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Neuropsychologia. 2018 Aug;117:113-122. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.05.020. Epub 2018 May 23.

Mid-frontal theta activity is diminished during cognitive control in Parkinson's disease.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States.
2
Department of Neurology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, United States.
3
Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, United States. Electronic address: jcavanagh@unm.edu.

Abstract

Mid-frontal theta activity underlies cognitive control. These 4-8 Hz rhythms are modulated by cortical dopamine and can be abnormal in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we investigated mid-frontal theta deficits in PD patients during a task explicitly involving cognitive control. We collected scalp EEG from high-performing PD patients and demographically matched controls during performance of a modified Simon reaction-time task. This task involves cognitive control to adjudicate response conflict and error-related adjustments. Task performance of PD patients was indistinguishable from controls, but PD patients had less mid-frontal theta modulations around cues and responses. Critically, PD patients had attenuated mid-frontal theta activity specifically associated with response conflict and post-error processing. These signals were unaffected by medication or motor scores. Post-error mid-frontal theta activity was correlated with disease duration. Classification of control vs. PD from these data resulted in a specificity of 69% and a sensitivity of 72%. These findings help define the scope of mid-frontal theta aberrations during cognitive control in PD, and may provide insight into the nature of PD-related cognitive dysfunction.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive control; EEG; Error; Parkinson's disease; Theta

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