Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal
Comparing the nature and evolution of Mild Cognitive Impairment in individuals with and without Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is primarily recognized for its motor symptoms. However, deficits in cognition such as learning, memory and problem solving are noted at the early stages of PD. In some patients, these can evolve rapidly, strongly affecting daily life, eventually resulting in dementia. Indeed the rate of dementia in PD is six-fold that of the general population. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) refers to a syndrome where significant cognitive deficits are present, but that minimally affects daily life. It is used in general aging to predict various forms of dementia, especially in Alzheimer’s disease. The concept of MCI, may also useful in PD for the early prediction of dementia. Finally, the variety of cognitive deficits found in PD suggests that they might not all be specific to the disease, but also might share some common origins with the cognitive impairments found in elderly individuals without PD. The aim this research is to compare the nature and evolution of MCI in both PD and non-PD individuals. We will follow large groups of PD and non-PD individuals longitudinally, using neuropsychological measures of their cognitive functions as well as imaging of brain anatomy and function, to find out which cognitive deficits and associated brain changes are specific to PD. Furthermore, it will allow us to predict the speed of cognitive decline in PD in function of the nature and early presence of MCI. Finally, it will permit for the detection of anatomical and functional brain patterns that can determine the occurrence of dementia in both PD and non-PD individuals. This project promises to enhance our understanding of the nature and evolution of cognitive dysfunction in PD and in the aging population in general. The intent is to identify those measures that best predict early and later cognitive dysfunction in PD with the hope that prompt recognition will allow early intervention, leading to more favorable long-term cognitive outcomes.