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Cognitive Changes

Learn about cognitive changes in Parkinson's

Many persons with PD complain of slowness in thinking, loss of memory, decreased attention span, and difficulty with word-finding. Learn more now about cognitive changes as they relate to PD.

How are Cognitive Deficits Diagnosed?

Cognitive disorders are commonly assessed and diagnosed by:

  • Interviewing the person with PD.
  • Asking family members or caregivers about their observations, particularly about the patient’s behavior and general functioning.
  • Administering cognitive screening tests such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) or Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA).The neurologist will ask questions that evaluate the person’s understanding of where and who they are, the date and year, attention, memory, language and problem solving skills.
  • The neurologist may refer the patient to a clinical neuropsychologist for a more detailed assessment.
  • A neuropsychological assessment can be an important diagnostic tool for differentiating PD from other dementing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), stroke or dementia.

Page reviewed by Dr. Joash Lazarus, NPF Movement Disorders Fellow, Department of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine.

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