Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel computational model: How Parkinson's medications affect learning and attention

Date:
January 26, 2010
Source:
Rutgers University
Summary:
A new brain-based computational model is helping to understand how Parkinson's disease and dopamine medications -- used to treat motor symptoms caused by the disease -- can affect learning and attention.

A new brain-based computational model is helping to understand how Parkinson's disease and dopamine medications—used to treat motor symptoms caused by the disease— can affect learning and attention.

As reported in a forthcoming article in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, a new computational model, developed by Drs. Ahmed Moustafa and Mark Gluck, at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University, Newark, has shownhow Parkinson’s disease affects attentional performance during learning.

The same model also shows that dopamine medications enhance attentional performance in Parkinson’s patients in agreement withpast observations. Future lab experiments with Parkinson’s patients will be conducted by Moustafa and Mark Gluck to test further model predictions.

Parkinson's is a disease that mainly affects dopamine levels in a brain area known as the basal ganglia, which is important for motor control. Hence, damage to this area leads to movement disorders, including shaking and difficulty moving--key symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Over the past two decades, it became known to neurologists and experimental neuroscientists that Parkinson’s disease also affects non-motor functions, including memory, learning, and attention. Impairment in these processes affect the quality of life of the patients, thus, understanding the neural basis of motor and non-motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease is equally important.

Dopamine is also projected to other parts of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, an area important for higher-level thinking, decision making, and attention. Dopamine projected to the prefrontal cortex is also reduced in Parkinson’s disease, as reported in many experimental studies with humans and animal models of Parkinson’s disease.

According to Moustafa and Gluck, until recently, existing computational models of Parkinson’s disease ignored any role played by dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. Moustafa and Gluck have designed a new computational model that shows how dopamine in the prefrontal cortex is important for attentional performance, and how dysfunction of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex can explain many of the non-motor deficits seen in Parkinson’s patients.

“Computational models are increasingly being used in the neurosciences and neurology to understand how neurological disorders affect brain and behavior,” said Moustafa. “This relatively new field—known as computational neuroscience— is promising to aid in designing new pharmacological and surgical intervention tools to treat neurological and psychiatric diseases.”

This research was funded by the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and by a grant from the Bachman-Strauss Foundation's Dekker Foundation Fund.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ahmed A. Moustafa, Mark A. Gluck. A Neurocomputational Model of Dopamine and Prefrontal–Striatal Interactions during Multicue Category Learning by Parkinson's Patients. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2010; (early access): 100104044127045 DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2010.21420

Cite This Page:

Rutgers University. "Novel computational model: How Parkinson's medications affect learning and attention." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120211027.htm>.
Rutgers University. (2010, January 26). Novel computational model: How Parkinson's medications affect learning and attention. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120211027.htm
Rutgers University. "Novel computational model: How Parkinson's medications affect learning and attention." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120211027.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stroke in Young Adults

Stroke in Young Adults

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A stroke can happen at any time and affect anyone regardless of age. This mother chose to give her son independence and continue to live a normal life after he had a stroke at 18 years old. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Most people don’t realize that ADHD isn’t just for kids. It can affect the work as well as personal lives of many adults, and often times they don’t even know they have it. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Sight and Sounds of Autism

The Sight and Sounds of Autism

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new study is explaining why for some people with autism what they see and what they hear is out of sync. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins