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J Cogn Neurosci. 1998 May;10(3):316-31.

Coupled temporal memories in Parkinson's disease: a dopamine-related dysfunction.

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  • 1Columbia University Department of Psychology New York NY 10027, USA.


Dysfunction of the basal ganglia and the brain nuclei interconnected with them leads to disturbances of movement and cognition, including disordered timing of movement and perceptual timing deficits. Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) were studied in temporal reproduction tasks. We examined PD patients when brain dopamine (DA) transmission was impaired (OFF state) and when DA transmission was reestablished, at the time of maximal clinical benefit following administration of levodopa + apomorphine (ON state). Patients reproduced target times of 8 and 21 sec trained in blocked trials with the peak interval procedure, which were veridical in the ON state, comparable to normative performance by healthy young and aged controls (Experiment 1). In the OFF state, temporal reproduction was impaired in both accuracy and precision (variance). The 8-sec signal was reproduced as longer and the 21-sec signal was reproduced as shorter than they actually were (Experiment 1). This "migration" effect was dependent upon training of two different durations. When PD patients were trained on 21 sec only (Experiment 2), they showed a reproduction error in the long direction, opposite to the error produced under the dual training condition of Experiment 1. The results are discussed as a mutual attraction between temporal processing systems, in memory and clock stages, when dopaminergic regulation in the striatum is dysfunctional.

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