Resting state functional connectivity is associated with cognitive dysfunction in non-demented people with Parkinson's disease

E. A. Disbrow, O. Carmichael, J. He, K. E. Lanni, E. M. Dressler, Lin Zhang, Norika O Malhado-Chang, K. A. Sigvardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD) can result in cognitive impairment. Executive dysfunction often appears early, followed by more widespread deficits later in the course of the disease. Disruption of parallel basal ganglia thalamo-cortical loops that subserve motor and cognitive function has been described in PD. However, there is emerging evidence that the default mode network, a cortical network that is active at rest with reduced activation during task performance, may also play a role in disease related cognitive decline.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the relative contribution of the executive control and default mode networks to parkinsonian executive dysfunction in medicated non-demented patients.

METHODS: We used BOLD fMRI to measure resting state functional connectivity in the executive control and default mode (DM) networks, and examined switching, processing speed, working memory/attention and motor performance in 14 medicated non-demented PD participants and 20 controls.

RESULTS: Performance on neuropsychological measures was similar across groups. Functional connectivity was not different across disease conditions in the executive control network. DMN functional connectivity was decreased in the PD group, specifically between posterior cingulate, medial prefrontal, and inferior parietal nodes. Greater DMN functional connectivity was associated with faster processing speed in the PD group.

CONCLUSIONS: The continuous relationship between DMN disconnection and executive task performance indicates a possible biological contributor to parkinsonian cognitive deficits. The dynamics of executive control network change may be different than that of the DMN, suggesting less sensitivity to early cognitive deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-465
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • default mode network
  • Executive control network
  • fMRI
  • switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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