Poster: Between and within language control in Parkinson’s disease

International Neuropsychological Society 2016 Mid-Year Meeting

Authors: Gabriele Cattaneo, Marco Calabria, Alexandre Gironell  and Albert Costa

Objective:  There is evidence that in bilingual Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients the mechanisms of transient control are selectively affected in language switching, where sustained mechanisms are similarly affected in both language and non-linguistic task switching. The aim of the present study is to explore also those mechanisms involved in within language control, by using a task which requires switching within the same language, and investigate their relationship with working memory and monitoring.

Participants and Methods: 24 individuals affected by PD and 17 matched healthy controls took part in the experiment. All participants were high proficient Catalan-Spanish bilinguals.

Participants performed two linguistic versions of the switching task. In one version bilinguals switched between languages and in the other they switched between grammatical categories within language. To explore executive control (EC) participants also performed working memory and attentional tasks.

Results: PD patients were impaired in transient control only when they switched between languages, whereas they were impaired in sustained control in both versions of the task switching. Moreover PD patients were impaired in EC tasks and one of these measure (N-Back task) correlated negatively with the sustained control mechanisms in the within language switching task.

Conclusions: Mechanisms that allow bilinguals to avoid transient interference from the language not in use seem to be specific to this type of control, whereas sustained mechanism of control seems to be shared with other domains of linguistic and non-linguistic control. Interestingly, the underlying mechanisms of sustained control seem to be dependent to working memory and monitoring.