[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate whether cognitive slowing in Parkinson disease (PD) reflects disruption of the basal ganglia or dysfunction of the frontal lobe by excluding an influence of abnormal brain activity due to motor deficits.
We measured neuronal activity during a verbal mental-operation task with H(2)(15)O PET. This task enabled us to evaluate brain activity change associated with an increase in the cognitive speed without an influence on motor deficits.
As the speed of the verbal mental-operation task increased, healthy controls exhibited proportional increase in activities in the anterior striatum and medial premotor cortex, suggesting the involvement of the corticobasal ganglia circuit in normal performance of the task. By contrast, patients with PD lacked an increase in the striatal activity, whereas the medial premotor cortex showed a proportional increase.
Although the present study chose a liberal threshold and needs subsequent confirmation, the findings suggest that striatal disruption resulting in abnormal processing in the corticobasal ganglia circuit may contribute to cognitive slowing in Parkinson disease, as is the case in motor slowing.