Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 371-378

First online:

Mild Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease

  • Dag AarslandAffiliated withCentre for Age-Related Diseases, Division of Psychiatry, Stavanger University HospitalKarolinska Institutet, Department NVS, KI Alzheimer Disease Research Center Email author 
  • , Kolbjørn BrønnickAffiliated withNorwegian Centre for Movement Disorders, Stavanger University Hospital
  • , Tormod FladbyAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, Akershus University HospitalFaculty Division Akershus University Hospital, University of Oslo

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Prospective studies conducted during the last decade have shown that the majority of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) develop dementia. In addition, using a variety of definitions and methods, more recent research suggests that approximately a quarter of PD patients without dementia have mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI). Furthermore, several studies have shown that approximately 20% have MCI even at time of diagnosis of PD. The typical cognitive deficits include visuospatial, attentional, and executive deficits, but memory deficits have also been shown. The etiology of PD-MCI is not known, but it is likely that mechanisms known to contribute to dementia in PD (ie, limbic and cortical Lewy bodies, amyloid plaques, and cholinergic deficits) play a role, in addition to dysfunction of dopaminergic frontostriatal circuits. PD-MCI predicts a shorter time to dementia, and preliminary evidence suggests that this is particularly true for posterior cognitive deficits. There are currently no systematic clinical trials in PD-MCI.


Parkinson’s disease Cognitive impairment Dementia Visuospatial functions Executive functions Memory Attention Imaging Biomarker Cerebrospinal fluid Pathology Dopamine Acetylcholine Noradrenaline