Increased reaction time predicts visual learning deficits in Parkinson's disease

Authors

  • Lucio Marinelli MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurosciences, Ophthalmology and Genetics, University of Genova, Italy
    • Lucio Marinelli, Department of Neurosciences, Ophthalmology and Genetics, via De Toni 5, University of Genova, 16132 Genova, Italy

      Maria Felice Ghilardi, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Harris Hall 202, 138th Street and Convent Avenue, City University of New York Medical School, New York, New York 10031

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  • Bernardo Perfetti PhD,

    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, CUNY Medical School, New York, New York, USA
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  • Clara Moisello PhD,

    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, CUNY Medical School, New York, New York, USA
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  • Alessandro Di Rocco MD,

    1. Department of Neurology, NYU, New York, New York, USA
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  • David Eidelberg MD,

    1. Center for Neurosciences, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Manhasset, New York, USA
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  • Giovanni Abbruzzese MD,

    1. Department of Neurosciences, Ophthalmology and Genetics, University of Genova, Italy
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  • Maria Felice Ghilardi MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, CUNY Medical School, New York, New York, USA
    • Lucio Marinelli, Department of Neurosciences, Ophthalmology and Genetics, via De Toni 5, University of Genova, 16132 Genova, Italy

      Maria Felice Ghilardi, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Harris Hall 202, 138th Street and Convent Avenue, City University of New York Medical School, New York, New York 10031

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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

To determine whether the process involved in movement preparation of patients in the early stages of Parkinson's disease (PD) shares attentional resources with visual learning, we tested 23 patients with PD and 13 healthy controls with two different tasks. The first was a motor task where subjects were required to move as soon as possible to randomly presented targets by minimizing reaction time. The second was a visual learning task where targets were presented in a preset order and subjects were asked to learn the sequence order by attending to the display without moving. Patients with PD showed higher reaction and movement times, while visual learning was reduced compared with controls. For patients with PD, reaction times, but not movement times, displayed an inverse significant correlation with the scores of visual learning. We conclude that visual declarative learning and movement preparation might share similar attentional and working memory resources. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society

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