To investigate the role of the basal ganglia in working memory and sentence comprehension, 14 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) were administered experimental measures of semantic and phonological working memory, and a measure of sentence comprehension, while receiving dopaminergic medications and after a period of withdrawal from these medications. An age- and education- matched control group (N=14) received the same measures. Comparison with control subjects revealed deficits in patients with PD in sentence processing regardless of medication status, but no deficits in working memory. In contrast to previous studies, withdrawal of dopaminergic medications had no significant impact on task- related working memory functions or on sentence comprehension. Results suggest that basal ganglia dysfunction does not solely account for sentence comprehension deficits seen in PD.
- Parkinson's disease
- Working memory