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Simple dot test may help gauge the progression of dopamine loss in Parkinson’s disease

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Posted November 11, 2013
Simple dot test may help gauge the progression of dopamine loss in Parkinson's disease
The Triplet-Learning Task tests implicit learning, a type of learning that occurs without awareness or intent. Implicit learning relies on the caudate nucleus, an area of the brain affected by loss of dopamine. Credit: Katherine R. Gamble, Georgetown University
A pilot study by a multi-disciplinary team of investigators at Georgetown University suggests that a simple dot test could help doctors gauge the extent of dopamine loss in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Their study is being presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

 

“It is very difficult now to assess the extent of dopamine loss—a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease—in people with the disease,” says lead author Katherine R. Gamble, a psychology PhD student working with two Georgetown psychologists, a psychiatrist and a neurologist. “Use of this test, called the Triplets Learning Task (TLT), may provide some help for physicians who treat people with Parkinson’s disease, but we still have much work to do to better understand its utility,” she adds.

Gamble works in the Cognitive Aging Laboratory, led by the study’s senior investigator, Darlene Howard, PhD, Davis Family Distinguished Professor in the department of psychology and member of the Georgetown Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery.

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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