APDA American Parkinson Disease Association
Information & Referral Center

Cognition and PD

Relevant Publications - Downloadable

“Cognition: A Mind Guide to Parkinson’s Disease”
Published by the National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson’s Foundation), 2017
48-page booklet offers coping strategies for people with cognitive changes due to Parkinson’s disease, and their caregivers.  The information, tips, and stories are intended to help organize thoughts and questions for your medical team.
Click here to order a free paper copy.


"Cognitive Impairment," by Alexander Tröster, Ph.D.
Published by Parkinson's Disease Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation), 2011
This 8-page summary of an Expert Briefing presentaiton on cognitive impairment reviews the causes and effects of cognitive issues in PD. There is a short list of tips for care partners.


“Cognitive Impairment and Behavioral Problems in Parkinson’s Disease: Essential Facts for Patients”
Published by the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), 2016
This 1-page fact sheet outlines the types of cognitive problems that can happen in Parkinson’s disease, including hallucinations and delusions.  It briefly addresses why they occur, what you can do to delay cognitive symptoms and medications that may help.  Everyone with Parkinson’s should have their estate documents (will, trust and powers of attorney).


"Mind, Mood & Memory," edited by Rebecca Martine, APRN, and John Duda, MD
Published by National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation)
This 94-page booklet provides an overview of the mental health aspects of PD, including depression, anxiety, loss of emotional control, and loss of impulse control, and how they can be effectively manage. Changes in memory, confusional states, daytime sleepiness, sleep problems, and generalized fatigue are addressed. There's a full chapter on Dementia with Lewy Bodies.
En Espanol: La Enfermedad de Parkinson: Mente, Estado de Animo y Memoria 


Relevant Online Information

"Cognitive Changes in PD"
Published by Parkinson's Foundation
In general, mental and motor decline tend to occur together as Parkinson's (PD) progresses. Cognitive impairment is different from dementia but can still have a negative impact on caregiver stress and quality of life. The causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and co-existing conditions that affect thinking and memory, as well as treatment and tips for caregivers are summarized.


"Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease"
Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation
This webpage defines mild cognitive impairment and the dementia associated with Parkinson's disease, causes and treatments, evaluating cognitive problems with your doctor, maintaining brain health, and ongoing research.


"Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's Disease," by Jennifer G. Goldman, MD, MS
Published by APDA National Young Onset Center, August 2011 
The author, a neurologist, defines “cognition," describes cognitive changes in PD, and offers other reasons for cognitive symptoms.
En Espanol: “Cambios Cognitivos en la enfermedad de Parkinson"




Relevant Online Lectures and Webinars

“Ask the MD: Cognitive Impairment and Parkinson’s Disease”
By The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Foxfeed Blog, September 14, 2016
This 4:27-minute video is an explanation of cognitive changes that can happen in Parkinson’s disease.  Dr. Rachel Dolhun explains how doctors evaluate cognitive changes to exclude other conditions that may be correctable.  She distinguishes between mild cognitive impairment and dementia, with some treatments for each.


"Cognition and PD: What You’ve Always Wanted to Know But Were Too Afraid to Ask," by Alexander Tröster, Ph.D
By the Parkinson's Foundation, March 22, 2011
Recording of audio and slides (Requires registration)
The presenter in this Expert Briefing, neuropsychologist Dr. Alexander Tröster, reviews how cognitive issues in PD can be assessed and discusses proposed diagnostic criteria for "mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson's Disease."


"Not Just a Movement Disorder: Cognitive Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease," by Laura Marsh, MD
Presentation at APDA/NPF Young Onset PD Conference, October 24, 2009
Streaming video/audio (Requires Windows Media Player)
Presentation (PDF of slides)
The presenter, a geriatric psychiatrist, reviews the prevalence, pathophysiology, clinical characteristics, and treatment of cognitive dysfunction in PD. She also describes much of the research into cognitive issues and PD. (Dr. Marsh is the author of much of the research!)


“Strategies for Combating Cognitive Decline in PD”
Presented at the 8th Annual Conference on Parkinson’s Disease for Patients and Caregivers, October 24, 2015
This half hour lecture by Dr. Kate Possin focuses on strategies to maximize cognitive function and quality of life in Parkinson’s disease by sharing memory strategies, and explaining the effect on the brain of neurotransmitter changes, medications, physical and mental exercise, heart health, and stress reduction.


"Thinking and Memory Problems with Parkinson's Disease" 
By the Veteran's Administration
This 8-minute video alternates between an interview with a man sharing his memory problems due to Parkinson's disease, with doctors explaining how cognitive changes and memory problems manifest in PD and how they test to determine if those changes are significant enough to be treated as dementia.


Expert-Level Resources

"Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease," by Susan Spear Bassett, PhD
Continuing Medical Education, published by Primary Psychiatry, July 2005
This article for psychiatrists reviews cognitive impairments in PD plus dementia, changes in cognition in response to PD treatment, and assessment and management of cognitive impairments.


"Cognitive Impairment and Dementia"
Published by Medscape News. (Must sign up for a free Medscape account to view.)
This section from an article on psychiatric aspects of PD focuses on cognitive impairment and dementia. There is also a short discussion of the subtle differences between Parkinson's Disease Dementia and Dementia with Lewy Bodies.


Last updated by Steven Russell and Robin Riddle, January 2017. This list created by Robin Riddle with Stanford's Parkinson's Community Outreach Program, April 2012.

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