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Mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alison Yarnall, Professor Lynn RochesterORCiD, Professor David Burn


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The concept of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the general population has received increased attention over recent years, and is associated with risk of progression to Alzheimer's disease. Within Parkinson's disease (PD), MCI (PD-MCI) is also now recognised to be relatively common, with certain subtypes predicting progression to Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD). Recently, criteria to better characterise PD-MCI and its subtypes have been produced by the Movement Disorder Society. In contrast to the population as a whole, where amnestic MCI is the most common subtype, non-amnestic PD-MCI dominates, with prominent executive and attention dysfunction. Although the pathophysiology of PD-MCI is poorly understood and encompasses both PD and non-PD pathology, it is most likely the result of a complex interaction between neurotransmitter dysfunction, synaptic pathology, protein aggregation and neuronal damage. Determining the factors that influence the progression of these pathologies in PD and the individuals at risk of ultimately developing PDD is critical for targeted intervention and drug discovery studies. Further work is required, however, to determine the significance of PD-MCI and also to validate the diagnostic criteria. This would be best delivered in the form of longitudinal studies in homogenous cohorts of PD participants, to allow prognostication and generalisation among the PD population. At the present time, no drug therapies are available for PD-MCI. Management includes screening for the disorder, excluding treatable causes of cognitive decline and cautious use of dopamine agonists and medications such as anticholinergics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Yarnall AJ, Rochester L, Burn DJ

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Age and Ageing

Year: 2013

Volume: 42

Issue: 5

Pages: 567-576

Print publication date: 17/07/2013

ISSN (print): 0002-0729

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2834



DOI: 10.1093/ageing/aft085