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Trends and Issues in Characterizing Early Cognitive Changes in Parkinson’s Disease

Clinical Trials of Dementia With Lewy Bodies and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports

December 2012
Claassen DO, Wylie SA

In this review, we first discuss trends and issues in measuring cognitive changes in PD, including recent efforts to define the diagnostic classification of “PD Mild Cognitive Impairment” (PD-MCI). After reviewing some limitations associated with this diagnosis, we discuss how measures derived from the neurocognitive sciences offer better precision in detecting early cognitive changes in PD.

To support this idea, we highlight 2 influential lines of current investigation that are unveiling novel insights about specific cognitive processes that are vulnerable early in PD and of critical importance to clinicians involved in treating PD: action control and reward learning and decision making. We conclude by highlighting some extant issues and unresolved questions for future investigations.