Parkinson's disease and impairments in executive functions Assessment and treatment from a neuropsychological perspective: assessment and treatment from a neuropsychological perspective

Hoogstins-Vlagsma, T., 2019, [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. 155 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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  • Thialda Hoogstins-Vlagsma
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterised by motor but also non-motor symptoms, such as cognitive impairments. Executive functions (EF) are frequently impaired in patients with PD. EF are essential for performing goal-directed behavior. Impairments in EF have a negative impact on independence in everyday life and contribute subsequently to a lower Quality of Life (QOL). The main objectives of this thesis were to investigate how impairments in EF could be characterised based on neuropsychological assessment and to investigate in a RCT design whether cognitive treatment (strategy versus function training) would improve these impairments in everyday life.

Patients with PD showed comparable profiles regarding impairments on neuropsychological tests of cognitive flexibility, inhibition and planning (aspects of EF) to those of patients with acquired brain injury (ABI), for whom cognitive treatment for impairments in EF is common practice. Needs and aims for cognitive treatment were also highly comparable between groups. Furthermore, both administration of neuropsychological tests and questionnaires had added value for the characterization of EF problems of patients with PD. Mental slowness had no significant impact on neuropsychological test performance, however motor slowness needs to be taken into account when interpreting results on specific tests of attention in patients with PD.

Both strategy training (ReSET) and cognitive training (Cogniplus) lead to some self-reported subjective improvement of executive functioning in everyday life, but both treatments had no effect on patients’ overall participation level and QoL. No substantial evidence was found to conclude that strategy training should be preferred over function training.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Award date25-Apr-2019
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-1495-9
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1494-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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