Visuoperceptual repetition priming and progression of parkinsonian signs in aging

Neurobiol Aging. 2009 Mar;30(3):441-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.07.004. Epub 2007 Aug 20.


Parkinsonian signs in older persons are associated with numerous adverse health outcomes, however there is limited information about factors which predict progression of these signs. Using generalized linear models, we examined the association between efficiency in visuoperceptual and conceptual processing, measured by repetition priming, and rate of change in parkinsonian signs in a large sample of older persons without cognitive impairment or Parkinson's disease. Subjects with better visuoperceptual priming, measured by threshold word-identification and word-stem completion, at study baseline, progressed more slowly during follow-up of up to 11 years. Conceptual priming was not associated with change in parkinsonian signs. The findings demonstrate that individual differences in visuoperceptual processing efficiency, measured by repetition priming, occur in older persons without cognitive impairment and predict important changes in motor function. Reduced visuoperceptual priming in aging may be an early signal of vulnerability in a corticostrial circuit that contributes to sensorimotor integration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*