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Cognitive Reserve, Executive Function, and Memory in Parkinson’s Disease
Cognitive impairment is acknowledged as a feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD), and the most common cognitive declines are in executive function (EF) and memory. Cognitive reserve (CR) may offer some protection against cognitive dysfunction in PD. The present study used two proxies of CR (years of education, premorbid IQ) to examine the relationship between CR and (i) EF (ii) memory in a large PD sample (n = 334). Two aspects of EF were examined, including verbal fluency and planning skills. Two aspects of verbal memory were examined, including immediate recall and delayed recall. For EF, both CR proxies significantly predicted verbal fluency, but only years of education predicted planning skills. Years of education significantly predicted immediate recall, but premorbid IQ did not. Neither CR proxy predicted delayed recall. These findings suggest that CR, in particular years of education, may contribute to EF and memory function in those with PD. A key finding of this study is the varying contribution of CR proxies to different aspects of the same cognitive domain. The findings indicate that using only one proxy has the potential to be misleading and suggest that when testing the relationship between CR and cognition, studies should include tasks that measure different aspects of the cognitive domain(s) of interest.
Sleep Symptoms Differentially Predict Cognition in Younger and Older-Onset Parkinson's Disease.
Both disrupted sleep and cognitive impairment are frequent in Parkinson’s disease (PD), but the evidence for a relationship between self-reported sleep disturbance and cognitive symptoms has been equivocal. If sleep symptoms differentially predict cognition in different subtypes, effects may be obscured in a general PD sample. First, we determined whether the associations between participant and disease variables, sleep symptoms and cognitive performance vary by subtype (younger and older-onset). We then sought to establish whether these effects remain when the sample is reanalysed as a whole. Multi-group path analyses were used to model the relationships between participant and PD variables; factor scores derived from our bifactor analysis of the Parkinson's Disease Sleep Scale-Revised; and, measures of memory and executive function. Path analyses were replicated as single group analyses. Increased general sleep disturbance predicted better verbal recall in younger-onset PD and poorer visual episodic memory in older-onset PD. Increased insomnia scores predicted better verbal recognition memory in younger-onset PD, better verbal fluency in both groups and poorer spatial working memory (SWM) in older-onset PD. Higher OSA and RBD scores predicted poorer spatial recognition memory and spatial working memory in younger-onset PD, but did not predict cognition in older-onset PD. Many regression coefficients were weakened or reduced to non-significance in the single-sample models. The relationships between participant variables, sleep, and cognition were markedly different in younger and older-onset PD. The influence of sex and premorbid IQ as moderating variables warrant further investigation.
Cognitive training and transcranial direct current stimulation for mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s Disease.
This study examined whether standard cognitive training, tailored cognitive training, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), standard cognitive training + tDCS, or tailored cognitive training + tDCS improved cognitive function and functional outcomes in participants with PD and mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI). Forty-two participants with PD-MCI were randomized to one of six groups: (1) standard cognitive training, (2) tailored cognitive training, (3) tDCS, (4) standard cognitive training + tDCS, (5) tailored cognitive training + tDCS, or (6) a control group. Interventions lasted 4 weeks, with cognitive and functional outcomes measured at baseline, post-intervention, and follow-up. The trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry. While controlling for moderator variables, Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs) showed that when compared to the control group, the intervention groups demonstrated variable statistically significant improvements across executive function, attention/working memory, memory, language, activities of daily living (ADL), and quality of life (QOL). More outcomes improved for the groups that received standard or tailored cognitive training combined with tDCS. Participants with PD-MCI receiving cognitive training (standard or tailored) or tDCS demonstrated significant improvements on cognitive and functional outcomes, and combining these interventions provided greater therapeutic effects.
Modified Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depressive Symptoms in Parkinson's Disease: a Pilot Trial.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has evidence of efficacy in a range of populations, but few studies to date have reported on MBCT for treatment of anxious and depressive symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD). The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of modified MBCT in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression and improving quality of life in PD. Thirty-six individuals with PD were randomly assigned to either modified MBCT or a waitlist control. Changes in symptoms of anxiety, depression and quality of life were compared at group level using generalized linear mixed models and at individual level using reliable change analysis. At post-treatment, there was a significant reduction in depressive symptoms for people undertaking modified MBCT at both group and individual levels compared with controls. There was no significant effect on anxiety or quality of life at the group level, although significantly more people had reliable improvement in anxiety after modified MBCT than after waitlist. Significantly more waitlist participants had reliable deterioration in symptoms of anxiety and depression than those completing modified MBCT. Most participants stayed engaged in modified MBCT, with only three drop-outs. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates the potential efficacy of modified MBCT as a treatment for depressive symptoms in Parkinson's disease and suggests further research is warranted