Training of executive functions in Parkinson's disease

Department of Psychology, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Germany.
Journal of the Neurological Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.26). 11/2006; 248(1-2):115-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jns.2006.05.028
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cognitive disturbances are common in Parkinson's disease (PD). Examination of cognitive function often reveals deficits in executive functions, including maintenance and inhibition of attention, flexibility in thinking, and planning. The involvement of the dopaminergic system in cognitive executive functions has been suggested by numerous studies. The aim of the present study was to analyze the effect of cognitive training on cognitive performance of PD-patients (N=26). Half of the patients participated in a cognitive training regimen, while the other patients only received standard treatment. The outcome showed improved performance of the group with cognitive treatment in two executive tasks after the training period, while no improvement was seen in the standard-treatment group. The results indicate that specific training is required for improvement of executive functions, while general rehabilitation is not sufficient. Thus, PD-patients might benefit from a short-term cognitive executive function training program that is tailored to the individual patient's needs.

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