People with Parkinson’s disease performed markedly better on a test of working memory after a night’s sleep, and sleep disorders can interfere with that benefit, researchers have shown.
While the classic symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors and slow movements, Parkinson’s can also affect someone’s memory, including "working memory." Working memory is defined as the ability to temporarily store and manipulate information, rather than simply repeat it. The use of working memory is important in planning, problem solving, and independent living.
The findings underline the importance of addressing sleep disorders in the care of patients with Parkinson’s, and indicate that working memory capacity in patients with Parkinson’s potentially can be improved with training. The results also have implications for the biology of sleep and memory.
The results were published this week in the journal Brain.