Cognitive function and regional cerebral blood flow in Parkinson's disease

William J. Jagust, Bruce R Reed, Eileen M. Martin, Jamie L. Eberling, Ruth A. Nelson-Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


In order to investigate relationships between cognition and regional brain function, we studied 20 non-demented patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD), 21 mildly demented patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 24 control subjects using cognitive testing and single photon emission computerized tomographic (SPECT) measurements of relative regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF). Neuropsychological tests were grouped into clusters reflecting frontal lobe executive abilities, perseveration, memory and visuospatial ability, with a summary score summarizing performance in all four of these spheres. SPECT imaging utilized the tracer [123I]N-isopropyl-p-iodoamphetamine with a relative measure of regional tracer uptake normalized to occipital radiotracer uptake (rCBF ratios). Patients with PD performed more poorly than controls in all cognitive domains, and were intermediate to AD patients and controls in tests of memory and overall cognitive functioning. Those PD patients who performed most poorly on neuropsychological testing showed lowest rCBF ratios in left and right temporal lobes. Using a stepwise multiple regression procedure, we examined patterns of correlations between cognitive clusters and predictor variables, including rCBF ratios, in the PD patients. We found that while patient age was a strong determinant of performance on the memory cluster and the summary score, dorsolateral frontal lobe perfusion and scores on a depression inventory accounted for a greater proportion of the variance of the frontal lobe and perseveration clusters than did age. These results imply that different neural mechanisms are responsible for the different aspects of cognitive decline seen in PD patients, with overall cognitive function closely related to age and temporal perfusion, while frontal lobe abilities are more linked to frontal perfusion and the presence of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-537
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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