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.

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 August 23, 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 August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. 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