in reviewing your abstract, I noticed that you tested patients that were in their ON state – what does that mean?
Hi Dr. Roerig, great question! Testing participants in the ON state means when his/her medication is most effective in reducing symptoms of PD. This is usually after his/her morning dose of Levodopa usually in the hour or so after.
Interesting to see the bias. What is the basis of the difference and can it sex hormone dependent? Are F with / without HRT worse and men with high T or PSA at risk?
Hi Dr. Alexander! We aren’t quite sure yet where this difference is from yet, but there is some evidence out there making a case for estrogen (but no so much for testosterone). We are working with Dr. Cruz to evaluate the role of sex hormones on PD cell in vitro. But more specific to my work we are using sex differences in processing speed to evaluate differences our observed sex differences and are seeing quite a bit of overlap specifically with frontal lobe function (executive function, visuospatial processing, memory). Parkinson’s disease is likely not one disorder but a cluster of related pathologies that seem to differ by sex.
one more question
in your hypothesis, you stated that you were testing the hypothesis that females with PD would be superior to males in visuospacial processing, although in healthy people the opposite has been found – why did you state your hypothesis as you did?
Another great question! We recently published a paper looking at sex differences in cognitive dysfunction we found differences in executive function and processing speed. Previous work in healthy individuals and our lab show that processing speed subserves several cognitive functions, and in PD mediates cognitive deficits. Processing speed (which was lower in males in our study) was one of our largest discriminators between groups. Also, my current work is highlighting the role of sex differences in processing speed and dysfunction in frontal lobe domains. Therefore, we expected males to have poorer performance in domains associated with the frontal lobe.
good answer – keep up the good work