The Impact of Social Participation on Cognitive Function in Patients With Parkinson Disease: Ling Wan-Albert, OTD, OTR/L


The assistant professor of occupational therapy at the New York Institute of Technology talked about educating patients with Parkinson disease about the importance of maintaining social participation for cognitive function at ATMRD 2023. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

"Patients often focus on the motor aspects of Parkinson disease, neglecting the changes in cognitive function. Decreased social participation may not directly cause cognitive decline, but it can contribute to early cognitive deterioration, especially in social aspects. It is important that we educate patients on the significance of maintaining social participation as long as possible in their lives."

Previous research shows that there has been limited attention given to the impacts of cognitive impairments related to Parkinson disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that causes both motor and nonmotor symptoms. For example, motor impairments in patients with PD can decrease social participation, which might also cause further cognitive decline. Findings from a recent interventional survey suggest that there is a clear need for education on the importance of social participation in this population among patients with PD.1

Results from the study were presented at the 2nd Annual Advanced Therapeutics in Movement and Related Disorders (ATMRD) Congress, held by the PMD Alliance from June 8 to 11, 2023, in Washington, DC. In the study, there were 10 categories of potential improvement assessed, with a Likert scale rating of 1 to 5 points, among 4 patients (2 men, 2 women; 2 patients, 2 care partners) from the New York Institute of Technology Academic Health Care Center and Wellness Program. Overall improvement was reported in 8 of those 10 categories with educational intervention, with patients reporting an increased confidence in social participation and improved knowledge of related resources.

Ling Wan-Albert, OTD, OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy at the New York Institute of Technology and an investigator of the study, sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® to talk about how the intervention focused on increasing confidence and awareness of social participation in patients with PD. She also talked about some of the specific cognitive challenges faced by patients with PD in social situations. In addition, she spoke about how neurologists and other health professionals can collaborate to address the cognitive and social aspects of the disease.

Click here for more coverage of ATMRD 2023.

1. Baruch P, Elbaz D, Ezzatpour L, et al. Awareness of Importance of Social Participation to Cognition in Individuals with Parkinson's Disease. Presented at: ATMRD; June 9-11, 2023; Washington, DC.
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