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August 1988

Cognitive and Motor Dysfunction in Parkinson's Disease: Clinical, Performance, and Computed Tomographic Correlations

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Lichter, Corbett, and Pollock), Medicine (Drs Lichter, Corbett, and Pollock), and Radiology (Dr Hope), Dunedin (New Zealand) Public Hospital; and the Departments of Psychology (Mr Fitzgibbon and Drs Davidson and Goddard) and Preventive and Social Medicine (Dr Sharples), University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Dr Lichter is now with the University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center.

Arch Neurol. 1988;45(8):854-860. doi:10.1001/archneur.1988.00520320040013

• The neuropathologic and pathophysiological relationship of specific to more generalized cognitive dysfunction in Parkinson's disease (PD) remains incompletely understood. This issue was examined in a study of 39 patients with PD, utilizing standardized clinical measures, computerized neuropsychological tests, and quantitative computed tomography. Disorders of visuospatial discrimination and perceptual-motor function closely paralleled motor scores, suggesting a common neuropathologic basis. Caudate nuclear and mesocortical dopamine depletion play a role in this context. More generalized cognitive dysfunction occurred in older patients with a somewhat longer disease duration, more advanced parkinsonism, and computed tomographic evidence of subcortical and frontal cortical atrophy but without significant cerebral atrophy when compared with age-matched controls. Further prospective clinicopathologic studies will be required to clarify the relative contribution of the primary dopaminergic dysfunction, age-related changes, Alzheimer-type pathologic condition, and other coexisting neurotransmitter deficits to the dementia seen in PD.

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