Cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation as non-pharmacological therapeutic strategies in Parkinson’s disease: a review of research

Adrianna Senczyszyn, Renata Wallner

Affiliation and address for correspondence
Aktualn Neurol 2018, 18 (2), p. 85–93
DOI: 10.15557/AN.2018.0012

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is based on axial motor symptoms of the disease, such as stiffness, bradykinesia, postural disturbances and resting tremors. In recent years, attention has also been paid to non-motor symptoms (cognitive, neuropsychiatric and vegetative) that often precede the manifestation of movement symptoms and significantly reduce the patients’ quality of life. Patients with Parkinson’s disease often experience slowness of thought (bradyphrenia), impaired executive and visuospatial functions, and weakening of attention processes. Developing effective therapeutic strategies that will slow or stop the cognitive deterioration becomes the subject of researchers’ interest. The article below presents the results of research on the effectiveness of strictly cognitive non-pharmacological interactions, aimed at improving cognitive performance of patients with Parkinson’s disease (cognitive training, cognitive rehabilitation). These studies suggest that cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation are safe and effective methods of improving cognitive performance of patients with Parkinson’s disease. All studies report improvement of performance in at least one function under the influence of cognitive training and rehabilitation. Cognitive domains whose efficiency improved the most significantly were: attention, episodic memory and executive functions, which in Parkinson’s disease are particularly susceptible to weakening. Nevertheless, there are still few studies with more numerous intervention groups, studies comparing the effectiveness of training in people at different stages of disease and longitudinal studies, which would show if the improvement lasts over time and whether it has an influence on everyday functioning (transfer of acquired skills).

Parkinson’s disease, cognitive deficits, cognitive training, cognitive rehabilitation

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