Mental object rotation in Parkinson's disease

Academic Article


  • Deficits in visual-spatial ability can be associated with Parkinson's disease (PD), and there are several possible reasons for these deficits. Dysfunction in frontal-striatal and/or frontal-parietal systems, associated with dopamine deficiency, might disrupt cognitive processes either supporting (e.g., working memory) or subserving visual-spatial computations. The goal of this study was to assess visual-spatial orientation ability in individuals with PD using the Mental Rotations Test (MRT), along with other measures of cognitive function. Non-demented men with PD were significantly less accurate on this test than matched control men. In contrast, women with PD performed similarly to matched control women, but both groups of women did not perform much better than chance. Further, mental rotation accuracy in men correlated with their executive skills involving mental processing and psychomotor speed. In women with PD, however, mental rotation accuracy correlated negatively with verbal memory, indicating that higher mental rotation performance was associated with lower ability in verbal memory. These results indicate that PD is associated with visual-spatial orientation deficits in men. Women with PD and control women both performed poorly on the MRT, possibly reflecting a floor effect. Although men and women with PD appear to engage different cognitive processes in this task, the reason for the sex difference remains to be elucidated.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Crucian GP; Barrett AM; Burks DW; Riestra AR; Roth HL; Schwartz RL; Triggs WJ; Bowers D; Friedman W; Greer M
  • Start Page

  • 1078
  • End Page

  • 1087
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 7