The Cognitive Effects of Parkinson’s Disease

Thank you to Susan Chipman, PhD, client of Farr Law Firm, P.C., who shared her research on this subject.

Patients with Parkinson’s disease exhibit difficulty moving and tremors, but one aspect of their condition that is often overlooked is cognitive impairment.  About one-third to one-half of those with Parkinson’s exhibit some signs of cognitive impairment at the time they are diagnosed, but over time nearly all patients will experience substantial cognitive decline.
Unlike with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, patients with Parkinson’s don’t lose their memory. Instead, they may develop trouble with making decisions, planning, and controlling their emotions, and often exhibit changes in personality as a result.
With Alzheimer’s disease, the patient often stops recognizing family. “With Parkinson’s, it’s like the family doesn’t recognize [the patient] anymore,” says Thomas Montine, a neuropathologist who heads the Parkinson’s disease research center at the University of Washington in Seattle.