Front. Integr. Neurosci., 31 October 2013 |

Executive dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease and timing deficits

  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA, USA
  • 2Center for Mathematics, Computation and Cognition, Universidade Federal do ABC, Santo André, Brazil
  • 3Aging Mind and Brain Initiative, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA, USA

Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have deficits in perceptual timing, or the perception and estimation of time. PD patients can also have cognitive symptoms, including deficits in executive functions such as working memory, planning, and visuospatial attention. Here, we discuss how PD-related cognitive symptoms contribute to timing deficits. Timing is influenced by signaling of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the striatum. Timing also involves the frontal cortex, which is dysfunctional in PD. Frontal cortex impairments in PD may influence memory subsystems as well as decision processes during timing tasks. These data suggest that timing may be a type of executive function. As such, timing can be used to study the neural circuitry of cognitive symptoms of PD as they can be studied in animal models. Performance of timing tasks also maybe a useful clinical biomarker of frontal as well as striatal dysfunction in PD.

Keywords: temporal processing, executive function, cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease, interval timing

Citation: Parker KL, Lamichhane D, Caetano MS and Narayanan NS (2013) Executive dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease and timing deficits. Front. Integr. Neurosci. 7:75. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2013.00075

Received: 30 July 2013; Accepted: 14 October 2013;
Published online: 31 October 2013.

Edited by:

Warren H. Meck, Duke University, USA

Reviewed by:

Vinay V. Parikh, Temple University, USA
Daniel Claassen, Vanderbilt University, USA

Copyright © 2013 Parker, Lamichhane, Caetano and Narayanan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Nandakumar S. Narayanan, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52243, USA e-mail: