Study Reveals Brain Atrophy In Patients With Parkinson’s Disease

Recommend to others!

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease that involves the central nervous system. Many people affected by this suffer from various motor and neuropsychiatric symptoms. In a study by researchers in the University of Pennsylvania- Perelman School of Medicine, it is revealed that atrophy in the hippocampus (brain’s region responsible for memory formation and storage) is observed in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). This study can be found in the Archives of Neurology December issue.

The research team discovered that had been more atrophy in the hippocampus, basal ganglia, amygdale and insula in Parkinson’s patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), in comparison with those Parkinson’s patients having normal cognition. Furthermore, the latter did not show any notable brain volume loss with healthy controls. Moreover, atrophy was evident in the hippocampus and surrounding medial temporal lobe (important to memory and cognition) in the Parkinson’s patients with full-blown dementia.

What’s more, investigators gave rise to the first structural pattern of classifying brain atrophy related with dementia in PD through analysis of the PD scans with either dementia or normal cognitive abilities. According to Dr. Daniel Weintraub, the study’s primary author (also an associate professor of Geriatric Psychiatry in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center), a pattern of diffuse gray matter and white matter atrophy can be observed in the brains of Parkinson’s patients with cognitive decline. He added that the complex brain imaging data analysis connotes implies that there is a possibility to detect a broad range of brain atrophy during the initial stages of cognitive decline in patients with PD.

The study related to Parkinson’s-related mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), as an essential clinical syndrome and possible precursor of Parkinson’s dementia, can contribute in categorizing levels of cognitive impairments, prediction of future cognitive decline and making sound decisions regarding treatment. Moreover, the study team believed that brain degeneration leading to cognitive decline in Parkinson’s is caused by complex interplay of various disease processes. It was noted that 80% of PD patients may suffer also from dementia.

Importantly, according to the researchers, remarkable brain atrophy in areas responsible for cognition does not happen in Parkinson’s in the absence of comorbid cognitive deterioration. Brain MRI was done to 84 Parkinson’s patients (from the Penn Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center) and 23 healthy controls. Sixty-one of the 84 patients were cognitively normal, 12 had MCI, while 11 had dementia.





  1. [...] In a largely global team with researchers hailing from New York, Tokyo, London, and Istanbul, this discovery is regarded important as it can not only help figure out the causes for PKD/IC but also other movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. [...]

Speak Your Mind


Current day month ye@r *