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Background: Dysphagia is a common symptom and an important prognostic factor in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Although cognitive and motor dysfunctions may contribute to dysphagia in patients with PD, any specific association between such problems and swallowing functions is unclear. Here, we examined the potential relationship between cognitive/motor components and swallowing functions in PD. We evaluated the contributions of cognition and motor function to the components of swallowing via video fluoroscopic swallowing (VFS) experiments. Methods: We prospectively enrolled 56 patients without dementia having PD. Parkinson’s disease severity was assessed by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). All participants received neuropsychological tests covering general mental status, visuospatial function, attention, language, learning and memory, and frontal executive function. The well-validated “modified barium swallow impairment profile” scoring system was applied during VFS studies to quantify swallowing impairments. Finally, correlations between neuropsychological or motor functions and impairment in swallowing components were calculated. Results: The most significant correlations were found between the frontal/executive or learning/memory domains and the oral phase of swallowing, though a minor component of the pharyngeal phase correlated with frontal function as well. Bradykinesia and the UPDRS total score were associated with both the pharyngeal and oral phases. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that cognitive dysfunctions are associated with the oral phase of swallowing in patients with early stage PD while the severity of motor symptoms may be associated with overall swallowing function.
Epidemiological studies have reported that higher education (HE) is associated with a reduced risk of incident Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, after the clinical onset of AD, patients with HE levels show more rapid cognitive decline than patients with lower education (LE) levels. Although education level and cognition have been linked, there have been few longitudinal studies investigating the relationship between education level and cortical decline in patients with AD. The aim of this study was to compare the topography of cortical atrophy longitudinally between AD patients with HE (HE-AD) and AD patients with LE (LE-AD).
We prospectively recruited 36 patients with early-stage AD and 14 normal controls. The patients were classified into two groups according to educational level, 23 HE-AD (>9 years) and 13 LE-AD (≤9 years).
As AD progressed over the 5-year longitudinal follow-ups, the HE-AD showed a significant group-by-time interaction in the right dorsolateral frontal and precuneus, and the left parahippocampal regions compared to the LE-AD.
Our study reveals that the preliminary longitudinal effect of HE accelerates cortical atrophy in AD patients over time, which underlines the importance of education level for predicting prognosis.
Background: Agraphia in Korean patients may be different from agraphia in other patients who use alphabetical writing systems due to the “visuoconstructional script” characteristics of the Korean writing system, Hangul. Patients with early onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) have a severe degree of hypometabolism in the parietal area, which is known to be involved in processing visuospatial function. Thus, we explored the diverse error patterns manifested in writing single syllables in Korean patients with EOAD.
Methods: A study sample of 35 patients with EOAD and 18 healthy controls (HC) performed a Hangul writing task. We analyzed the erroneous responses of the subjects according to visuoconstructional and linguistic characteristics. In addition, we evaluated the relationship between Hangul writing and the neuropsychological variables as well as the severity of dementia.
Results: When comparing the total number of erroneous responses between EOAD and HC groups, the performances of EOAD patients were significantly worse than those of HC. EOAD patients demonstrated visuoconstructional errors even in the early stages of the disease. Severity of dementia and multiple cognitive domains such as attention, language, immediate memory, and frontal executive functions significantly correlated with the performance of Hangul writing.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that patients with EOAD exhibit not only linguistic errors but also visuoconstructional manifestations of agraphia, which are associated with cognitive impairments in the multiple domains.
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