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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 27 (2013), Issue 4, Pages 495-500
Research Report

Attentional Networks in Parkinson’s Disease

Chiara Cristinzio,1 Monica Bononi,1 Sylvie Piacentini,2 Alberto Albanese,2,3 and Paolo Bartolomeo1,4,5

1Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
2Carlo Besta Neurological Institute, Milan, Italy
3Istituto di Neurologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
4dINSERM – UPMC UMRS 975, Brain and Spine Institute, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France
5AP-HP, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Fédération de Neurologie, Paris, France

Received 10 December 2012; Accepted 10 December 2012

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We tested the efficiency of three attentional systems (spatial orienting, phasic alerting and executive control) in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), by using a modified version of the Attention Network Test, which employs acoustic tones to modulate phasic alertness. PD patients were generally slower than age-matched controls, but they showed a similar pattern of effects and interactions. Responses were faster with congruent than with incongruent stimuli (executive control), with valid visual cues than with invalid or no cues (orienting), and when acoustic tones preceded the target (alerting). This last effect was significantly larger in PD patients than in controls. We concluded that, for the present group of patients, the activity of attentional networks was relatively normal, if slowed. Slowed responses in PD may be improved by the use of acoustic stimuli, with potential clinical implications.