Chapter

Imaging Cognitive Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease

Nicolaas I. Bohnen and Kirk A. Frey

in Imaging in Parkinson’s Disease

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195393484
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914494 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393484.003.0074
Imaging Cognitive Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease

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Disturbances of cognition are frequent in Parkinson’s disease (PD), with an increasing prevalence of dementia with longer disease duration. The pathological hallmark of parkinsonian dementia is the presence of extra-nigral Lewy body pathology associated with dysfunction of multiple subcortical neurochemical projection systems. Unlike the severe loss of dopaminergic function that typifies early stage PD, more severe and extensive cholinergic deficits are consistently evident in more advanced patients with comorbid dementia. Indeed, PET and SPECT imaging studies indicate that cortical cholinergic deficits may be more extensive in PD patients with dementia relative to their non-parkinsonian demented counterparts with Alzheimer’s disease. This chapter discusses the relevance of cholinergic dysfunction in PD patients, particularly its correlation with impaired performance on tests of working memory and executive functioning. Recent imaging findings suggesting an increase in the deposition of cortical protein aggregates in cognitively impaired PD patients are also discussed.

Keywords: PD; PET; SPECT; cognitive dysfunction; PD dementia; cholinergic neurotransmission; cortical protein aggregation

Chapter.  14365 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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