Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cognitive effects of Parkinson's disease: Automated tasks easier, but task switching difficult

Date:
September 6, 2010
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Researchers have found that people with Parkinson's disease can perform automated tasks better than people without the disease, but have significant difficulty switching from easy to hard tasks.

Professor Douglas Munoz and PhD student Ian Cameron are researching the cognitive effects of Parkinson's disease.
Credit: Image courtesy of Queen's University

Queen's researchers have found that people with Parkinson's disease can perform automated tasks better than people without the disease, but have significant difficulty switching from easy to hard tasks. The findings are a step towards understanding the aspects of the illness that affect the brain's ability to function on a cognitive level.

Related Articles


"We often think of Parkinson's disease as being a disorder of motor function," says Douglas Munoz, director of the Queen's Centre for Neuroscience Studies and a Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience. "But the issue is that the same circuit can affect more cognitive functions like planning and decision-making."

The researchers conducted an experiment using a sample of Parkinson's patients and a control group. When asked to look at a light when it came on, people with Parkinson's responded with greater accuracy than people without the disease. But when asked to change that behavior -- to look away from the light, for instance -- Parkinson's patients struggled. Even when asked to simply prepare to change their behaviour, people with the disease found it incredibly difficult to adjust their plans.

PhD student Ian Cameron, lead author of the study, says the findings are significant because they highlight how biased Parkinson's patients are towards performing an automated response. It also suggests that medications currently prescribed to treat the symptoms of the disease that affect motor functioning could further upset a patient's cognitive balance.

Mr. Cameron is now conducting functional brain imaging in Parkinson's patients to determine which parts of the brain are affected by medications currently used to treat the symptoms of the disease.

The findings were recently published in Neuropsychologia, an international interdisciplinary journal of cognitive and behavioural neuroscience.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Ian G.M. Cameron, Masayuki Watanabe, Giovanna Pari, Douglas P. Munoz. Executive impairment in Parkinson's disease: Response automaticity and task switching. Neuropsychologia, 2010; 48 (7): 1948 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.03.015

Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Cognitive effects of Parkinson's disease: Automated tasks easier, but task switching difficult." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903112514.htm>.
Queen's University. (2010, September 6). Cognitive effects of Parkinson's disease: Automated tasks easier, but task switching difficult. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903112514.htm
Queen's University. "Cognitive effects of Parkinson's disease: Automated tasks easier, but task switching difficult." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903112514.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) A rehabilitation robot prototype to help restore deteriorated nerves and muscles using electromyography and computer games. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
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