Neuroanatomical substrate of visuospatial and visuoperceptual impairment in Parkinson's disease

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To determine magnetic resonance imaging patterns of gray matter (GM) atrophy underlying visuospatial and visuoperceptual impairment in Parkinson's disease (PD), we applied voxel-based morphometry to 36 nondemented PD patients and correlated their whole brain GM density with performance on three visuospatial and visuoperceptual tests. In addition, group comparisons between patients and 20 healthy controls were also performed. Correlations between visuospatial performance and GM density were found in the superior parietal lobules and the superior occipital gyrus of PD patients. Poor performance on visuoperceptual tests was also found to be significantly associated with GM decreases in the fusiform, the parahippocampus, and the middle occipital gyrus. Finally, group comparisons between controls and patients showed widespread GM cortical reductions in PD, involving posterior temporal and parietal regions. Taken together, these findings suggest that visuospatial and visuoperceptual dysfunctions reflect structural GM changes in temporo-parietal cortical regions of PD patients. © 2009 Movement Disorder Society

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