Early Parkinson’s disease may not cause cognitive dysfunction

Credit: Pexels

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that can cause individuals to lose control of their movements and experience difficulties performing everyday tasks.

It can also cause memory loss, confusion, and dementia.

Researchers are still working to understand the cause and cure of PD, but they have found ways to help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with the disease.

A recent study led by neuropsychologist Travis Turner at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has shed new light on the cognitive impact of early-stage PD.

Turner and his team analyzed cognitive test results from the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) on nearly 400 individuals, including 253 newly diagnosed PD patients and 134 healthy controls.

Contrary to their expectations, Turner’s team found that PD generally does not reduce cognitive function during the first five years of the disease, at least not as measured by standardized tests on patients.

Even those who were already experiencing mild cognitive impairment did not suffer further cognitive decline during the first five years after diagnosis.

The study also found that people with PD experienced a mild dip in memory test results, but it was generally not noticeable to anyone except the individual themselves.

The study’s findings challenge previous assumptions about cognitive deficits in individuals with PD and will help researchers evaluate whether clinical trials are producing valuable outcomes in reducing PD symptoms.

Turner hopes that his team’s work will be used in future PD research to develop disease-modifying or neuroprotective interventions for the disease.

Turner has dedicated his career to studying PD and is optimistic about the future of PD research.

He foresees the development of symptomatic therapies in the next 5-10 years that can improve the quality of life for individuals with PD and cause fewer side effects.

Researchers are also moving closer to a cure for PD, which will be the next step in combating this complex disease.

How to prevent Parkinson’s disease

Currently, there is no known way to completely prevent Parkinson’s disease, but there are some lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Exercise regularly: Studies have shown that regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Get enough sleep: Chronic sleep deprivation may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, so it’s important to aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Avoid exposure to toxins: Exposure to certain environmental toxins, such as pesticides and herbicides, may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Limiting exposure to these toxins may help reduce the risk.

Protect your head: Head injuries, particularly repeated concussions, may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Taking steps to protect your head, such as wearing a helmet when biking or skiing, may help reduce the risk.

It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and manage stress levels, as these factors may also increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

However, it’s important to note that Parkinson’s disease can still affect individuals who lead healthy lifestyles, and more research is needed to fully understand the causes and risk factors of the disease.

If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about Vitamin E that may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with Parkinson’s.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about new way to treat Parkinson’s disease, and results showing higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.

The study was conducted by Travis H. Turner et al and published in Psychopharmacology Bulletin.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.