Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Research Article

Levodopa improves time-based prospective memory in Parkinson's disease

ALBERTO COSTAa1 c1, ANTONELLA PEPPEa1, LIVIA BRUSAa2, CARLO CALTAGIRONEa1a3, ILARIA GATTOa1 and GIOVANNI AUGUSTO CARLESIMOa1a3

a1 Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Fondazione Santa Lucia, Roma, Italy

a2 Ospedale Sant'Eugenio, Roma, Italy

a3 Clinica Neurologica, Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Roma, Italy

Abstract

The present study was aimed at investigating the effect of acute levodopa administration on the performance of a group of individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) on a time-based prospective memory task. Twenty PD patients and 15 healthy controls were administered a task that required executing three actions after 10 min had elapsed in three consecutive trials. Scores were computed for correct recall of the intention to perform the actions and for correct execution of the actions. PD participants were evaluated after a 12-hr drug wash-out in two conditions: (1) after levodopa administration (“on”); (2) without drug administration (“off”). In the “on” condition, PD patients were significantly more accurate in retrieving the intention to perform the actions than in the “off” condition and their performance was actually comparable to that of healthy controls. The increased accuracy in complying with the prospective memory task following levodopa medication supports the idea that dopamine depletion plays a role in the prospective memory deficits observed in PD patients. (JINS, 2008, 14, 601–610.)

(Received October 03 2007)

(Revised April 02 2008)

(Accepted April 02 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Alberto Costa, Fondazione IRCCS S. Lucia, Via Ardeatina 306-00179, Roma, Italy. E-mail: a.costa@hsantalucia.it