The most extensively described pathological abnormality in Parkinson's disease (PD) is loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and the ventral tegmental area, with degeneration of their striatal terminals. Because of the intimate connections between the striatum and the frontal lobes, individuals with PD often demonstrate impairments on those tasks relying on the prefrontal cortex (e.g., tests of executive functioning). Source memory, or memory for context, is believed to rely on the prefrontal cortex and has been previously associated with executive functioning performance, although it has received little attention in the PD literature. Executive functioning and source memory were measured in a group of nondemented PD patients and healthy control participants. Within the PD group, an anti-Parkinson's medication withdrawal manipulation was used to examine whether source memory was affected by phasic changes in dopamine levels. Compared to healthy control participants, PD patients were impaired in source memory (both on- and off-medication) and on a composite measure of executive functioning. Within the PD group, medication administration improved motor performance but did not have a significant effect on source memory.
View details for DOI 10.1017/S1355617709090572
View details for Web of Science ID 000266066700008
View details for PubMedID 19402926