9.458 | Summer 2006 | Undergraduate

Parkinson's Disease Workshop


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 7 hours / session


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disease of the brain that produces movement disorders and deficits in executive functions, working memory, visuospatial functions, and internal control of attention. It is named after James Parkinson (1755-1824), the English neurologist who described the first case.

While the underlying pathogenic mechanisms at play in PD remain unclear, it is recognized that people with a family history of PD, as well as those who have been exposed to certain pesticides, metals, and chemicals, carry an increased risk of developing the disease.

The development and application of positron emission tomography (PET) and structural and functional high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to the study of PD has led to a more thorough understanding of the neural abnormalities underlying the disease.  At the same time, the resolution of current neuroimaging methods has rendered them largely ineffective in the diagnosis of the disease.

This six-week summer workshop explored different aspects of PD, including clinical characteristics, structural neuroimaging, neuropathology, genetics, and cognitive function (mental status, cognitive control processes, working memory, and long-term declarative memory).  The workshop did not take up the topics of motor control, nondeclarative memory, or treatment.


1 Cognition in Parkinson’s Disease
2 Neuropathology and Structural Neuroimaging in Parkinson’s Disease
3 Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease
4 Cognitive Control Processes and Working Memory in Parkinson’s Disease
5 A Systems Neuroscience Approach to Memory
6 Long-term Declarative Memory in Parkinson Disease

Course Info

As Taught In
Summer 2006