Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease: A Report from a Multidisciplinary Symposium on Unmet Needs and Future Directions to Maintain Cognitive Health

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People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their care partners frequently report cognitive decline as one of their greatest concerns. Mild cognitive impairment affects approximately 20–50% of people with PD, and longitudinal studies reveal dementia in up to 80% of PD. Through the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Community Choice Research Award Program, the PD community identified maintaining cognitive function as one of their major unmet needs. In response, a working group of experts across multiple disciplines was organized to evaluate the unmet needs, current challenges, and future opportunities related to cognitive impairment in PD. Specific conference goals included defining the current state in the field and gaps regarding cognitive issues in PD from patient, care partner, and healthcare professional viewpoints; discussing non-pharmacological interventions to help maintain cognitive function; forming recommendations for what people with PD can do at all disease stages to maintain cognitive health; and proposing ideas for how healthcare professionals can approach cognitive changes in PD. This paper summarizes the discussions of the conference, first by addressing what is currently known about cognitive dysfunction in PD and discussing several non-pharmacological interventions that are often suggested to people with PD. Second, based on the conference discussions, we provide considerations for people with PD for maintaining cognitive health and for healthcare professionals and care partners when working with people with PD experiencing cognitive impairment. Furthermore, we highlight key issues and knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in order to advance research in cognition in PD and improve clinical care.


Complete list of authors: Robyn Golden, Jason Karlawish, Bonnie Levin, Lisa Shulman, Glenn Smith, Christine Tangney, Cathi A. Thomas, Alexander I. Troster, Ergun Y. Uc, Noreen Coyan, Crystal Ellman, Mike Ellman, Charlie Hoffman, Susan Hoffman, Don Simmonds

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npj Parkinson's Disease, v. 4, art. 19

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