Impaired awareness of movement disorders in Parkinson's disease

Department of Psychology, University of Torino, Via Verdi 10, 10123 Torino, Italy
Brain and Cognition (Impact Factor: 2.68). 11/2009; 72(3):337-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2009.10.011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study analyzed the presence of awareness of movement disorders (dyskinesias and hypokinesias) in 25 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and motor fluctuations (dyskinesias, wearing off, on-off fluctuations). Of the few studies that have dealt with this topic, none have analyzed the differences in the awareness of motor deficits by comparing the on and off states using motor scales and an extensive battery of tests to assess cognitive and behavioral functioning.
PD patients were compared on three different scales that we have devised to measure awareness of movement disorders: Global Awareness of Movement (GAM) Disorders, dyskinesia/hypo-bradykinesia rating scales.
Data showed that PD patients had greater awareness and psychological suffering in the off state than in the on state. In particular, they were troubled by motor disabilities related to hypokinesias and had mood-related symptoms and a perception of disability in activities of daily living. Interestingly, patients only showed a selective reduction of awareness of movement disorders associated with executive functions and related to dyskinesias in the on state, compared to a preserved awareness of hypokinesias in the off state. On the contrary, no association with executive functions was found in the off state.
Our findings suggest that the dopaminergic overstimulation of mesocorticolimbic pathways may cause a dysfunction of prefrontal-subcortical connections related to the impaired insight.

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