Evaluating a frontostriatal working-memory updating-training paradigm in Parkinson's disease: the iPARK trial, a double-blinded randomized controlled trial

Magdalena Eriksson Domellöf, Lois Walton, Carl-Johan Boraxbekk, David Bäckström, Maria Josefsson, Lars Forsgren, Anna Stigsdotter Neely


BACKGROUND: Cognitive decline and dementia are common in Parkinson's disease (PD). Cognitive deficits have been linked to the depletion of dopamine in the nigrostriatal pathway, but pharmacological treatments for PD have little evidence of improving or delaying cognitive decline. Therefore, exploring non-pharmacological treatment options is important. There have been some promising results of cognitive training interventions in PD, especially for improvements in working memory and executive functions. Yet, existing studies are often underpowered, lacking appropriate control condition, long term follow-up, a thorough description of the intervention and characteristics of the participants. Working memory updating training has previously shown to increase striatal activation in healthy young and old participants as well as dopaminergic neurotransmission in healthy young participants. In the light of dopamine dysfunction in PD, with negative effects on both motor and cognitive functions it is of interest to study if an impaired striatal system can be responsive to a non-invasive, non-pharmacological intervention.

METHODS AND DESIGN: The iPARK trial is a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial with a parallel-group design that aims to recruit 80 patients with PD (during the period 02/2017-02/2023). Included patients need to have PD, Hoehn and Yahr staging I-III, be between 45 to 75 years of age and not have a diagnosis of dementia. All patients will undergo 30 sessions (6-8 weeks) of web-based cognitive training performed from home. The target intervention is a process-based training program targeting working memory updating. The placebo program is a low dose short-term memory program. A battery of neuropsychological tests and questionnaires will be performed before training, directly after training, and 16 weeks after training.

DISCUSSION: We expect that the iPARK trial will provide novel and clinically useful information on whether updating training is an effective cognitive training paradigm in PD. Further, it will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of cognitive function in PD and provide answers regarding cognitive plasticity as well as determining critical factors for a responsive striatal system.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov registry number: NCT03680170 , registry name: "Cognitive Training in Parkinson's Disease: the iPARK study", retrospectively registered on the 21st of September 2018. The inclusion of the first participant was the 1st of February 2017.

TidsskriftBMC Neurology
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)1-14
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 7 sep. 2020


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