Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Struct Funct. 2013 Nov;218(6):1355-73. doi: 10.1007/s00429-013-0510-1. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

Action-verb processing in Parkinson's disease: new pathways for motor-language coupling.

Author information

Laboratory of Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience (LPEN), Institute of Cognitive Neurology (INECO), Favaloro University, Pacheco de Melo 1860, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Recent studies suggest that action-verb processing is particularly affected in early stage Parkinson's disease (PD), highlighting the potential role of subcortical areas in language processing and in the semantic integration of actions. However, this disorder-related language impairment is frequently unrecognized by clinicians and often remains untreated. Early detection of action-language processing deficits could be critical for diagnosing and developing treatment strategies for PD. In this article, we review how action-verb processing is affected in PD and propose a model in which multiple and parallel frontotemporal circuits between the cortex and the basal ganglia provide the anatomic substrate for supporting action-language processing. We hypothesize that contextual coupling of action-language networks are partially dependent on cortical-subcortical integration, and not only on somatotopic motor cortical organization or in a mirror neuron system. This hypothesis is supported by both experimental and clinical evidence. Then, we identify further research steps that would help to determine the reliability of action-language impairments as an early marker of PD. Finally, theoretical implications for clinical assessment and for models of action-language interaction (action-perception cycle theories, mirror system models of language, and embodied cognition approaches to language) are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center