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NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2017 Jul 7;3:23. doi: 10.1038/s41531-017-0024-2. eCollection 2017.

Response inhibition in Parkinson's disease: a meta-analysis of dopaminergic medication and disease duration effects.

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Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11790 USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06519 USA.
Department of Neuroscience, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 USA.
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 USA.
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Beijing, China.


Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder involving the basal ganglia that results in a host of motor and cognitive deficits. Dopamine-replacement therapy ameliorates some of the hallmark motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, but whether these medications improve deficits in response inhibition, a critical executive function for behavioral control, has been questioned. Several studies of Parkinson's disease patients "on" and "off" (12-h withdrawal) dopaminergic medications suggested that dopamine-replacement therapy did not provide significant response inhibition benefits. However, these studies tended to include patients with moderate-to-advanced Parkinson's disease, when the efficacy of dopaminergic drugs is reduced compared to early-stage Parkinson's disease. In contrast, a few recent studies in early-stage Parkinson's disease report that dopaminergic drugs do improve response inhibition deficits. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that Parkinson's disease duration interacts with medication status to produce changes in cognitive function. To investigate this issue, we conducted a meta-analysis of studies comparing patients with Parkinson's disease and healthy controls on tests of response inhibition (50 comparisons from 42 studies). The findings supported the hypothesis; medication benefited response inhibition in patients with shorter disease duration, whereas "off" medication, moderate deficits were present that were relatively unaffected by disease duration. These findings support the role of dopamine in response inhibition and suggest the need to consider disease duration in research of the efficacy of dopamine-replacement therapy on cognitive function in Parkinson's disease.

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