Neuropsychological Function and Driving Ability in People with Parkinson's Disease Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • In this study the association between cognitive symptoms of PD and driving performance was investigated by examining the correlation between neuropsychological test performance and driving simulator behavior. Eighteen participants with PD and 18 healthy participants in a matched comparison group completed a range of neuropsychological measures. These data were correlated with driving simulator performance results from an earlier study. Significant correlations were found between several measures of neuropsychological test performance and driving behavior in participants with PD. In contrast, few significant correlations were obtained in the comparison group. Results suggest that executive difficulties in people with PD such as working memory, planning and set shifting are associated with reduced tactical level driving performance such as speed adaptation and complex curve navigation. Impaired information processing, visual attention and visual perception in people with PD appears associated with reduced operational level driving performance, such as reacting to road obstacles and maintaining constant lane position. Few correlations were found between measures of physical mobility and psychomotor speed with driving measures. Overall, this study highlights the important role of cognitive function in driving performance within the PD population. Comprehensive assessment of cognitive function should be included when assessing driving competency in people with PD.

authors

  • Stolwyk, RJ
  • Charlton, JL
  • Triggs, TJ
  • Iansek, R
  • Bradshaw, JL

publication date

  • September 2006