So, it’s not new information that you can develop some cognitive changes with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Not everyone with PD experiences some changes to memory, language, executive function, mood, personality or behaviour; however, people with PD are 6x more likely to develop one of these issues (to differing levels of severity) compared with persons of the same age without-PD.
If you’re interested, I’ve looked at cognitive changes and dementia in Parkinson’s previously HERE and HERE. These posts details what cognitive changes are common in PD and how they differ from ‘dementia’ or ‘alzheimer’s’.
Research published this fall, based in Montreal QB, described factors that increase chances of developing cognitive changes. Being older, male, suffering from REM sleep behaviour disorder, high blood pressure, or orthostatic blood pressure drop. Motor impairments (falls, freezing) can also indicate increased risk for cognitive impairment (Anang et al. Neurology, 2014).
… but what does this really mean? Just because you’re an older man who experiences freezing of gait with PD, doesn’t mean you’ll develop executive dysfunction. However, it helps Clinicians (doctors, neurologists) begin to understand who may be affected and what to look for in early screening. If we can ID cognitive changes early, we can start to implement programs and supports for people sooner.