Impulsivity in Parkinson's disease

October 30, 2017 by Allyson Mallya, Vanderbilt University

Dopamine medications are effective in treating the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD), but dopamine agonists can trigger impulsive-compulsive behaviors (ICBs), such as compulsive gambling, eating or shopping, in a subset of patients. ICBs are thought to be caused by overstimulation of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine network, which regulates reward learning and executive function.

In a collaborative effort with Manus Donahue Ph.D., Daniel Claassen, M.D., and colleagues explored the neural underpinnings of ICBs in PD using a noninvasive imaging technique called arterial-spin-labeling (ASL)-MRI. ASL-MRI quantitatively measures (CBF), an indirect measure of brain metabolism and activity.

Comparing PD patients with and without ICBs, the researchers found that dopamine agonists increase CBF in brain regions of the mesocorticolimbic network only in patients with ICBs. They also found a link between dopamine agonist-induced changes in the mesocorticolimbic network and the expression of ICBs as well as their severity across all PD patients.

This study, published in Movement Disorders, highlights the potential of using ASL-MRI to predict ICB susceptibility in patients and improve clinical treatment plans.

Explore further: Deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder releases dopamine in the brain

More information: Daniel O. Claassen et al. Mesocorticolimbic hemodynamic response in Parkinson's disease patients with compulsive behaviors, Movement Disorders (2017). DOI: 10.1002/mds.27047

Related Stories

Deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder releases dopamine in the brain

April 30, 2014
Some have characterized dopamine as the elixir of pleasure because so many rewarding stimuli - food, drugs, sex, exercise - trigger its release in the brain. However, more than a decade of research indicates that when drug ...

Intracellular dopamine receptor function may offer hope to schizophrenia patients

December 9, 2016
Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that plays an important role in controlling movement, emotion and cognition. Dopamine dysfunction is believed to be one of the causes of disorders like Schizophrenia, Tourette's syndrome, ...

Recommended for you

Genomic dark matter activity connects Parkinson's and psychiatric diseases

September 20, 2018
Dopamine neurons are located in the midbrain, but their tendril-like axons can branch far into the higher cortical areas, influencing how we move and how we feel. New genetic evidence has revealed that these specialized cells ...

Gene therapy shown to remove core component of Parkinson's disease

September 14, 2018
An international team led by Rush researcher Jeffrey Kordower, Ph.D., has moved a step closer to developing a treatment to clear brain cells of a protein that is an integral cause of Parkinson's disease. The team published ...

ADHD may increase risk of Parkinson's disease and similar disorders

September 12, 2018
While about 11 percent of children (4-17 years old) nationwide have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the long-term health effects of having ADHD and of common ADHD medications remains understudied. ...

New high-throughput screening study may open up for future Parkinson's disease therapy

September 11, 2018
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder in the world. PD patients suffer from shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking. It is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the loss ...

Marmosets serve as an effective model for non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease

September 5, 2018
Small, New World monkeys called marmosets can mimic the sleep disturbances, changes in circadian rhythm, and cognitive impairment people with Parkinson's disease develop, according to a new study by scientists at Texas Biomedical ...

Novel brain network linked to chronic pain in Parkinson's disease

August 28, 2018
Scientists have revealed a novel brain network that links pain in Parkinson's disease (PD) to a specific region of the brain, according to a report in the journal eLife.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.