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While tremors, slowness, and coordination problems are generally associated with Parkinson’s disease, approximately 30-40% of Parkinson’s patients also suffer from dementia. In fact, Dementia in Parkinson’s patients is the leading reason for their placement in nursing homes.

An ongoing Mayo Clinic study found that Parkinson’s patients may experience cognitive problems before developing dementia. The study found that 22% of the Parkinson’s patients studied were considered to be classified as having a mild cognitive impairment.

The researchers feel that the value of identifying Parkinson’s patients with mild cognitive impairment is that the intermediate stage could provide clues as to how cognitive ability can deteriorate in Parkinson’s disease patients.

This is a long term study that involves individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. The participants undergo an annual physical and mental exam. All of the participants have donated their body to research at the time of death.