Cognitive impairment in patients with Parkinson disease

Nobuhito Abe, Etsuro Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Parkinson disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder resulting in motor symptoms and cognitive deficits. Neuropsychological studies have suggested that patients with Parkinson disease exhibit a broad range of cognitive deficits even in the early stages of the disease. In this review, we discuss the neuropsychological evidence for cognitive impairment in patients with Parkinson disease, outlining the different domains of cognitive disturbance. First, we review previous findings on executive dysfunction, which is associated with a disruption in frontostriatal circuitry mainly driven by dopaminergic dysmodulation. Executive dysfunction is the core symptom in the cognitive deficits in Parkinson disease. Second, we focus on impairment in different domains of memory function, such as short-term and long-term memory. Third, we discuss the pattern of cognitive deficits in visuospatial ability, ranging from basic perceptual processes to rather complex motor skills. Next, we summarize the profile of cognitive deficits in language, although previous findings are mixed and hence this topic is relatively controversial. Finally, we introduce several recent findings on social cognitive deficits, which is a new area of research that has emerged in the past decade. We also discuss the possible neural mechanisms underlying each domain of cognitive deficits in patients with Parkinson disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Nerve
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr 1


  • Cognitive impairment
  • Dopamine
  • Executive function
  • Frontostriatal circuitry
  • Parkinson disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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