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1.  A Conditioned Response as a Measure of Impulsive-Compulsive Behaviours in Parkinson's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89319.
Parkinson's Disease patients wore a device on the wrist that gave reminders to take levodopa and also measured bradykinesia and dyskinesia. Consumption of medications was acknowledged by placing the thumb on the device. Some patients performed this acknowledgement repeatedly and unconsciously. This study examines whether this behaviour reflected increased impulsivity.
Methods and Results
Twenty five participants were selected because they had i) excess acknowledgements described above or ii) Impulsive-Compulsive Behaviours or iii) neither of these. A blinded assessor applied clinical scales to measure Impulsive-Compulsive Behaviours, cognition, depression, anxiety and apathy. A Response Ratio, representing the number of acknowledgements/number of doses (expressed as a percentage) was tightly correlated with ratings of Impulsive-Compulsive Behaviours (r2 = 0.79) in 19/25 subjects. Some of these patients had dyskinesia, which was higher with extraneous responses than with response indicating medication consumption. Six of the 25 subjects had high Impulsive-Compulsive Behaviour Scores, higher apathy scores, low levels of dyskinesia and normal Response Ratios. Patients without ICB (low RR) also had low dyskinesia levels regardless of the relevance of the response.
An elevated Response Ratio is a specific measure of a type of ICB where increased incentive salience is attributed to cues by the presence of high striatal dopamine levels, manifested by high levels of dyskinesia. This study also points to a second form of ICBs which occur in the absence of dyskinesia, has normal Response Ratios and higher apathy scores, and may represent prefrontal pathology.
PMCID: PMC3933354  PMID: 24586685
2.  Protocol for a home-based integrated physical therapy program to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:54.
The high incidence of falls associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) increases the risk of injuries and immobility and compromises quality of life. Although falls education and strengthening programs have shown some benefit in healthy older people, the ability of physical therapy interventions in home settings to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s has not been convincingly demonstrated.
180 community living people with PD will be randomly allocated to receive either a home-based integrated rehabilitation program (progressive resistance strength training, movement strategy training and falls education) or a home-based life skills program (control intervention). Both programs comprise one hour of treatment and one hour of structured homework per week over six weeks of home therapy. Blinded assessments occurring before therapy commences, the week after completion of therapy and 12 months following intervention will establish both the immediate and long-term benefits of home-based rehabilitation. The number of falls, number of repeat falls, falls rate and time to first fall will be the primary measures used to quantify outcome. The economic costs associated with injurious falls, and the costs of running the integrated rehabilitation program from a health system perspective will be established. The effects of intervention on motor and global disability and on quality of life will also be examined.
This study will provide new evidence on the outcomes and cost effectiveness of home-based movement rehabilitation programs for people living with PD.
Trial registration
The trial is registered on the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000390381).
PMCID: PMC3436761  PMID: 22799601
Parkinson’s disease; Accidental falls; Randomized controlled trial; Falls prevention
Psychiatry Research  2011;192(1):29-36.
Chorea-acanthocytosis (ChAc) is an uncommon autosomal recessive disorder due to mutations of the VPS13A gene, which encodes for the membrane protein chorein. ChAc presents with progressive limb and orobuccal chorea, but there is often a marked dysexecutive syndrome. ChAc may first present with neuropsychiatric disturbance such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), suggesting a particular role for disruption to striatal structures involved in non-motor frontostriatal loops, such as the head of the caudate nucleus. Two previous studies have suggested a marked reduction in volume in the caudate nucleus and putamen, but did not examine morphometric change.
We investigated morphometric change in 13 patients with genetically or biochemically confirmed ChAc and 26 age- and gender-matched controls. Subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging and manual segmentation of the caudate nucleus and putamen, and shape analysis using a non-parametric spherical harmonic technique.
Both structures showed significant and marked reductions in volume compared to controls, with reduction greatest in the caudate nucleus. Both structures showed significant shape differences, particularly in the head of the caudate nucleus. No significant correlation was shown between duration of illness and striatal volume or shape, suggesting that much structural change may have already taken place at the time of symptom onset.
Our results suggest that striatal neuron loss may occur early in the disease process, and follows a dorsal-ventral gradient that may correlate with early neuropsychiatric and cognitive presentations of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3324182  PMID: 21377843
neuroacanthocytosis; chorea-acanthocytosis; caudate nucleus; putamen; basal ganglia

Results 1-3 (3)