Megan M. Risi



Document Type



Individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) exhibit cognitive deficits. Recent studies suggest there are distinct cognitive profiles of PD characterized by deficits in abilities that are dependent upon anterior versus posterior areas of the brain. While anterior-based deficits are more prevalent, posterior-based deficits are more predictive of the future occurrence of dementia in PD. The purpose of the current project was to examine these cognitive profiles in more detail. Performance on six tests of anterior function and six tests of posterior function was examined in 34 non-demented PD participants and 27 healthy control participants matched for age and education. Results showed that PD participants performed significantly more poorly than healthy control participants across most measures of cognition. Categorization into profiles was examined using a patient score falling 1.5 standard deviations (SDs) and 2 SDs below the control average. When a deficit was seen on at least two tests within a single domain, the PD participants were identified as having a deficit in that domain. For the 1.5 SD and 2 SD cut-off values, nine of the PD participants exhibited anterior deficits, one had posterior deficits, ten (1.5 cut-off) and five (2 cut-off) had deficits in both domains and 14 (1.5 cut-off) and 19 (2 cut-off) showed no deficits. Further development of this new classification system may allow the prediction of longer-term cognitive outcomes in PD.



Thesis Comittee

Sandra Neargarder (Thesis Director)

Melissa Singer

Ruth Hannon

Brendan Morse

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.