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Executive Dysfunction Among Individuals with Parkinson's Disease

Executive Dysfunction Among Individuals with Parkinson's Disease
Erin Foster, OTD, MSCI, OTR/L
March 14, 2012


I would like to start by saying I have no relevant financial interests to disclose.  My work, some of which I will mention today, has been supported by a number of sources.  These include foundations like the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function, the APDA, and also NIH. 

Learning Objectives

Describe the executive deficits associated with Parkinson's disease (PD) without dementia.

Describe how executive dysfunction in PD might manifest to impact everyday performance and participation.

List assessments that can be used to identify executive dysfunction in clients with PD in a clinical setting.

My goal is for this presentation to be an evidence-based discussion.  I will provide the evidence that exists for each of the learning objectives.  I do have to warn you that as we get into objective #2, and especially objective #3, there is not much evidence as executive dysfunction in Parkinson's disease, and its management, are really an emerging area of rehabilitation research.  I will provide you with what I know according to the evidence in the available literature,  as well as evidence from some of my own experience and research in clinical practice. 



erin foster

Erin Foster, OTD, MSCI, OTR/L

Dr. Foster is an Assistant Professor in Occupational Therapy, Neurology and Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM).  She received her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy and completed postdoctoral training in clinical neuroscience and cognitive neuropsychology at WUSM. During her postdoctoral fellowship, she was selected for a multi-disciplinary clinical investigation training program and received her Master’s of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) in May 2009. She is a current recipient of an NIH-K23 Career Development Award and several other research grants related to cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with Parkinson disease (PD). Dr. Foster’s primary research focus is on understanding everyday cognitive functioning in PD and its relevance to occupational performance, participation and quality of life. She studies how cognitive dysfunction in PD impacts everyday life and how occupational therapy can best address it. Clinically, Dr. Foster is involved with the Program in Occupational Therapy’s Community and In-Home Services as a consultant for therapists treating clients with PD or related movement disorders.

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