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      Dimensions of Executive Function in Parkinson’s Disease

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          Background: Executive impairment is common in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, it is unknown which dimensions of executive function are assessed by commonly used neuropsychological instruments and if clinical correlates of specific dimensions exist. Method: A convenience sample of 46 PD patients was evaluated with three executive function tests: the Tower of London-Drexel, the Trail-Making Test and the Stroop Color-Word Test. Factor analysis was used to probe for dimensions of executive control, and linear regression models were used to explore the association between the generated factors and other clinical features. Results: Factor analysis revealed two executive factors, one related to planning (eigenvalue = 4.2) and the other to inhibitory control (eigenvalue = 1.8), together accounting for 75% of the variance in scores. In linear regression models, poorer planning was associated with increasing severity of apathy (t = 2.11, p = 0.041), and diminished inhibitory control was associated with increasing severity of parkinsonism (t = 2.78, p = 0.008) and lower educational level (t = –2.23, p = 0.032). Conclusions: Planning deficits and diminished inhibitory control are two dimensions of executive impairment in PD, the former associated with decreased motivation and the latter with increased motor slowing. Similar performance on both executive and non-executive components of these instruments suggests that results of executive testing in PD may be confounded by non-executive deficits.

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          Most cited references 15

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            Population-based norms for the Mini-Mental State Examination by age and educational level.

            To report the distribution of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores by age and educational level. National Institute of Mental Health Epidemiologic Catchment Area Program surveys conducted between 1980 and 1984. Community populations in New Haven, Conn; Baltimore, Md; St Louis, Mo; Durham, NC; and Los Angeles, Calif. A total of 18,056 adult participants selected by probability sampling within census tracts and households. Summary scores for the MMSE are given in the form of mean, median, and percentile distributions specific for age and educational level. The MMSE scores were related to both age and educational level. There was an inverse relationship between MMSE scores and age, ranging from a median of 29 for those 18 to 24 years of age, to 25 for individuals 80 years of age and older. The median MMSE score was 29 for individuals with at least 9 years of schooling, 26 for those with 5 to 8 years of schooling, and 22 for those with 0 to 4 years of schooling. Cognitive performance as measured by the MMSE varies within the population by age and education. The cause of this variation has yet to be determined. Mini-Mental State Examination scores should be used to identify current cognitive difficulties and not to make formal diagnoses. The results presented should prove to be useful to clinicians who wish to compare an individual patient's MMSE scores with a population reference group and to researchers making plans for new studies in which cognitive status is a variable of interest.
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              Dissociating the Role of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal and Anterior Cingulate Cortex in Cognitive Control

               I. MacDonald (2000)

                Author and article information

                Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord
                Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
                S. Karger AG
                August 2005
                19 August 2005
                : 20
                : 2-3
                : 140-144
                aParkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Departments of bPsychiatry and cNeurology, University of Pennsylvania, dDepartment of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa., USA
                87043 Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2005;20:140–144
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 2, References: 36, Pages: 5
                Original Research Article


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