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1.  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibition modulates response inhibition in Parkinson’s disease 
Brain  2014;137(4):1145-1155.
Impulsivity is common in Parkinson’s disease. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with multi-modal imaging, Ye et al. reveal improved response inhibition in some patients receiving the SSRI citalopram, including those with advanced disease. Improvements correlated with preserved frontostriatal structural connectivity and drug-induced prefrontal activity, highlighting the need for patient stratification in trials.
Impulsivity is common in Parkinson’s disease even in the absence of impulse control disorders. It is likely to be multifactorial, including a dopaminergic ‘overdose’ and structural changes in the frontostriatal circuits for motor control. In addition, we proposed that changes in serotonergic projections to the forebrain also contribute to response inhibition in Parkinson’s disease, based on preclinical animal and human studies. We therefore examined whether the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram improves response inhibition, in terms of both behaviour and the efficiency of underlying neural mechanisms. This multimodal magnetic resonance imaging study used a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled crossover design with an integrated Stop-Signal and NoGo paradigm. Twenty-one patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (46–76 years old, 11 male, Hoehn and Yahr stage 1.5–3) received 30 mg citalopram or placebo in addition to their usual dopaminergic medication in two separate sessions. Twenty matched healthy control subjects (54–74 years old, 12 male) were tested without medication. The effects of disease and drug on behavioural performance and regional brain activity were analysed using general linear models. In addition, anatomical connectivity was examined using diffusion tensor imaging and tract-based spatial statistics. We confirmed that Parkinson’s disease caused impairment in response inhibition, with longer Stop-Signal Reaction Time and more NoGo errors under placebo compared with controls, without affecting Go reaction times. This was associated with less stop-specific activation in the right inferior frontal cortex, but no significant difference in NoGo-related activation. Although there was no beneficial main effect of citalopram, it reduced Stop-Signal Reaction Time and NoGo errors, and enhanced inferior frontal activation, in patients with relatively more severe disease (higher Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale motor score). The behavioural effect correlated with the citalopram-induced enhancement of prefrontal activation and the strength of preserved structural connectivity between the frontal and striatal regions. In conclusion, the behavioural effect of citalopram on response inhibition depends on individual differences in prefrontal cortical activation and frontostriatal connectivity. The correlation between disease severity and the effect of citalopram on response inhibition may be due to the progressive loss of forebrain serotonergic projections. These results contribute to a broader understanding of the critical roles of serotonin in regulating cognitive and behavioural control, as well as new strategies for patient stratification in clinical trials of serotonergic treatments in Parkinson’s disease.
doi:10.1093/brain/awu032
PMCID: PMC3959561  PMID: 24578545
Parkinson’s disease; response inhibition; serotonin; citalopram; functional MRI
2.  Source memory and frontal functioning in Parkinson's disease 
The most extensively described pathological abnormality in Parkinson's disease (PD) is loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and the ventral tegmental area, with degeneration of their striatal terminals. Because of the intimate connections between the striatum and the frontal lobes, individuals with PD often demonstrate impairments on those tasks relying on the prefrontal cortex (e.g., tests of executive functioning). Source memory, or memory for context, is believed to rely on the prefrontal cortex and has been previously associated with executive functioning performance, although it has received little attention in the PD literature. Executive functioning and source memory were measured in a group of nondemented PD patients and healthy control participants. Within the PD group, an anti-Parkinson's medication withdrawal manipulation was used to examine whether source memory was affected by phasic changes in dopamine levels. Compared to healthy control participants, PD patients were impaired in source memory (both on- and off-medication) and on a composite measure of executive functioning. Within the PD group, medication administration improved motor performance but did not have a significant effect on source memory.
doi:10.1017/S1355617709090572
PMCID: PMC2735205  PMID: 19402926
Dopamine; Cognition; Frontal lobe; Neuropsychology; Medication; Executive functioning
3.  Dopaminergic modulation of memory and affective processing in Parkinson depression 
Psychiatry research  2013;210(1):146-149.
Depression is common in Parkinson’s disease and is associated with cognitive impairment. Dopaminergic medications are effective in treating the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease; however, little is known regarding the effects of dopaminergic pharmacotherapy on cognitive function in depressed Parkinson patients. This study examines the neuropsychological effects of dopaminergic pharmacotherapy in Parkinsonian depression. We compared cognitive function in depressed and non-depressed Parkinson patients at two time-points: following overnight withdrawal and after the usual morning regimen of dopaminergic medications. A total of 28 non-demented, right-handed patients with mild to moderate idiopathic Parkinson’s disease participated. Ten of these patients were depressed according to DSM IV criteria. Results revealed a statistically significant interaction between depression and medication status on three measures of verbal memory and a facial affect naming task. In all cases, depressed Parkinson’s patients performed significantly more poorly while on dopaminergic medication than while off. The opposite pattern emerged for the non-depressed Parkinson’s group. The administration of dopaminergic medication to depressed Parkinson patients may carry unintended risks.
doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2013.06.003
PMCID: PMC3805794  PMID: 23838419
Parkinson; mood; cognition; emotion; dopamine
4.  Thalamic cholinergic innervation and postural sensory integration function in Parkinson’s disease 
Brain  2013;136(11):3282-3289.
The pathophysiology of postural instability in Parkinson’s disease remains poorly understood. Normal postural function depends in part on the ability of the postural control system to integrate visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular sensory information. Degeneration of cholinergic neurons in the brainstem pedunculopontine nucleus complex and their thalamic efferent terminals has been implicated in postural control deficits in Parkinson’s disease. Our aim was to investigate the relationship of cholinergic terminal loss in thalamus and cortex, and nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation, on postural sensory integration function in Parkinson’s disease. We studied 124 subjects with Parkinson’s disease (32 female/92 male; 65.5 ± 7.4 years old; 6.0 ± 4.2 years motor disease duration; modified Hoehn and Yahr mean stage 2.4 ± 0.5) and 25 control subjects (10 female/15 male, 66.8 ± 10.1 years old). All subjects underwent 11C-dihydrotetrabenazine vesicular monoaminergic transporter type 2 and 11C-methylpiperidin-4-yl propionate acetylcholinesterase positron emission tomography and the sensory organization test balance platform protocol. Measures of dopaminergic and cholinergic terminal integrity were obtained, i.e. striatal vesicular monoaminergic transporter type 2 binding (distribution volume ratio) and thalamic and cortical acetylcholinesterase hydrolysis rate per minute (k3), respectively. Total centre of pressure excursion (speed), a measure of total sway, and sway variability were determined for individual sensory organization test conditions. Based on normative data, principal component analysis was performed to reduce postural sensory organization functions to robust factors for regression analysis with the dopaminergic and cholinergic terminal data. Factor analysis demonstrated two factors with eigenvalues >2 that explained 52.2% of the variance, mainly reflecting postural sway during sensory organization test Conditions 1–3 and 5, respectively. Regression analysis of the Conditions 1–3 postural sway-related factor [R2adj = 0.123, F(5,109) = 4.2, P = 0.002] showed that decreased thalamic cholinergic innervation was associated with increased centre of pressure sway speed (β = −0.389, t = −3.4, P = 0.001) while controlling for covariate effects of cognitive capacity and parkinsonian motor impairments. There was no significant effect of cortical cholinergic terminal deficits or striatal dopaminergic terminal deficits. This effect could only be found for the subjects with Parkinson’s disease. We conclude that postural sensory integration function of subjects with Parkinson’s disease is modulated by pedunculopontine nucleus-thalamic but not cortical cholinergic innervation. Impaired integrity of pedunculopontine nucleus cholinergic neurons and their thalamic efferents play a role in postural control in patients with Parkinson’s disease, possibly by participating in integration of multimodal sensory input information.
doi:10.1093/brain/awt247
PMCID: PMC3900870  PMID: 24056537
Parkinson’s disease; pedunculopontine nucleus; postural sensory organization; positron emission tomography; acetylcholine
5.  Genetic impact on cognition and brain function in newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease: ICICLE-PD study 
Brain  2014;137(10):2743-2758.
See Dujardin (doi:10.1093/brain/awu218) for a scientific commentary on this article. Nombela et al. present data from the ICICLE-PD study of cognition in newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease. Consistent with the ‘Dual Syndrome’ hypothesis, impairments in executive function reflect a frontal dopaminergic syndrome modulated by COMT genotype, while visuospatial and memory deficits reflect disruption of temporo-parietal systems modulated by MAPT and APOE.
Parkinson’s disease is associated with multiple cognitive impairments and increased risk of dementia, but the extent of these deficits varies widely among patients. The ICICLE-PD study was established to define the characteristics and prevalence of cognitive change soon after diagnosis, in a representative cohort of patients, using a multimodal approach. Specifically, we tested the ‘Dual Syndrome’ hypothesis for cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease, which distinguishes an executive syndrome (affecting the frontostriatal regions due to dopaminergic deficits) from a posterior cortical syndrome (affecting visuospatial, mnemonic and semantic functions related to Lewy body pathology and secondary cholinergic loss). An incident Parkinson’s disease cohort (n = 168, median 8 months from diagnosis to participation) and matched control group (n = 85) were recruited to a neuroimaging study at two sites in the UK. All participants underwent clinical, neuropsychological and functional magnetic resonance imaging assessments. The three neuroimaging tasks (Tower of London, Spatial Rotations and Memory Encoding Tasks) were designed to probe executive, visuospatial and memory encoding domains, respectively. Patients were also genotyped for three polymorphisms associated with cognitive change in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders: (i) rs4680 for COMT Val158Met polymorphism; (ii) rs9468 for MAPT H1 versus H2 haplotype; and (iii) rs429358 for APOE-ε2, 3, 4. We identified performance deficits in all three cognitive domains, which were associated with regionally specific changes in cortical activation. Task-specific regional activations in Parkinson’s disease were linked with genetic variation: the rs4680 polymorphism modulated the effect of levodopa therapy on planning-related activations in the frontoparietal network; the MAPT haplotype modulated parietal activations associated with spatial rotations; and APOE allelic variation influenced the magnitude of activation associated with memory encoding. This study demonstrates that neurocognitive deficits are common even in recently diagnosed patients with Parkinson’s disease, and that the associated regional brain activations are influenced by genotype. These data further support the dual syndrome hypothesis of cognitive change in Parkinson’s disease. Longitudinal data will confirm the extent to which these early neurocognitive changes, and their genetic factors, influence the long-term risk of dementia in Parkinson’s disease. The combination of genetics and functional neuroimaging provides a potentially useful method for stratification and identification of candidate markers, in future clinical trials against cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease.
doi:10.1093/brain/awu201
PMCID: PMC4163033  PMID: 25080285
Parkinson’s disease; cognition; functional MRI; genetics
6.  Motivational modulation of bradykinesia in Parkinson’s disease off and on dopaminergic medication 
Journal of Neurology  2014;261(6):1080-1089.
Motivational influence on bradykinesia in Parkinson’s disease may be observed in situations of emotional and physical stress, a phenomenon known as paradoxical kinesis. However, little is known about motivational modulation of movement speed beyond these extreme circumstances. In particular, it is not known if motivational factors affect movement speed by improving movement preparation/initiation or execution (or both) and how this effect relates to the patients’ medication state. In the present study, we tested if provision of motivational incentive through monetary reward would speed-up movement initiation and/or execution in Parkinson’s disease patients and if this effect depended on dopaminergic medication. We studied the effect of monetary incentive on simple reaction time in 11 Parkinson’s disease patients both “off” and “on” dopaminergic medication and in 11 healthy participants. The simple reaction time task was performed across unrewarded and rewarded blocks. The initiation time and movement time were quantified separately. Anticipation errors and long responses were also recorded. The prospect of reward improved initiation times in Parkinson’s disease patients both “off” and “on” dopaminergic medication, to a similar extent as in healthy participants. However, for “off” medication, this improvement was associated with increased frequency of anticipation errors, which were eliminated by dopamine replacement. Dopamine replacement had an additional, albeit small effect, on reward-related improvement of movement execution. Motivational strategies are helpful in overcoming bradykinesia in Parkinson’s disease. Motivational factors may have a greater effect on bradykinesia when patients are “on” medication, as dopamine appears to be required for overcoming speed-accuracy trade-off and for improvement of movement execution. Thus, medication status should be an important consideration in movement rehabilitation programmes for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00415-014-7315-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00415-014-7315-x
PMCID: PMC4057625  PMID: 24687892
Parkinson’s disease; Bradykinesia; Motivation; Reward; Reaction time
7.  Differential Effects of Parkinson's Disease and Dopamine Replacement on Memory Encoding and Retrieval 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74044.
Increasingly memory deficits are recognized in Parkinson's disease (PD). In PD, the dopamine-producing cells of the substantia nigra (SN) are significantly degenerated whereas those in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are relatively spared. Dopamine-replacement medication improves cognitive processes that implicate the SN-innervated dorsal striatum but is thought to impair those that depend upon the VTA-supplied ventral striatum, limbic and prefrontal cortices. Our aim was to examine memory encoding and retrieval in PD and how they are affected by dopamine replacement. Twenty-nine PD patients performed the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) and a non-verbal analogue, the Aggie Figures Learning Test (AFLT), both on and off dopaminergic medications. Twenty-seven, age-matched controls also performed these memory tests twice and their data were analyzed to correspond to the ON-OFF order of the PD patients to whom they were matched. We contrasted measures that emphasized with those that accentuated retrieval and investigated the effect of PD and dopamine-replacement on these processes separately. For PD patients relative to controls, encoding performance was normal in the off state and was impaired on dopaminergic medication. Retrieval was impaired off medication and improved by dopamine repletion. This pattern of findings suggests that VTA-innervated brain regions such as ventral striatum, limbic and prefrontal cortices are implicated in encoding, whereas the SN-supplied dorsal striatum mediates retrieval. Understanding this pattern of spared functions and deficits in PD, and the effect of dopamine replacement on these distinct memory processes, should prompt closer scrutiny of patients' cognitive complaints to inform titration of dopamine replacement dosages along with motor symptoms.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074044
PMCID: PMC3784427  PMID: 24086309
8.  The neurobiology of glucocerebrosidase-associated parkinsonism: a positron emission tomography study of dopamine synthesis and regional cerebral blood flow 
Brain  2012;135(8):2440-2448.
Mutations in GBA, the gene encoding glucocerebrosidase, the enzyme deficient in Gaucher disease, are common risk factors for Parkinson disease, as patients with Parkinson disease are over five times more likely to carry GBA mutations than healthy controls. Patients with GBA mutations generally have an earlier onset of Parkinson disease and more cognitive impairment than those without GBA mutations. We investigated whether GBA mutations alter the neurobiology of Parkinson disease, studying brain dopamine synthesis and resting regional cerebral blood flow in 107 subjects (38 women, 69 men). We measured dopamine synthesis with 18F-fluorodopa positron emission tomography, and resting regional cerebral blood flow with H215O positron emission tomography in the wakeful, resting state in four study groups: (i) patients with Parkinson disease and Gaucher disease (n = 7, average age = 56.6 ± 9.2 years); (ii) patients with Parkinson disease without GBA mutations (n = 11, 62.1 ± 7.1 years); (iii) patients with Gaucher disease without parkinsonism, but with a family history of Parkinson disease (n = 14, 52.6 ± 12.4 years); and (iv) healthy GBA-mutation carriers with a family history of Parkinson disease (n = 7, 50.1 ± 18 years). We compared each study group with a matched control group. Data were analysed with region of interest and voxel-based methods. Disease duration and Parkinson disease functional and staging scores were similar in the two groups with parkinsonism, as was striatal dopamine synthesis: both had greatest loss in the caudal striatum (putamen Ki loss: 44 and 42%, respectively), with less reduction in the caudate (20 and 18% loss). However, the group with both Parkinson and Gaucher diseases showed decreased resting regional cerebral blood flow in the lateral parieto-occipital association cortex and precuneus bilaterally. Furthermore, two subjects with Gaucher disease without parkinsonian manifestations showed diminished striatal dopamine. In conclusion, the pattern of dopamine loss in patients with both Parkinson and Gaucher disease was similar to sporadic Parkinson disease, indicating comparable damage in midbrain neurons. However, H215O positron emission tomography studies indicated that these subjects have decreased resting activity in a pattern characteristic of diffuse Lewy body disease. These findings provide insight into the pathophysiology of GBA-associated parkinsonism.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws174
PMCID: PMC3407426  PMID: 22843412
brain imaging; genetic risk; positron emission tomography (PET); Parkinson disease; lysosomal storage disorders
9.  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.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr080
PMCID: PMC3097893  PMID: 21596771
Parkinson's; disease; dopamine; gambling; decision making; risk
10.  Leucoaraiosis, nigrostriatal denervation and motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease 
Brain  2011;134(8):2358-2365.
Leucoaraiosis is associated with motor symptoms in otherwise normal older adults. Comorbid leucoaraiosis is predicted to contribute also to motor features in Parkinson’s disease but previous studies of white matter changes in Parkinson’s disease show variable results. No prior studies have compared directly the effects of both leucoaraiosis and the degree of nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation on motor features. We investigated the effect of leucoaraiosis severity on motor impairment independent of the degree of nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation in Parkinson’s disease. Seventy-three subjects with Parkinson’s disease (Hoehn and Yahr stages 1–3) underwent brain magnetic resonance and [11C]dihydrotetrabenazine vesicular monoamine transporter type 2 positron emission tomography imaging. Automated assessment of supratentorial fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance hyperintense white matter voxels was performed using cerebellar white matter as the intensity reference. White matter signal hyperintensity burden was log-transformed and normalized for brain volume. Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale total and subscore ratings were assessed to determine motor impairment. Subjects receiving dopaminergic medications were examined in the clinically defined ‘OFF’ state. Multivariate regression analysis with measures of white matter signal hyperintensity burden and nigrostriatal denervation as independent variables demonstrated a significant overall model for total motor Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale scores (F = 11.4, P < 0.0001) with significant regression effects for both white matter signal hyperintensity burden (t = 2.0, β = 0.22, P = 0.045) and striatal monoaminergic binding (t = −3.5, β = −0.38, P = 0.0008). Axial motor impairment demonstrated a robust association with white matter signal hyperintensity burden (t = 4.0, β = 0.43, P = 0.0001) compared with striatal monoaminergic binding (t = −2.1, β = 0.22, P = 0.043). White matter signal hyperintensity burden regression effects for bradykinesia had borderline significance. No significant white matter signal hyperintensity burden effects were found for rigidity or tremor subscores. White matter signal hyperintensity burden was significantly higher in the subgroup with postural instability and gait difficulties compared with the tremor-predominant subgroup despite no significant differences in age or duration of disease. These findings indicate that increased white matter signal hyperintensity burden is associated with worse motor performance independent of the degree of nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation in Parkinson’s disease. Comorbid white matter disease is a greater determinant of axial motor impairment than nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr139
PMCID: PMC3155702  PMID: 21653540
dopamine; motor; Parkinson’s disease; leucoaraiosis; magnetic resonance imaging; white matter hyperintensities
11.  [123I]FP-CIT SPECT shows a pronounced decline of striatal dopamine transporter labelling in early and advanced Parkinson's disease. 
OBJECTIVES: The main neuropathological feature in Parkinson's disease is a severe degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra resulting in a loss of dopamine (DA) transporters in the striatum. [123I]beta-CIT single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) studies have demonstrated this loss of striatal DA transporter content in Parkinson's disease in vivo. However, studies with this radioligand also showed that an adequate imaging of the striatal DA transporter content could only be performed on the day after the injection of radioligand, which is not convenient for outpatient evaluations. Recently, a new radioligand [123I]FP-CIT, with faster kinetics than beta-CIT, became available for imaging of the DA transporter with SPECT, and the applicability of this ligand was tested in patients with early and advanced Parkinson's disease, using a one day protocol. METHODS: [123I]FP-CIT SPECT was performed in six patients with early and 12 patients with advanced Parkinson's disease, and in six age matched healthy volunteers. RESULTS: Compared with an age matched control group striatal [123I]FP-CIT uptake in patients with Parkinson's disease was decreased, and this result was measurable three hours after injection of the radioligand. In the Parkinson's disease group the uptake in the putamen was reduced more than in the caudate nucleus. The contralateral striatal uptake of [123I]FP-CIT was significantly lower than the ipsilateral striatal uptake in the Parkinson's disease group. Specific to non-specific striatal uptake ratios correlated with the Hoehn and Yahr stage. A subgroup of patients with early Parkinson's disease also showed significantly lower uptake in the putamen and lower putamen:caudate ratios than controls. CONCLUSION: [123I]FP-CIT SPECT allows a significant discrimination between patients with Parkinson's disease and age matched controls with a one day protocol, which will be to great advantage in outpatient evaluations.
Images
PMCID: PMC486723  PMID: 9048712
12.  Parkinson's disease 
Clinical Evidence  2007;2007:1203.
Introduction
Around 1% of adults have Parkinson’s disease, with a median time of 9 years between diagnosis and death.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of drug treatments in people with early-stage Parkinson’s disease? What are the effects of adding other treatments in people with Parkinson’s disease who have motor complications from levodopa? What are the effects of surgery in people with later Parkinson’s disease? What are the effects of nursing and rehabilitation treatments in people with Parkinson’s disease? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to November 2006 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 59 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adding a catechol-methyl transferase inhibitor, or dopamine agonist to levodopa; amantadine; dopamine agonists; levodopa (immediate-release, modified-release); monoamine oxidase B inhibitors; occupational therapy; pallidal deep brain stimulation; pallidotomy; Parkinson’s disease nurse specialist interventions; physiotherapy; speech and language therapy; subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation; subthalamotomy; swallowing therapy; thalamic deep brain stimulation; and thalamotomy.
Key Points
Around 1% of adults have Parkinson's disease, with a median time of 9 years between diagnosis and death.
Levodopa is considered effective at reducing symptoms in early Parkinson's disease, but can cause irreversible dyskinesias and motor fluctuation in the long term. We don't know whether levodopa, or any other treatment, improves survival. Modified-release levodopa seems no more effective than immediate-release levodopa at improving symptoms, and delaying motor complications.
Monoamine oxidase B inhibitors (MAOBIs) may improve symptoms, reduce motor fluctuations, and delay the need for levodopa, but can cause adverse effects.
We don't know whether amantadine is beneficial for people with early Parkinson's disease, although it is currently used to treat dyskinesia. People taking amantadine for dyskinesia in early Parkinson's may have a higher risk of psychiatric adverse effects in the later stages of the disease.
Adding a catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) inhibitor or dopamine agonist to levodopa, or using dopamine agonists as monotherapy, may reduce ‘off' time and improve symptoms compared with levodopa alone, but can cause adverse effects. The COMT inhibitor tolcapone can cause fatal hepatic toxicity.
Surgery may be considered in people with later Parkinson's disease, but can cause fatalities. Post-operative complications include speech problems and apraxia. Although evidence is lacking, many clinicians feel that both pallidal deep brain stimulation and subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation improve symptoms of advanced Parkinson's disease.Bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation may lead to greater improvement in motor symptoms, but more cognitive impairment, than pallidal deep brain stimulation. Pallidal deep brain stimulation is associated with severe intraoperative complications.Adding subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation to medical treatment may improve quality of life and motor symptoms compared with medical treatment alone or other forms of surgery. It can, however, cause neurological complications, neuropsychological adverse effects, and fatal surgical complications.Unilateral pallidotomy may improve symptoms and function more than medical treatment, but may be less effective than bilateral subthalamic stimulation.We don't know whether subthalamotomy or thalamotomy are effective.
Nurse specialist interventions, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and swallowing therapy are generally considered effective and safe in people with Parkinson's disease, although few studies have been found.
PMCID: PMC2943804  PMID: 19454106
13.  Motor and cognitive function in Lewy body dementia: comparison with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 
OBJECTIVE: Motor and cognitive function were compared in patients with Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease, or Alzheimer's disease, to identify features that may be clinically useful in differentiating Lewy body dementia from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. METHODS: A range of neuropsychological function and extrapyrimidal signs (EPS) was assessed in 16 patients with Lewy body dementia, 15 with Parkinson's disease, 25 with Alzheimer's disease, and 22 control subjects. RESULTS: The severity of total motor disability scores increased in the following order: controls approximately = Alzheimer's disease << Parkinson's disease < Lewy body dementia. Compared with patients with Parkinson's disease, patients with Lewy body dementia had greater scores for rigidity and deficits in the finger tapping test, but rest tremor and left/right asymmetry in EPS were more evident in Parkinson's disease. Patients with Lewy body dementia were also less likely to present with left/right asymmetry in EPS at the onset of their parkinsonism. "Sensitivity" to neuroleptic drugs was noted in 33% of patients with Lewy body dementia. Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia groups had greater severity of dementia compared with the Parkinson's disease group and controls. Neuropsychological evaluation disclosed severe but similar degrees of impaired performances in tests of attention (digit span), frontal lobe function (verbal fluency, category, and Nelson card sort test) and motor sequencing in both Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease groups, than Parkinson's disease and controls. In the clock face test, improved performance was noted in the "copy" compared to "draw" part of the test in controls, patients with Alzheimer's disease, and those with Parkinson's disease, but not in the patients with Lewy body dementia, who achieved equally poor scores in both parts of the test. CONCLUSIONS: EPS in Lewy body dementia resemble those seen in idiopathic Parkinson's disease, although less rest tremor and left/right asymmetry but more severe rigidity favours a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. The unique profile of patients with Lewy body dementia seen in the clock face test suggests that this simple and easy to administer test may be useful in the clinical setting to differentiate Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Images
PMCID: PMC1064153  PMID: 9069479
14.  Cav1.3 channels control D2-autoreceptor responses via NCS-1 in substantia nigra dopamine neurons 
Brain  2014;137(8):2287-2302.
See Borgkvist et al. (doi:10.1093/brain/awu150) for a scientific commentary on this article.
D2 autoreceptors and L-type calcium channels are both implicated in Parkinson’s disease, but how they interact is unclear. Dragicevic et al. reveal that L-type calcium channels can modulate D2-autoreceptor responses via the neuronal calcium sensor NCS-1. This dopamine-dependent signalling network is altered in Parkinson’s disease and could represent a therapeutic target.
Dopamine midbrain neurons within the substantia nigra are particularly prone to degeneration in Parkinson’s disease. Their selective loss causes the major motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but the causes for the high vulnerability of SN DA neurons, compared to neighbouring, more resistant ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons, are still unclear. Consequently, there is still no cure available for Parkinson’s disease. Current therapies compensate the progressive loss of dopamine by administering its precursor l-DOPA and/or dopamine D2-receptor agonists. D2-autoreceptors and Cav1.3-containing L-type Ca2+ channels both contribute to Parkinson’s disease pathology. L-type Ca2+ channel blockers protect SN DA neurons from degeneration in Parkinson’s disease and its mouse models, and they are in clinical trials for neuroprotective Parkinson’s disease therapy. However, their physiological functions in SN DA neurons remain unclear. D2-autoreceptors tune firing rates and dopamine release of SN DA neurons in a negative feedback loop through activation of G-protein coupled potassium channels (GIRK2, or KCNJ6). Mature SN DA neurons display prominent, non-desensitizing somatodendritic D2-autoreceptor responses that show pronounced desensitization in PARK-gene Parkinson’s disease mouse models. We analysed surviving human SN DA neurons from patients with Parkinson’s disease and from controls, and detected elevated messenger RNA levels of D2-autoreceptors and GIRK2 in Parkinson’s disease. By electrophysiological analysis of postnatal juvenile and adult mouse SN DA neurons in in vitro brain-slices, we observed that D2-autoreceptor desensitization is reduced with postnatal maturation. Furthermore, a transient high-dopamine state in vivo, caused by one injection of either l-DOPA or cocaine, induced adult-like, non-desensitizing D2-autoreceptor responses, selectively in juvenile SN DA neurons, but not ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. With pharmacological and genetic tools, we identified that the expression of this sensitized D2-autoreceptor phenotype required Cav1.3 L-type Ca2+ channel activity, internal Ca2+, and the interaction of the neuronal calcium sensor NCS-1 with D2-autoreceptors. Thus, we identified a first physiological function of Cav1.3 L-type Ca2+ channels in SN DA neurons for homeostatic modulation of their D2-autoreceptor responses. L-type Ca2+ channel activity however, was not important for pacemaker activity of mouse SN DA neurons. Furthermore, we detected elevated substantia nigra dopamine messenger RNA levels of NCS-1 (but not Cav1.2 or Cav1.3) after cocaine in mice, as well as in remaining human SN DA neurons in Parkinson’s disease. Thus, our findings provide a novel homeostatic functional link in SN DA neurons between Cav1.3- L-type-Ca2+ channels and D2-autoreceptor activity, controlled by NCS-1, and indicate that this adaptive signalling network (Cav1.3/NCS-1/D2/GIRK2) is also active in human SN DA neurons, and contributes to Parkinson’s disease pathology. As it is accessible to pharmacological modulation, it provides a novel promising target for tuning substantia nigra dopamine neuron activity, and their vulnerability to degeneration.
doi:10.1093/brain/awu131
PMCID: PMC4107734  PMID: 24934288
D2-autoreceptor; isradipine; Parkinsons disease; l-DOPA; cocaine
15.  Disease duration and the integrity of the nigrostriatal system in Parkinson’s disease 
Brain  2013;136(8):2419-2431.
The pace of nigrostriatal degeneration, both with regards to striatal denervation and loss of melanin and tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons, is poorly understood especially early in the Parkinson’s disease process. This study investigated the extent of nigrostriatal degeneration in patients with Parkinson’s disease at different disease durations from time of diagnosis. Brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease (n = 28) with post-diagnostic intervals of 1–27 years and normal elderly control subjects (n = 9) were examined. Sections of the post-commissural putamen and substantia nigra pars compacta were processed for tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine transporter immunohistochemistry. The post-commissural putamen was selected due to tissue availability and the fact that dopamine loss in this region is associated with motor disability in Parkinson’s disease. Quantitative assessments of putaminal dopaminergic fibre density and stereological estimates of the number of melanin-containing and tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (both in total and in subregions) were performed by blinded investigators in cases where suitable material was available (n = 17). Dopaminergic markers in the dorsal putamen showed a modest loss at 1 year after diagnosis in the single case available for study. There was variable (moderate to marked) loss, at 3 years. At 4 years post-diagnosis and thereafter, there was virtually complete loss of staining in the dorsal putamen with only an occasional abnormal dopaminergic fibre detected. In the substantia nigra pars compacta, there was a 50–90% loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons from the earliest time points studied with only marginal additional loss thereafter. There was only a ∼10% loss of melanized neurons in the one case evaluated 1 year post-diagnosis, and variable (30 to 60%) loss during the first several years post-diagnosis with more gradual and subtle loss in the second decade. At all time points, there were more melanin-containing than tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells. Loss of dopaminergic markers in the dorsal putamen occurs rapidly and is virtually complete by 4 years post-diagnosis. Loss of melanized nigral neurons lags behind the loss of dopamine markers. These findings have important implications for understanding the nature of Parkinson’s disease neurodegeneration and for studies of putative neuroprotective/restorative therapies.
doi:10.1093/brain/awt192
PMCID: PMC3722357  PMID: 23884810
Parkinsons disease; human brain; morphometry; substantia nigra; neuroscience
16.  Nocturnal sleep enhances working memory training in Parkinson's disease but not Lewy body dementia 
Brain  2012;135(9):2789-2797.
Working memory is essential to higher order cognition (e.g. fluid intelligence) and to performance of daily activities. Though working memory capacity was traditionally thought to be inflexible, recent studies report that working memory capacity can be trained and that offline processes occurring during sleep may facilitate improvements in working memory performance. We utilized a 48-h in-laboratory protocol consisting of repeated digit span forward (short-term attention measure) and digit span backward (working memory measure) tests and overnight polysomnography to investigate the specific sleep-dependent processes that may facilitate working memory performance improvements in the synucleinopathies. We found that digit span backward performance improved following a nocturnal sleep interval in patients with Parkinson's disease on dopaminergic medication, but not in those not taking dopaminergic medication and not in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. Furthermore, the improvements in patients with Parkinson's disease on dopaminergic medication were positively correlated with the amount of slow-wave sleep that patients obtained between training sessions and negatively correlated with severity of nocturnal oxygen desaturation. The translational implication is that working memory capacity is potentially modifiable in patients with Parkinson's disease but that sleep disturbances may first need to be corrected.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws192
PMCID: PMC3577106  PMID: 22907117
consolidation; sleep; working memory; training; Parkinson's disease; dementia with Lewy bodies
17.  Dopamine overdose hypothesis: Evidence and clinical implications 
Summary
About a half a century has passed since dopamine was identified as a neurotransmitter, and it has been several decades since it was established that people with Parkinson’s disease receive motor symptom relief from oral levodopa. Despite the evidence that levodopa can reduce motor symptoms, there has been a developing body of literature that dopaminergic therapy can improve cognitive functions in some patients but make them worse in others. Over the past two decades, several laboratories have shown that dopaminergic medications can impair the action of intact neural structures and impair the behaviors associated with these structures. In this review we consider the evidence that has accumulated in the areas of reversal learning, motor sequence learning, and other cognitive tasks. The purported inverted-U shaped relationship between dopamine levels and performance is complex and includes many contributory factors. The regional striatal topography of nigrostriatal denervation is a critical factor as supported by multimodal neuroimaging studies. A patient's individual genotype will determine the relative baseline position on this inverted-U curve. Dopaminergic pharmacotherapy and individual gene polymorphisms can affect the mesolimbic and prefrontal cortical dopaminergic functions in a comparable inverted-U dose-response relationship. Depending on these factors, a patient can respond positively or negatively to levodopa when performing reversal learning and motor sequence learning tasks. These tasks may continue to be relevant as our society moves to increased technological demands of a digital world that requires newly learned motor sequences and adaptive behaviors to manage daily life activities.
doi:10.1002/mds.25687
PMCID: PMC3859825  PMID: 24123087
dopamine; ventral striatum; dorsal striatum; prefrontal cortex; learning
18.  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.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp054
PMCID: PMC3479148  PMID: 19346328 CAMSID: cams2369
Parkinson’s disease; dopamine; impulse control disorders; pathological gambling; PET; functional imaging
19.  L-dopa impairs learning, but spares generalization, in Parkinson’s disease 
Neuropsychologia  2005;44(5):774-784.
In this study we examined the effect of dopaminergic modulation on learning and memory. Parkinson’s patients were tested ‘on’ versus ‘off’ dopaminergic medication, using a two-phase learning and transfer task. We found that dopaminergic medication was associated with impaired learning of an incrementally acquired concurrent discrimination task, while patients withdrawn from dopaminergic medication performed as well as controls. In addition, we found a dissociation of the effect of medication within a single two-phase task: patients tested ‘on’ medication were not impaired at the ability to generalize based on learned information. The deficit among medicated patients appeared to be related specifically to the concurrent, incremental, feedback-based nature of the task: such a deficit was not found in a version of the task in which demands for concurrent error-processing learning were reduced. Taken together with a growing body of evidence emphasizing a role for midbrain dopamine in error-correcting, feedback-based learning processes, the present results suggest a framework for understanding previously conflicting results regarding the effect of medication on learning and memory in Parkinson’s disease.
doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2005.07.013
PMCID: PMC1626444  PMID: 16150469
Dopamine; Learning; Memory; Basal ganglia; Cognition
20.  Parkinson’s disease in GTP cyclohydrolase 1 mutation carriers 
Brain  2014;137(9):2480-2492.
Mutations in the gene encoding the dopamine-synthetic enzyme GTP cyclohydrolase-1 (GCH1) cause DOPA-responsive dystonia (DRD). Mencacci et al. demonstrate that GCH1 variants are associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease in both DRD pedigrees and in patients with Parkinson's disease but without a family history of DRD.
GTP cyclohydrolase 1, encoded by the GCH1 gene, is an essential enzyme for dopamine production in nigrostriatal cells. Loss-of-function mutations in GCH1 result in severe reduction of dopamine synthesis in nigrostriatal cells and are the most common cause of DOPA-responsive dystonia, a rare disease that classically presents in childhood with generalized dystonia and a dramatic long-lasting response to levodopa. We describe clinical, genetic and nigrostriatal dopaminergic imaging ([123I]N-ω-fluoropropyl-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl) tropane single photon computed tomography) findings of four unrelated pedigrees with DOPA-responsive dystonia in which pathogenic GCH1 variants were identified in family members with adult-onset parkinsonism. Dopamine transporter imaging was abnormal in all parkinsonian patients, indicating Parkinson’s disease-like nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation. We subsequently explored the possibility that pathogenic GCH1 variants could contribute to the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, even in the absence of a family history for DOPA-responsive dystonia. The frequency of GCH1 variants was evaluated in whole-exome sequencing data of 1318 cases with Parkinson’s disease and 5935 control subjects. Combining cases and controls, we identified a total of 11 different heterozygous GCH1 variants, all at low frequency. This list includes four pathogenic variants previously associated with DOPA-responsive dystonia (Q110X, V204I, K224R and M230I) and seven of undetermined clinical relevance (Q110E, T112A, A120S, D134G, I154V, R198Q and G217V). The frequency of GCH1 variants was significantly higher (Fisher’s exact test P-value 0.0001) in cases (10/1318 = 0.75%) than in controls (6/5935 = 0.1%; odds ratio 7.5; 95% confidence interval 2.4–25.3). Our results show that rare GCH1 variants are associated with an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. These findings expand the clinical and biological relevance of GTP cycloydrolase 1 deficiency, suggesting that it not only leads to biochemical striatal dopamine depletion and DOPA-responsive dystonia, but also predisposes to nigrostriatal cell loss. Further insight into GCH1-associated pathogenetic mechanisms will shed light on the role of dopamine metabolism in nigral degeneration and Parkinson’s disease.
doi:10.1093/brain/awu179
PMCID: PMC4132650  PMID: 24993959
GCH1; DOPA-responsive-dystonia; Parkinson’s disease; dopamine; exome sequencing
21.  Reward-learning and the novelty-seeking personality: a between- and within-subjects study of the effects of dopamine agonists on young Parkinson's patients* 
Brain  2009;132(9):2385-2395.
Parkinson's disease is characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic pathways projecting to the striatum. These pathways are implicated in reward prediction. In this study, we investigated reward and punishment processing in young, never-medicated Parkinson's disease patients, recently medicated patients receiving the dopamine receptor agonists pramipexole and ropinirole and healthy controls. The never-medicated patients were also re-evaluated after 12 weeks of treatment with dopamine agonists. Reward and punishment processing was assessed by a feedback-based probabilistic classification task. Personality characteristics were measured by the temperament and character inventory. Results revealed that never-medicated patients with Parkinson's disease showed selective deficits on reward processing and novelty seeking, which were remediated by dopamine agonists. These medications disrupted punishment processing. In addition, dopamine agonists increased the correlation between reward processing and novelty seeking, whereas these drugs decreased the correlation between punishment processing and harm avoidance. Our finding that dopamine agonist administration in young patients with Parkinson's disease resulted in increased novelty seeking, enhanced reward processing, and decreased punishment processing may shed light on the cognitive and personality bases of the impulse control disorders, which arise as side-effects of dopamine agonist therapy in some Parkinson's disease patients.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp094
PMCID: PMC2766178  PMID: 19416950
Parkinson's disease; reward; novelty seeking; dopamine; pramipexole; ropinirole
22.  The Effect of Motivation on Movement: A Study of Bradykinesia in Parkinson’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47138.
Background
Bradykinesia is a cardinal feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Despite its disabling impact, the precise cause of this symptom remains elusive. Recent thinking suggests that bradykinesia may be more than simply a manifestation of motor slowness, and may in part reflect a specific deficit in the operation of motivational vigour in the striatum. In this paper we test the hypothesis that movement time in PD can be modulated by the specific nature of the motivational salience of possible action-outcomes.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We developed a novel movement time paradigm involving winnable rewards and avoidable painful electrical stimuli. The faster the subjects performed an action the more likely they were to win money (in appetitive blocks) or to avoid a painful shock (in aversive blocks). We compared PD patients when OFF dopaminergic medication with controls. Our key finding is that PD patients OFF dopaminergic medication move faster to avoid aversive outcomes (painful electric shocks) than to reap rewarding outcomes (winning money) and, unlike controls, do not speed up in the current trial having failed to win money in the previous one. We also demonstrate that sensitivity to distracting stimuli is valence specific.
Conclusions/Significance
We suggest this pattern of results can be explained in terms of low dopamine levels in the Parkinsonian state leading to an insensitivity to appetitive outcomes, and thus an inability to modulate movement speed in the face of rewards. By comparison, sensitivity to aversive stimuli is relatively spared. Our findings point to a rarely described property of bradykinesia in PD, namely its selective regulation by everyday outcomes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047138
PMCID: PMC3471921  PMID: 23077557
23.  Resting state functional connectivity of the striatum in Parkinson’s disease 
Brain  2012;135(12):3699-3711.
Classical accounts of the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease have emphasized degeneration of dopaminergic nigrostriatal neurons with consequent dysfunction of cortico–striatal–thalamic loops. In contrast, post-mortem studies indicate that pathological changes in Parkinson’s disease (Lewy neurites and Lewy bodies) first appear primarily in the lower brainstem with subsequent progression to more rostral parts of the neuraxis. The nigrostriatal and histological perspectives are not incompatible, but they do emphasize different anatomical structures. To address the question of which brain structures are functionally most affected by Parkinson’s disease, we performed a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study focused on striatal functional connectivity. We contrasted 13 patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease versus 19 age-matched control subjects, using methodology incorporating scrupulous attention to minimizing the effects of head motion during scanning. The principal finding in the Parkinson’s disease group was markedly lower striatal correlations with thalamus, midbrain, pons and cerebellum. This result reinforces the importance of the brainstem in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease. Focally altered functional connectivity also was observed in sensori-motor and visual areas of the cerebral cortex, as well the supramarginal gyrus. Striatal functional connectivity with the brainstem was graded (posterior putamen > anterior putamen > caudate), in both patients with Parkinson’s disease and control subjects, in a manner that corresponds to well-documented gradient of striatal dopaminergic function loss in Parkinson’s disease. We hypothesize that this gradient provides a clue to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws281
PMCID: PMC3525055  PMID: 23195207
Parkinson’s disease; functional MRI; striatum; brainstem; functional reorganization
24.  Parkinson's disease and dopaminergic therapy—differential effects on movement, reward and cognition 
Brain  2008;131(8):2094-2105.
Cognitive deficits are very common in Parkinson's disease particularly for ‘executive functions’ associated with frontal cortico-striatal networks. Previous work has identified deficits in tasks that require attentional control like task-switching, and reward-based tasks like gambling or reversal learning. However, there is a complex relationship between the specific cognitive problems faced by an individual patient, their stage of disease and dopaminergic treatment. We used a bimodality continuous performance task during fMRI to examine how patients with Parkinson's disease represent the prospect of reward and switch between competing task rules accordingly. The task-switch was not separately cued but was based on the implicit reward relevance of spatial and verbal dimensions of successive compound stimuli. Nineteen patients were studied in relative ‘on’ and ‘off’ states, induced by dopaminergic medication withdrawal (Hoehn and Yahr stages 1–4). Patients were able to successfully complete the task and establish a bias to one or other dimension in order to gain reward. However the lateral prefrontal cortex and caudate nucleus showed a non-linear U-shape relationship between motor disease severity and regional brain activation. Dopaminergic treatment led to a shift in this U-shape function, supporting the hypothesis of differential neurodegeneration in separate motor and cognitive cortico–striato–thalamo–cortical circuits. In addition, anterior cingulate activation associated with reward expectation declined with more severe disease, whereas activation following actual rewards increased with more severe disease. This may facilitate a change in goal-directed behaviours from deferred predicted rewards to immediate actual rewards, particularly when on dopaminergic treatment. We discuss the implications for investigation and optimal treatment of this common condition at different stages of disease.
doi:10.1093/brain/awn112
PMCID: PMC2494617  PMID: 18577547
Parkinson's disease; reward; task-shift; fMRI; dopamine
25.  Decision-making, impulsivity and addictions: Do Parkinson’s disease patients jump to conclusions? 
Links between impulsive compulsive behaviors in treated Parkinson’s disease, behavioral addictions and substance abuse have been postulated, but no direct comparisons have been carried out so far.
We directly compared patients with Parkinson’s disease with and without impulsive compulsive behaviors with illicit drug abusers, pathological gamblers and age-matched healthy controls using the beads task, a test of reflection impulsivity and a working memory task.
We found that all patients with Parkinson’s disease made more impulsive and irrational choices than the control group. Parkinson’s disease patients who had an impulsive compulsive behavior showed similar behavior to illicit substance abusers whereas patients without impulsive compulsive behaviors more closely resembled pathological gamblers. In contrast we found no difference in working memory performance within the Parkinson’s disease groups. However Parkinson’s disease patients without impulsive compulsive behaviors remembered distractors significantly less than all other patients during working memory tests.
We were able to correctly classify 96% of the Parkinson’s disease patients with respect to whether or not they had an impulsive compulsive behavior by analyzing 3 trials of the 80/20 loss condition of the beads task with a negative prediction value of 92.3% and we propose that this task may prove to be a powerful screening tool to detect an impulsive compulsive behavior in Parkinson’s disease. Our results also suggest that intact cortical processing and less distractibility in Parkinson’s disease patients without impulsive compulsive behaviors may protect them from developing behavioral addictions.
doi:10.1002/mds.25105
PMCID: PMC3412901  PMID: 22821557
Impulsive compulsive behavior; Parkinson’s disease; reflection impulsivity; pathological gambling; substance abuse; beads task

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