AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Impaired Decision-making Related to Memory May Contribute to Motor Symptoms in Parkinson's Disease, UCLA Study Finds

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Parkinson’s disease affects nearly one million patients in the U.S. In this study, researchers discovered that those with a Parkinson’s diagnosis have a form of impaired decision-making that may be a major contributor to the movement problems that characterize the disease. Patients with this disease have a hard time making decisions when they are receiving little or low sensory information and therefore have to recall past experiences. With strong sensory information comes the ability to make decisions as well as patients without Parkinson’s. Pradoxical movement occurs in most where patients have difficulty initiating walking. They shuffle along and have a rounded posture. With the help of some simple horizontal lines to walk over, patients can easily begin walking. “This tell us that the problem for people with Parkinson’s disease is not walking per se, but rather in generating the walking pattern without the assistance of sensory information,” said study senior author Michele Basso, a professor in UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the department of neurobiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the Fuster Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Semel Institute. “The patients with Parkinson’s disease in our study were impaired only when they had to rely on memory information to guide their actions. We believe this fundamental problem of decision-making in the absence of sufficient sensory information may be what is underlying some of the movement disorder symptoms.” To read more, click here.

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