Auditory temporal processing in Parkinson’s disease.

Dominique Guehl, Pierre Burbaud, Christian Lorenzi, Christophe Ramos, Bernard Bioulac, Catherine Semal, Laurent Demany
Neuropsychologia. 2008-07-01; 46(9): 2326-2335
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.03.007

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1. Neuropsychologia. 2008;46(9):2326-35. doi:
10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.03.007. Epub 2008 Mar 22.

Auditory temporal processing in Parkinson’s disease.

Guehl D(1), Burbaud P, Lorenzi C, Ramos C, Bioulac B, Semal C, Demany L.

Author information:
(1)Laboratoire Mouvement, Adaptation, Cognition, CNRS and Université Bordeaux 2,
Bordeaux, France.

Previous research has suggested that Parkinson’s disease (PD) impairs perceptual
acuity in the temporal domain. In the present study, psychophysical tests
assessing several aspects of auditory temporal processing were administered to a
group of PD patients treated with bilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) stimulation
and to a normal control group. Each patient was tested in three clinical
conditions: without treatment, with levodopa therapy, and during STN stimulation.
In all three conditions, the patients showed a significant deficit in the
detection of very short temporal gaps within noise bursts and in the
discrimination between the durations of two well-detectable time intervals (circa
50ms) bounded by two temporally non-contiguous pairs of clicks. However, the
patients showed no deficit in the detection of a temporal break produced by a
local interval change in an otherwise isochronous sequence of 10 clicks spaced by
50-ms intervals. The latter result contradicts previous suggestions that PD slows
down an internal clock or pacemaker involved in the perception of short
durations. In this regard, we reinterpret previous evidence. Remarkably, the
patients’ deficits were not diminished by levodopa therapy; in contrast, STN
stimulation slightly improved performance, overall. We tentatively ascribe the
deficit observed in the gap-detection test to a dysfunctioning of the auditory
cortex, impairing its ability to track rapid fluctuations in sound intensity. We
argue that the deficit in the duration-discrimination test is the consequence of
an impairment in memory and/or attention rather than in the perception of time
per se.

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.03.007
PMID: 18439632 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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