Parkinson’s Disease is most known for the effects it has upon movement. However, this and other movement disorders that are associated with the basal ganglia also place the patient at risk for cognitive difficulties, which becomes greater with time.
For example, several studies suggest that 12% of PD patients under the age of 60 meet the criteria for dementia, whereas 70% of those with PD over the age of 80 are likely to have dementia.
Typically, the initial cognitive symptoms are rather subtle and include reduced facial expression, problems initiating activities, and difficulty dealing with change. These problems are often attributed to depression early during the disease.
A neuropsychological evaluation is particularly useful at identifying the extent to which these difficulties may be neurological versus psychological in origin. Such an evaluation can be useful at helping patients maintain their independence by adjusting their lifestyle to compensate for their difficulties. The results can also be used to help family members understand the changes that are occurring in the patient.
Please do not hesitate to call me with further questions at (860) 661-2089 or you may fax your referral to (860) 751-6232.