Promise for Improving Cognition in Parkinson’s

improving parkinsons


In August this year announced that results showed atomoxetine, a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), could improve thinking and impulsiveness in Parkinson’s.

Researchers conducted a controlled study in people with Parkinson’s. Participants were given a task which involved pressing specific buttons on a keyboard. Occasionally, they would see or receive a ‘stop’ signal to stop them mid-task. These signals were carefully timed to assess if someone could respond to the new instruction and how long it took. This helped the researchers see how their brains were processing thoughts and turning them into actions.

The research also involved a new type of brain scan, allowing for detailed imaging of changes in a region of the brain linked to cognitive decline to see if there was a link between these changes and how someone responded to the drug.

The published results add further evidence that atomoxetine, which is already used in the NHS, could be quickly repurposed to become a safe and available treatment.

Dr Claire O’Callaghan, Lead Researcher from University of Cambridge, said: “There has been so much progress treating the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, but we have not seen the same gains in treating some of the hidden symptoms of Parkinson’s, like cognitive decline and impulsiveness. We know that this can be a challenging problem for people with Parkinson’s, and their families.

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