The purpose of this study was to determine if focal cortical abnormalities may occur in early Parkinson's disease (PD). We studied 26 untreated patients with early PD and 14 healthy control subjects, with cognitive screening and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess for the presence of localized cortical grey matter (GM) and/or subcortical white matter (WM) changes. Patient and control groups showed no differences in age or gender distribution. Females had a greater GM% than males (P = 0.001). Comparison of patients and controls revealed no difference in local GM volumes. In PD, however, there was decreased WM volume in the anterior right fusiform gyrus and superior temporal gyrus. There were no correlations between the California Verbal Learning Test long delay free recall, Judgment of Line Orientation, Trail Making A or B and either the GM or WM localized volumes. These results suggest that right anterior temporal lobe changes occur in untreated patients with PD. The earliest changes may occur in subcortical white matter rather than temporal cortex.