Date of Award
Cyndy McRae, Ph.D.
Fetal cell transplant, Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease often characterized at the time of diagnosis by resting tremor, rigidity, and/or bradykinesia. Over the course of the disease, motor functioning, cognitive functioning, and quality of life typically decline as the effectiveness of drug therapies diminishes. This study utilized medical, neuropsychological and quality of life data that were collected as part of a double-blind placebo surgery trial in which 40 patients were randomly assigned to receive bilateral transplantation of embryonic mesencephalic dopamine cells into the putamen or sham surgery. Nineteen women and 21 men participated in the study. Analyses focused on relationships between neuropsychological, motor, and quality of life data at baseline, 12, and 24 months post-surgery. Other analyses investigated differences between older (61+) and younger (≤ 60) patients in regard to neuropsychological functioning, as well as neuropsychological differences between those who thought they received the transplant and those who thought they received sham surgery at 12 months.
Results of this study indicated that a measure of verbal fluency and two measures of visual memory correlated most consistently with measures of motor functioning and quality of life. Depression was related to lower scores on neuropsychological assessments at 12 months and perceived support was related to higher neuropsychological scores at 24 months. Other results indicated that younger participants obtained higher scores on measures of verbal fluency and verbal memory than older participants. Finally, there were no differences between those who thought they received the transplant and those who thought they received the sham surgery before the double-blind was lifted at 12 months in regard to neuropsychological performance. Thus, the placebo effect, which was apparent in previous medical and quality of life analyses using these data, did not extend to neuropsychological test performance.
Signoracci, Gina M., "Neuropsychological Aspects of Fetal Transplant Surgery for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease: A Longitudinal Study" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 275.
Received from ProQuest
Gina M. Signoracci
Psychology, Mental health