"The best treatment option for managing the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease remains dopamine replacement therapy. In some patients however, it can have a negative effect on specific aspects of cognition. Our discovery will therefore enable us to explore different medication and non-medication based avenues that could help improve the overall health of those affected. Our findings may contribute to helping develop personalized medicine - an avenue that is currently commanding a great deal of attention", exclaims Dr. MacDonald.
Summary of the Research
Twenty two Parkinson's disease patients without dementia and twenty two healthy individuals were included in the first part of the study (behavioural), while thirteen healthy young adults participated in the second part of the study (neuroimaging). Each participant was asked to repeatedly choose numbers (288 times) such as selecting the higher of two numbers, for example. On some occasions, patients were given no reinforcement, while on other occasions, they were influenced by various cues that made it easier to answer (a function usually associated with the dorsal striatum), or more difficult to answer due to interference (associated with the ventral striatum). Parkinson's patients were tested on or off medication. Selection was validated with functional magnetic resonance imaging which was used to observe cerebral activity during the exercises. Results demonstrated that while dopamine replacement enhances results for conditions associated with interference (dorsal striatum), it reduces results for conditions associated with facilitation (ventral striatum).
|Contact: William Raillant-Clark|
University of Montreal