Dopaminergic effects on simple and choice reaction time performance in Parkinson’s disease

Academic Article


  • The present study examined whether premovement central neural processing in Parkinson’s disease was related to functional motor disability and plasma L-dopa concentration. Reaction time (RT) performance in simple and choice RT tasks was assessed while plasma L-dopa levels were controlled by continuous IV L-dopa infusion in five parkinsonian patients. Five age-matched controls performed the same RT tasks for comparison. Simple RT for the patients was longer than the normal control RT at all infusion levels (p = 5 0.005). However, choice RT was normal when the patients were “on,” but became prolonged as plasma L-dopa levels decreased (p = 5 0.01). The results show that there are abnormalities of premovement central neural processing in Parkinson’s disease, and that simple and choice RTs are differentially affected by L-dopa replacement. This suggests that different neural mechanisms may be involved in the processing of these tasks. © 1988 American Academy of Neurology.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neurology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pullman SL; Watts RL; Juncos JL; Chase TN; Sanes JN
  • Start Page

  • 249
  • End Page

  • 254
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 2