Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parkinson's patients' 'risky behavior' explained

Date:
June 28, 2010
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Scientists have explained Parkinson's patients' risky behavior, a rare side effect of standard treatments for the disease. The finding has implications for future medication of patients.

Scientists at UCL (University College London) have explained Parkinson's patients' risky behaviour, a rare side effect of standard treatments for the disease. The finding has implications for future medication of patients.

Related Articles


The standard treatments for Parkinson's disease, which work by increasing dopamine signalling in the brain, can trigger highly risky behaviours, known as 'impulsive-compulsive spectrum behaviours' (ICBs) in approximately 5-10% of patients.

New results, published June 23 in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, uncover a possible explanation for this behaviour -- impaired self-control combined with surprisingly normal motivation. Researchers have shown that Parkinson's patients with ICBs are much more willing to take immediate but smaller benefits rather than waiting for larger ones in the future.

"Some patients end up gambling away their life savings while others run up huge credit card debts. This work sheds light on the reasons behind such behaviours, and may help to treat sufferers of Parkinson's disease in the future," said Charlotte Housden who carried out the work at UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and is now at the University of Cambridge.

Researchers studied a group of 36 Parkinson's disease patients, half of whom had ICBs, and compared them to a group of 20 elderly volunteers without Parkinson's disease. All the participants completed two tests: a computer game that measured motivation, on which the participants attempted to win cash by responding quickly and learning associations between pictures and money; and a questionnaire about financial decisions.

This questionnaire measured a form of impulsivity called "delay discounting," by asking whether someone would prefer receiving a smaller payment quickly, as opposed to waiting for a larger payment. For example, would you prefer to receive £50 today or £80 in a month's time?

The data revealed a clear pattern of results. Against the researchers' expectations, the Parkinson's patients who suffered from ICBs were not more motivated to win money on the computer game than the control volunteers. They were also no better at learning about which stimuli predicted money. On the other hand, they were considerably more likely to choose smaller immediate payments over larger but delayed ones on the questionnaire.

Dr Jonathan Roiser, from the UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, and supervisor of the study said: "The pattern of more impulsive choices together with intact motivation and learning suggests that ICBs may be mediated by impaired self-control, and not excessive motivation for rewards."

The researchers hope that this study might help in the identification and treatment of ICBs in the future.

Charlotte Housden explained: "Often, when neurologists identify these risky behaviours, their only option is to reduce the dose of drugs which treat the primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as tremor and stiffness. However, this is far from ideal, since an inevitable consequence of this strategy is that these primary symptoms get worse. Our results suggest that treating impulsivity in Parkinson's disease patients with ICBs, for example with drugs used to treat other types of impulsive behaviours, might reduce their risky behaviours without worsening their primary symptoms."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Charlotte Housden et al. Intact Reward Learning but Elevated Delay Discounting in Parkinson's Disease Patients With Impulsive-Compulsive Spectrum Behaviors. Neuropsychopharmacology, (in press)

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Parkinson's patients' 'risky behavior' explained." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100623085514.htm>.
University College London. (2010, June 28). Parkinson's patients' 'risky behavior' explained. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100623085514.htm
University College London. "Parkinson's patients' 'risky behavior' explained." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100623085514.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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