RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Longitudinal changes in cognition in Parkinson's disease with and without dementia.

BACKGROUND: The longitudinal cognitive course in Parkinson's disease (PD) with and without dementia remains undefined. We compared cross-sectional models of cognition in PD (both with and without dementia), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and nondemented aging and followed the participants over time.

METHOD: Previously validated models of cognitive performance in AD and nondemented aging were extended to individuals with PD (with dementia, n = 71; without dementia, n = 47). Confirmatory factor analysis and piecewise regression were used to compare the longitudinal course of participants with PD with 191 cognitively healthy subjects and 115 individuals with autopsy-confirmed AD.

RESULTS: A factor analytic model with one general factor and three specific factors (verbal memory, visuospatial memory, working memory) fit demented and nondemented PD. Longitudinal change indicated that individuals with PD with dementia declined significantly more rapidly on visuospatial and verbal memory tasks than AD alone. Cognitive declines across all factors in AD and PD dementia accelerated several years prior to clinical dementia diagnosis.

CONCLUSION: Both specific and global cognitive changes are witnessed in PD and AD. Longitudinal profiles of cognitive decline in PD and AD differed. PD with or without dementia has a core feature of longitudinal decline in visuospatial abilities.

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