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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Action Observation With Dual Task for Improving Cognitive Abilities in Parkinson's Disease: A Pilot Study
Author(s): Caligiore, Daniele
Mustile, Magda
Fineschi, Alissa
Romano, Laura
Piras, Fabrizio
Assogna, Francesca
Pontieri, Francesco
Spalletta, Gianfranco
Baldassarre, Gianluca
Keywords: action observation
executive dysfunction
dual task
goal focusing
mirror neurons
Parkinson’s disease
Issue Date: 11-Feb-2019
Date Deposited: 9-Apr-2019
Citation: Caligiore D, Mustile M, Fineschi A, Romano L, Piras F, Assogna F, Pontieri F, Spalletta G & Baldassarre G (2019) Action Observation With Dual Task for Improving Cognitive Abilities in Parkinson's Disease: A Pilot Study. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 13, Art. No.: 7.
Abstract: Action observation therapy (AOT) has been recently proposed as a new rehabilitation approach for treatment of motor deficits in Parkinson's disease. To date, this approach has never been used to deal with cognitive deficits (e.g., deficits in working memory, attention), which are impairments that are increasingly recognized in Parkinsonian patients. Typically, patients affected by these dysfunctions have difficulty filtering out irrelevant information and tend to lose track of the task goal. In this paper, we propose that AOT may also be used to improve cognitive abilities of Parkinsonian patients if it is used within a dual task framework. We articulate our hypothesis by pivoting on recent findings and on preliminary results that were obtained through a pilot study that was designed to test the efficacy of a long-term rehabilitation program that, for the first time, uses AOT within a dual task framework for treating cognitive deficits in patients with Parkinson's disease. Ten Parkinson's disease patients underwent a 45-min treatment that consisted in watching a video of an actor performing a daily-life activity and then executing it while performing distractive tasks (AOT with dual task). The treatment was repeated three times per week for a total of 4 weeks. Patients' cognitive/motor features were evaluated through standard tests four times: 1 month before treatment, the first and the last day of treatment and 1 month after treatment. The results show that this approach may provide relevant improvements in cognitive aspects related to working memory (verbal and visuospatial memory) and attention. We discuss these results by pivoting on literature on action observation and recent literature demonstrating that the dual task method can be used to stimulate cognition and concentration. In particular, we propose that using AOT together with a dual task may train the brain systems supporting executive functions through two mechanisms: (i) stimulation of goal setting within the mirror neuron system through action observation and (ii) working memory and persistent goal maintenance through dual task stimuli.
DOI Link: 10.3389/fnsys.2019.00007
Rights: © 2019 Caligiore, Mustile, Fineschi, Romano, Piras, Assogna, Pontieri, Spalletta and Baldassarre. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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