Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2013 Mar;19(3):300-5. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

The pattern of attentional deficits in Parkinson's disease.

Author information

  • 1Laboratoire de Neurosciences Fonctionnelles et Pathologies, EA 4559, University of Lille 2, Lille, France. kathy.dujardin@univ-lille2.fr



Cognitive impairment without dementia is frequent in Parkinson's disease. It often presents as a dysexecutive syndrome with deficient attentional resource allocation. The nature of attention deficits in Parkinson's disease has rarely been investigated with robust, theory-based tasks. The main objective of the present study was to investigate attention disorders in Parkinson's disease patients by applying a paradigm based on a model of attention. We also sought to identify the main demographic and clinical characteristics associated with attention deficits in Parkinson's disease.


Eighty non-demented Parkinson's disease patients and 60 healthy controls participated in the study. Attention was assessed in a computer-controlled reaction time paradigm. The test session comprised a simple reaction time task and four choice reaction time tasks: a go/no-go task, a one-dimension, focused-attention task, a two-dimension, divided-attention task and an alternating task. Performance was assessed by composite measures: (i) cognitive reaction time, corresponding to the difference between the simple reaction time and the choice reaction time in the given condition, and (ii) reaction time variability, corresponding to the sum of the coefficients of variance of the reaction times. Accuracy was also considered.


Apart from an overall slowing and greater reaction time variability, Parkinson's disease patients were only significantly impaired in the alternating condition. This set-shifting impairment was associated with their performance in the go/no-go and divided-attention conditions.


Our systematic assessment of the different attentional subcomponents revealed that mental flexibility is particularly impaired in non-demented Parkinson's disease patients.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk