Impaired cognitive control in Parkinson’s disease patients with freezing of gait in response to cognitive load

Courtney C. Walton, James M. Shine, Loren Mowszowski, Moran Gilat, Julie M. Hall, Claire O’Callaghan, Sharon L. Naismith, Simon J G Lewis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Freezing of gait is a frequent and disabling symptom experienced by many patients with Parkinson’s disease. A number of executive deficits have been shown to be associated with the phenomenon suggesting a common underlying pathophysiology, which as of yet remains unclear. Neuroimaging studies have also implicated the role of the cognitive control network in patients with freezing. To explore this concept, the current study examined error-monitoring as a measure of cognitive control. Thirty-four patients with and 38 without freezing of gait, who were otherwise well matched on disease severity, completed a colour-word interference task that allowed the specific assessment of error monitoring during conflict. Whilst both groups performed colour-naming and word-reading tasks equally well, those patients with freezing showed a pattern between conditions whereby they were better able to monitor performance and self-correct errors in the pure inhibition task but not after a switching rule was introduced. The novel results shown here provide insight into possible pathophysiological mechanisms involved in cognitive load and error monitoring in patients with freezing of gait. These results provide further evidence for the role of functional frontostriatal circuitry impairments in patients with freezing of gait and have implications for future studies and possible therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-660
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive control
  • Error monitoring
  • Executive function
  • Freezing of gait
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroop task


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