Intertemporal choice in Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome

Mohamed Al-Khaled, Marcus Heldmann, Inga Bolstorff, Johann Hagenah, Thomas F. Münte*

*Corresponding author for this work
    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease are a potential consequence of dopaminergic therapy. Impulse control problems might be revealed by intertemporal choice tasks which entail to forgo an immediately available reward in favor of a larger but later reward. The steepness of the discounting curve can be quantified by the parameter k. Methods: Participants (37 Parkinson patients [13 de novo, 24 medicated], 24 patients with restless legs syndrome, and 22 controls) were offered 54 choices between immediate smaller rewards and delayed larger and the k value was estimated from the participants' responses. Participants had the chance of winning one of their decisions. None of the participants had impulse control disorders. Results: Unmedicated Parkinson patients had a higher discounting rate than controls and medicated patients with restless legs syndrome. The k values of medicated Parkinson patients and patients with restless legs syndrome did not differ from those of controls. No correlation was found between the k value and the dopamine agonist dose. Conclusion: Impulsive decision making in patients with Parkinson's disease may occur as part of the disease rather than as a consequence of dopamine agonist therapy.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
    Issue number11
    Pages (from-to)1330-1335
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 01.11.2015


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