for the treatment of depressive symptoms, clozapine for the treatment of psychosis, rivastigmine for the treatment of dementia, and botulinum toxin A (BTX-A) and BTX-B as well as glycopyrrolate for the treatment of sialorrhea. The practical implications for these treatments, except for glycopyrrolate, are that they are clinically useful. Since there is insufficient evidence of glycopyrrolate for the treatment of sialorrhea exceeding 1 week, the practice implication is that it is possibly useful. The treatments that are likely efficacious for the management of the different non-motor symptoms are as follows: the tricyclic antidepressants nortriptyline and desipramine for the treatment of depression or depressive symptoms and macrogol for the treatment of constipation. The practice implications for these treatments are possibly useful. For most of the other interventions there is insufficient evidence to make adequate conclusions on their efficacy. This includes the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline, all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) reviewed (paroxetine, citalopram, sertraline, and fluoxetine), the newer antidepressants atomoxetine and nefazodone, pergolide, Ω-3 fatty acids as well as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for the treatment of depression or depressive symptoms; methylphenidate and modafinil for the treatment of fatigue; amantadine for the treatment of pathological gambling; donepezil, galantamine, and memantine for the treatment of dementia; quetiapine for the treatment of psychosis; fludrocortisone and domperidone for the treatment of orthostatic hypotension; sildenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, ipratropium bromide spray for the treatment of sialorrhea; levodopa/carbidopa controlled release (CR), pergolide, eszopiclone, melatonin 3 to 5 mg and melatonin 50 mg for the treatment of insomnia and modafinil for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness. Due to safety issues the practice implication is that pergolide and nefazodone are not useful for the above-mentioned indications. Due to safety issues, olanzapine remains not useful for the treatment of psychosis. As none of the studies exceeded a duration of 6 months, the recommendations given are for the short-term management of the different non-motor symptoms. There were no RCTs that met inclusion criteria for the treatment of anxiety disorders, apathy, medication-related impulse control disorders and related behaviors other than pathological gambling, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD), sweating, or urinary dysfunction. Therefore, there is insufficient evidence for the treatment of these indications. This EBM review of interventions for the non-motor symptoms of PD updates the field, but, because several RCTs are ongoing, a continual updating process is needed. Several interventions and indications still lack good quality evidence, and these gaps offer an opportunity for ongoing research.
PMCID: PMC4020145  PMID: 22021174
Parkinson's disease; evidence-based medicine; dopamine agonists; tricyclic antidepressants; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs); omega-3 fatty-acids; transcranial magnetic stimulation
25.  Cerebral cortical and subcortical cholinergic deficits in parkinsonian syndromes 
Neurology  2010;74(18):1416-1423.
Cholinergic projections to cerebral cortical and subcortical regions are decreased in Parkinson disease (PD), but not evaluated in the parkinsonian syndromes of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). We studied cholinergic innervation in these disorders as compared to age-appropriate normal control subjects.
We used PET with [11C]PMP to measure acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in multiple cerebral cortical and subcortical regions. We studied 22 normal controls, 12 patients with PD, 13 patients with MSA-P, and 4 patients with PSP.
We found significantly decreased AChE activity in most cerebral cortical regions in PD and MSA-P, and a similar but nonsignificant decrease in PSP. No differences were found between PD and MSA-P. Significantly decreased AChE activity was found in PD in striatum, cerebellum, and thalamus, with a marginally significant decrease in mesencephalon and no change in pons. Significantly greater declines in AChE activity in all subcortical regions were seen in MSA-P and PSP vs in PD. Decreased AChE activity in brainstem and cerebellum of all 3 disorders correlated with disturbances of balance and gait.
Cerebral cortical cholinergic activity is decreased to a similar level in Parkinson disease (PD), parkinsonian syndromes of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) as compared to normal controls. Subcortical cholinergic activity is significantly more decreased in MSA-P and PSP than in PD. The more substantial decrease reflects greater impairment in the pontine cholinergic group, which is important in motor activity, particularly gait. These differences may account for the greater gait disturbances in the early stages of MSA-P and PSP than in PD.
= acetylcholinesterase;
= Alzheimer disease;
= laterodorsal tegmental nuclei;
= parkinsonian syndromes of multiple system atrophy;
= Parkinson disease;
= Parkinson disease with dementia;
= pedunculopontine tegmental nuclei;
= progressive supranuclear palsy;
= region of interest.
PMCID: PMC2871002  PMID: 20439843

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