About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Researchers Explain Parkinson's Patients' 'Risky Behavior'

by VR Sreeraman on June 23, 2010 at 3:11 PM
 Researchers Explain Parkinson's Patients' 'Risky Behavior'

Scientists at UCL (University College London) have explained Parkinson's patients' risky behavior, a rare side effect of standard treatments for the disease. The finding has implications for future medication of patients.

The standard treatments for Parkinson's disease, which work by increasing dopamine signaling in the brain, can trigger highly risky behaviors, known as 'impulsive-compulsive spectrum behaviors' (ICBs) in approximately 5-10% of patients.

Advertisement

New results, published today in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, uncover a possible explanation for this behavior - impaired self-control combined with surprisingly normal motivation. Researchers have shown that Parkinson's patients with ICBs are much more willing to take immediate but smaller benefits rather than waiting for larger ones in the future.

"Some patients end up gambling away their life savings while others run up huge credit card debts. This work sheds light on the reasons behind such behaviors, and may help to treat sufferers of Parkinson's disease in the future," said Charlotte Housden who carried out the work at UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and is now at the University of Cambridge.
Advertisement

Researchers studied a group of 36 Parkinson's disease patients, half of whom had ICBs, and compared them to a group of 20 elderly volunteers without Parkinson's disease. All the participants completed two tests: a computer game that measured motivation, on which the participants attempted to win cash by responding quickly and learning associations between pictures and money; and a questionnaire about financial decisions.

This questionnaire measured a form of impulsivity called "delay discounting", by asking whether someone would prefer receiving a smaller payment quickly, as opposed to waiting for a larger payment. For example, would you prefer to receive 50 today or 80 in a month's time?

The data revealed a clear pattern of results. Against the researchers' expectations, the Parkinson's patients who suffered from ICBs were not more motivated to win money on the computer game than the control volunteers. They were also no better at learning about which stimuli predicted money. On the other hand, they were considerably more likely to choose smaller immediate payments over larger but delayed ones on the questionnaire.

Dr Jonathan Roiser, from the UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, and supervisor of the study said: "The pattern of more impulsive choices together with intact motivation and learning suggests that ICBs may be mediated by impaired self-control, and not excessive motivation for rewards."

The researchers hope that this study might help in the identification and treatment of ICBs in the future.

Charlotte Housden explained: "Often, when neurologists identify these risky behaviors, their only option is to reduce the dose of drugs which treat the primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as tremor and stiffness. However, this is far from ideal, since an inevitable consequence of this strategy is that these primary symptoms get worse. Our results suggest that treating impulsivity in Parkinson's disease patients with ICBs, for example with drugs used to treat other types of impulsive behaviors, might reduce their risky behaviors without worsening their primary symptoms."

Source: Eurekalert
Font : A-A+

Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended Readings

Latest Research News

Insight into Cellular Stress: Mechanisms Behind mRNA Sequestration Revealed
The discovery deepens our understanding of m6A biology and stress granule formation, with implications for neurodegenerative diseases.
Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Elevates the Risk of Parkinson's Disease
Trouble with sleep and the body's clock may increase your risk for Parkinson's, as per a new study.
A Wake-Up Call for Women  Hot Flashes Could Point to Alzheimer's Risk
New study uncovers a link between nocturnal hot flashes and Alzheimer's risk in menopausal women, suggesting a potential biomarker.
Breakthrough Brain-Centered Approach Reduces Chronic Back Pain
Our discovery revealed that a minority of individuals attributed their chronic pain to their brain's involvement.
New Statement to Protect Athletes' Health Published
Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport syndrome is overlooked by athletes and can be worsened by 'sports culture' due to its perceived short-term performance benefits.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
MediBotMediBot
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot
×

Researchers Explain Parkinson's Patients' 'Risky Behavior' Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests