Frontal and Posterior Subtypes of Neuropsychological Deficit in Parkinson's Disease

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Mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease (PD) is heterogeneous in regard to affected domains. Although patterns of cognitive performance that may predict later dementia are as yet undetermined, posterior- versus frontal-type assessments show promise for differential predictive value. The present study included 70 individuals: 42 with idiopathic PD without dementia and 28 age- and education-matched healthy control adults (HC). Participants completed assessments of cognition with emphasis on tests that are sensitive to frontal and posterior deficits. PD patients were classified into cognitive subgroups and the subgroups were compared on demographic and disease variables. Individual performance across neuropsychological tests was evaluated for the PD group. Patients with PD performed more poorly than HC on several measures of cognition, and they were classified into frontal (12), posterior (3), both (10) and neither subgroups (17), the latter two in reference to frontal- and posterior-type deficits. The neither subgroup was distinguished by less motor impairment than the both subgroup, but the four subgroups did not otherwise differ on demographic or disease variables. Across patients, the tests most sensitive to cognitive impairment included measures of attention and executive functioning (frontal-type tests). Examination of individual test performance for PD revealed substantial heterogeneity across tests with respect to number and severity of deficits. The current study provides insight into which commonly used neuropsychological tests are most sensitive to cognitive deficits (strictly defined) in a nondemented, well characterized PD sample, and into the relation of cognitive subgroups to demographic and disease-specific variables.

Original Citation

Miller, I. N., Neargarder, S., Risi, M. M., & Cronin–Golomb, A. (2013). Frontal and Posterior Subtypes of Neuropsychological Deficit in Parkinson's Disease. Behavioral Neuroscience, 127(2), 175-183. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031357