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Cognitive–Motor Learning in Parkinson's Disease


Procedural learning deficits are common in Parkinson's disease (PD), but contradictory results have been reported in rotary pursuit learning. This article compared rotary pursuit learning in 2 nondemented PD groups and 2 normal control (NC) groups, using a between-subjects group design in which 3 rotation speeds were presented either randomly or in blocks. The pattern of learning differed between the randomized and the blocked conditions in the NC, but not in the PD groups. Learning was impaired in the PD group in the random condition only. Memory, visuospatial, or executive skills were not associated with the PD group's poorer learning in the randomized context. Results show that procedural learning deficits are not universal with basal ganglia abnormalities but rather depend on the specific cognitive requirements of the learning context.

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