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J Neurol. 2019 Oct;266(10):2505-2511. doi: 10.1007/s00415-019-09448-0. Epub 2019 Jun 29.

Prospective memory in Parkinson's disease: the role of the motor subtypes.

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Department of Psychology, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Caserta, Italy.
Department of Motor Sciences and Wellness, University "Parthenope", Naples, Italy.
Institute of Diagnosis and Health, IDC-Hermitage Capodimonte, Naples, Italy.
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.
Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, Scientific Institute of Telese, Telese Terme, Italy.
Department of Psychology, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Caserta, Italy.



Prospective memory (PM) is defined as memory for future intentions and it is typically divided into time-based and event-based PM. Deficit of PM has been reported in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) but no study has yet explored the association between motor subtypes (tremor dominant and rigidity/bradykinesia dominant) and performance on PM tasks. The aim of the study was to explore the role of motor subtypes in the defect of PM.


Consecutive outpatients with tremor dominant (TD-PD) or rigidity/bradykinesia dominant (PIGD-PD) PD and healthy subjects (HCs) were enrolled and underwent a neuropsychological battery assessing PM, verbal memory and executive functions and questionnaires assessing apathy, functional autonomy, and perceived memory disturbances.


We enrolled 28 patients with TD-PD, 28 patients with PIGD-PD and 50 HCs. The three groups did not differ on demographic and cognitive variables. Patients with TD-PD performed worse on time-based PM tasks than patients with PIGD-PD and HCs; no significant difference was found among the three groups on event-based PM tasks. Executive dysfunctions contributed to reduced time-based PM scores in TD-PD. Moreover, severe deficit of time-based and more frequency of perceived failures of PM contributed to reduced functional autonomy in TD-PD.


The finding of a poorer performance of patients with TD-PD than ones with PIGD-PD and HCs suggests a selective deficit of time-based PM abilities in TD-PD group; therefore, deficit of time-based PM might be considered as a distinctive non-motor symptom of TD-PD and it might affect the functional autonomy in this subtype of PD.


Cognitive dysfunctions; Parkinson’s disease; Postural instability/gait difficulty subtype; Prospective memory; Tremor dominant subtype


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