[Impairment in visual cognition in patients with Parkinson disease]

Brain Nerve. 2007 Sep;59(9):923-32.
[Article in Japanese]


Neural pathway for visual information processing involves retina, lateral geniculate body, primary visual cortex, and higher visual cortical areas, all of which have been reported to be disordered either functionally or pathologically in Parkinson disease (PD). As elementary visual disorders, there have been studies that reported reduced contrast sensitivity for middle to high spatial frequencies and impaired blue color perception. Most of those studies suggested retina as the damaged cite that is responsible for the impairments, whereas some studies pointed to the possible cortical involvement. Impairments of higher visual functions also have been reported. In the dorsal stream, impairments of object localization, depth perception, and mental rotation have been reported. In the ventral stream, object perception and visual integration of objects have been found to be impaired. A meta-analysis study, however, concluded that although there may be impairments in higher order functions like attention and problem solving capacity there is no firm evidence for the impairments of higher visual functions. Neuroimaging studies have found a relationship between reduced metabolism centered in the parietal lobe and impaired performance in higher visual functions. Impaired identification of overlapping figures has been reported in dementia with Lewy bodies a disease that is akin to PD. Capacity to discriminate textured areas has been found to be damaged in PD. We conducted a FDG-PET study to explore the relationship between brain metabolism and perception of overlapping figures, perception of shapes defined by texture differences and perception of subjective contours in PD. It revealed that there is a correlation between reduced activation in lateral occipital complex and impaired performance for these tasks, suggesting some compromised ventral rout functions.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Form Perception
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*