Cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease is associated with slowing of resting-state brain activity: a longitudinal study

Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Feb;34(2):408-18. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.02.029. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


The pathophysiological mechanisms of Parkinson's disease (PD)-related dementia (PDD) are still poorly understood. Previous studies using electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) have demonstrated widespread slowing of oscillatory brain activity as a neurophysiological characteristic of PD-related dementia. Here, we use MEG to longitudinally study early changes in oscillatory brain activity in initially nondemented PD patients that may be associated with cognitive decline. Using a longitudinal design, resting-state MEG recordings were performed twice at an approximate 4-year interval in 14 healthy controls and 49 PD patients. Changes in peak frequency and in relative spectral power for 10 brain regions were analyzed in relation to clinical measures of cognitive and motor function. In contrast to healthy controls, PD patients showed a slowing of the dominant peak frequency. Furthermore, analysis per frequency band revealed an increase in theta power over time, along with decreases in alpha1 and alpha2 power. In PD patients, decreasing cognitive performance was associated with increases in delta and theta power, as well as decreases in alpha1, alpha2, and gamma power, whereas increasing motor impairment was associated with a theta power increase only. The present longitudinal study revealed widespread progressive slowing of oscillatory brain activity in initially nondemented PD patients, independent of aging effects. The slowing of oscillatory brain activity strongly correlated with cognitive decline and therefore holds promise as an early marker for the development of dementia in PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology