Memory Impairment in Parkinson's Disease

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A total of 52 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), 11 with presumptive Alzheimer's disease (AD), and 20 healthy subjects were studied; subjects were aged 55–74 years. Neurological symptoms were assessed quantitatively, and the state of higher mental processes were evaluated using the Luriya method. A number of memory tests were also used. These studies showed that PD was almost always accompanied by memory impairment exceeding the age norm. The major mechanism for memory impairment in PD without dementia was inadequate independent organization of memory-related activity at the memorizing and retrieval stages. In PD with dementia, there was also a primary impairment. Differences in memory impairments were found in PD with dementia (deeper derangements of involuntary memory and of information processing during memorizing). Impairments of consolidation of traces were more dependent on the age at onset of PD, while inadequacy of independent organization of memory-related activity was more dependent on disease duration. Most memory parameters in PD correlated with the severity of disturbances in gait and postural reflexes. It is suggested that memory impairment in PD is a manifestation of the major pathological process, which shows a number of differences from other neurogeriatric diseases.

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