Memory deficits in advanced Parkinson's disease

  • P. Fischer
  • G. Gatterer
  • M. Simanyi
  • K. Jellinger
  • A. Marterer
  • K. Danielczyk
  • W. Danielczyk
Original Papers


Apart from global dementia various isolated cognitive deficits have been described in Parkinson's disease (PD). We investigated 31 non-demented Parkinsonian patients in their late stages of disease and 50 control subjects with regard to verbal memory. Eleven patients suffered from an isolated verbal memory deficit as defined by two list learning tasks using the Buschke selective reminding procedure. The isolated memory impairment did not depend on depression but was associated with longer duration of PD. Twelve, demented PD patients were comparable to PD patients with isolated memory impairment with regard to age at onset and duration of PD. We speculate that the isolated memory impairment in PD is associated with isolated neuronal loss in the nucleus basalis of Meynert, without cortical or limbic pathology of the Alzheimer's type.


Parkinson's disease dementia memory impairment nucleus basalis of Meynert 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Psychiatric Association (1987) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 3rd edn (revised). APA, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Arendt T, Bigl V, Arendt A, Tennstedt A (1983) Loss of neurons in the nucleus basalis of Meynert in Alzheimer's disease, paralysis agitans and Korsakoff's disease. Acta Neuropathol 61: 101–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blau E, Ober BA (1988) The effect of depression on verbal memory in older adults. Paper presented at the 16th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society. New Orleans, January 30, 1988Google Scholar
  4. Boller F, Mizutani T, Roessmann U, Gambetti P (1980) Parkinson's disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease: clinicopathological correlations. Ann Neurol 7: 329–335PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Brink TL, Yesavage JA, Lum O, Heersema PH, Adey M, Rose TL (1982) Screening tests for geriatric depression. Clinical Gerontologist 1 37–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown RG, Marsden CD (1984) How common is dementia in Parkinson's disease? Lancet i: 1261–1265Google Scholar
  7. Buschke H, Fuld PA (1974) Evaluating storage, retention, and retrieval in disordered memory and learning. Neurology 24: 1019–1025PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Candy JM, Perry RH, Perry EK, Irving D, Blessed G, Fairbairn AF, Tomlinson BE (1983) Pathological changes in the nucleus of Meynert in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. J Neurol Sci 59: 277–289PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chui HC, Mortimer JA, Slager U, Zarow C, Bondareff W, Webster DD (1986) Pathologic correlates of dementia in parkinson's disease. Arch Neurol 43: 991–995PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Danielczyk W (1983) Various mental behavioral disorders in Parkinson's disease, primary degenerative senile dementia and multiple infarction dementia. J Neural Transm 56: 161–176CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Danielczyk W, Fischer P (1989) Parkinson's disease: development of dementia in aging. In: Przuntek H, Riederer P (eds) Early diagnosis and preventive therapy in Parkinson's disease. Springer, Wien New York, pp 9–17Google Scholar
  12. ElAwar M, Becker JT, Hammond KM, Nebes RD, Boller F (1987) Learning deficit in Parkinson's disease. Arch Neurol 44: 180–184PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Fischer P-A (1986) Long-term course in Parkinson's syndrome and cerebral polypathy (Parkinson plus). In: Yahr MD, Bergmann KJ (eds) Advances in neurology 45: 235–238, Raven, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Folstein MF (1975) “Mini-Mental State”. A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res 12: 189–198CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Folstein MF (1983) The Mini-Mental State Examination. In: Crook TH, Ferris S, Bartus R (eds) Assessment in geriatric psychopharmacology. Mark Powley, Connecticut, pp 47–51Google Scholar
  16. Gaspar P, Gray F (1984) Dementia in idiopathic Parkinson's disease. A neuropathological study of 32 cases. Acta Neuropathol 64: 43–52CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gatterer G (1988) Der Alters-Konzentrations-Test (A-K-T) und Zusammenhänge mit Intelligenz, Merkfähigkeit, Orientierung und Fremdbeurteilung bei geriatrischen Patienten zwischen 60 und 85 Jahren im Pflegeheim. Z Gerontol 21: 32–37PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Gatterer G, Fischer P, Danielczyk W (1989) Alters-Konzentrations-Test: Psychometrischer Test zur Objektivierung dementer Prozesse. Gazette Medicale 17: 1623–1626Google Scholar
  19. Growdon JH, Corkin S (1986) Cognitive impairments in Parkinson's disease. In: Yahr MD, Bergmann KJ (eds) Advances in neurology 45: 383–392, Raven, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Hakim AM, Methieson G (1979) Dementia in Parkinson's disease: a neuropathologic study. Neurology 29: 1209–1214PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hassler R (1938) Zur Pathologie der Paralysis agitans und des postencephalitischen Parkinsonismus. J Psychol Neurol 48: 387–476Google Scholar
  22. Hoehn HM, Yahr MD (1967) Parkinsonism: onset, progression, and mortality. Neurology 17: 427–442PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hornykiewicz O, Kish SJ (1984) Neurochemical basis of dementia in Parkinson's disease. Can J Neurol Sci 11: 185–190PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Huber SJ, Shulman HG, Paulson GW, Shuttleworth EC (1987) Fluctuations in plasma dopamine level impair memory in Parkinson's disease. Neurology 37: 1371–1375PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Jellinger K (1987) Neuropathological substrates of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. In: Wurtman RJ, Corkin S, Growdon JH (eds) Topics in the basis and clinical science of dementia. Proceedings of the Fourth Zürich Meeting of the International Study Group on the Pharmacology of Memory Disorders Associated with Aging, January 1987 Springer, Wien New York (J Neural Transm, Suppl 24, pp 109–129)Google Scholar
  26. Jellinger K (1989) Pathology of Parkinson's syndrome. In: Calne DB (ed) Handbook of experimental pharmacology vol 88. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York Tokyo, pp 47–112Google Scholar
  27. Koller WC (1984) Disturbance of recent memory function in Parkinsonian patients on anticholinergic therapy. Cortex 20: 307–311PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kostic VS, Djuricic BM, Covickovic-Sternic N, Bumbasirevic L, Nikolic M, Mrsulja BB (1987) Depression and Parkinson's disease: possible role of serotonergic mechanisms. J Neurol 234: 94–96CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Kraemer HC, Peabody CA Tinklenberg JR, Yesavage JA (1983) Mathematical and empirical development of a test of memory for clinical and research use. Psychol Bull 84: 367–380.Google Scholar
  30. Mayeux R, Stern Y, Rosen J, Leventhal J (1981) Depression, intellectual impairment, and Parkinson's disease. Neurology 31: 645–650PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Mayeux R, Stern Y, Sano M, Cote L, Williams JBW (1987) Clinical and biochemical correlates of bradyphrenia in Parkinson's disease. Neurology 37: 1130–1134PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Mayeux R, Stern Y, Rosenstein R, Marder K, Hauser A, Cote L, Fahn St (1988) An estimate of the prevalence of dementia in idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Arch Neurol 45: 260–262PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Miller NE (1980) The measurement of mood in senile brain disease. In: Cole JO, Barrett JE (eds) Psychopathology in the aged. Raven Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. Mohr E, Fabrini G, Ruggieri S, Fedio P, Chase T (1987) Cognitive concomitants of dopamine system stimulation in Parkinsonian patients. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 50: 1192–1196PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Mortimer JA, Jun S-P, Kuskowski MA, Webster DD (1987) Subtypes of Parkinson's disease defined by intellectual impairment. In: Wurtman RJ, Corkin S, Growdon JH (eds) Topics in the basic and clinical science of dementia. Proceedings of the Fourth Zürich Meeting of the International Study Group on the Pharmacology of Memory Disorders Associated with Aging, January 1987. Springer, Wien New York (J Neural Transm, Suppl 24, pp 101–104)Google Scholar
  36. Nakano I, Hirano A (1984) Parkinson's disease: neuron loss in the nucleus basalis without concomitant Alzheimer's disease. Ann Neurol 15: 415–418CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Perry RH, Tomlinson BE, Candy JM, Blessed G, Foster JF, Bloxham CA, Perry ER (1983) Cortical cholinergic deficit in mentally impaired Parkinsonian patients. Lancet ii: 789–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Perry EK, Curtis M, Dick DJ, Candy JM, Atack JR, Bloxham CA, Blessed G, Fairbairn A, Tomlinson BE, Perry RH (1985) Cholinergic correlates of cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease comparisons with Alzheimer's disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 48: 413–421PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Pillon B, Dubois B, Cusimano G, Bonnet A, Lhermitte F, Agid Y (1989) Dose cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease result from non-dopaminegic lesions? J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 52: 201–206PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Rinne JO, Rummukainen J, Paljärvi L, Rinne UK (1989) Dementia in Parkinson's disease is related to neuronal loss in the medial substantia nigra. Ann Neurol 26: 47–50CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Rogers D, Lees AJ, Smith E, Trimble M, Stern GM (1987) Bradyphrenia in Parkinson's disease and psychometric retardation in depressive illness. Brain 110: 761–776PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Rosen TJ, Growdon JH, Corkin S (1987) Comparison of rates of progression in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. In: Wurtman RJ, Corkin S, Growdon JH (eds) Topics in the basic and clinical science of dementia. Proceeding of the Fourth Zürich Meeting of the International Study Group on the Pharmacology of Memory Disorders Associated with Aging, January 1987. Springer, Wien, New York (J Neural Transm, Suppl 24, pp 105‐107)Google Scholar
  43. Rosen WG, Mohs RC, Davis KL (1984) A new rating scale for Alzheimer's disease Am J Psychiatry 141: 1356–1364PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Sadeh M, Braham J, Modan M (1982) Effects of anticholinergic drugs on memory in Parkinson's disease. Arch Neurol 39: 666–667PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Sahakian BJ, Morris RG, Evenden JL, Heald A, Levy R, Philpot M, Robbins TW (1988) A comparative study of visuospatial memory and learning in Alzheimer type dementia and Parkinson's disease. Brain 111: 695–718PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Starkstein SE, Preziosi TJ, Berthier ML, Bolduc PL, Mayberg HS, Robinson RG (1989) Depression and cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease. Brain 112: 1141–1153PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Strömgren LS (1977) The influence of depression on memory. Acta Psychiatr Scand 56: 109–128PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Sullivan EV, Sagar HJ (1987) Nonverbal short-term memory impairment in Parkinson's disease. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 10: 34Google Scholar
  49. Sunderland T, Alterman IS, Yount D, Hill JL, Tariot PN, Newhouse PA, Mueller EA, Mellow AM, Cohen RM (1988) A new scale for the assessment of depressed mood in demented patients. Am J Psychiatry 145: 955–959PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Taylor A, Saint-Cyr JA, Lang AE (1985) Dementia prevalence in Parkinson's disease. Lancet i: 1037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Taylor AE, Saint-Cyr JA, Lang AE (1986) Frontal lobe dysfunction in Parkinson's disease. Brain 109: 845–883PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Weingartner H, Cohen RM, Murphy J, Gerdt C (1981) Cognitive processes in depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry 38: 42–47PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Weiss IK, Nagel CL, Aronson MK (1986) Applicability of depression scales to the old person. J Am Geriatr Soc 34: 215–218PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Whitehouse PJ, Hedreen JC, White CL, Price DL (1983) Basal forebrain neurons in the dementia of Parkinson's disease. Ann Neurol 13: 243–248CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Zubenko GS, Moossy J (1988) Mayor depression in primary dementia. Clinical and neuropathological correlates. Arch Neurol 45: 1182–1186PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Fischer
    • 1
  • G. Gatterer
    • 2
  • M. Simanyi
    • 3
  • K. Jellinger
    • 4
  • A. Marterer
    • 1
  • K. Danielczyk
    • 3
  • W. Danielczyk
    • 3
  1. 1.Neurological InstituteVienna School of MedicineViennaAustria
  2. 2.Geriatric Hospital LainzPsychological ServiceViennaAustria
  3. 3.Ludwig-Boltzmann Institute for Aging Research: Alzheimer-Dementia-ResearchViennaAustria
  4. 4.Ludwig-Boltzmann Institute for Clinical NeurobiologyViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations