Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can develop the cognitive adverse effect of impulse control disorders (ICDs) while undergoing a pharmacological treatment for motor control dysfunctions with a dopamine agonist (DA). Conventional clinical interviews or questionnaires can be biased and may not provide an accurate diagnosis in the early stage. A wearable electroencephalogram (EEG)-sensing headset paired with an examination procedure can be a potential user-friendly method to explore ICD-related biomarkers that can reflect brain activity abnormalities and detect its early signs and progression.
A stereotypical Go/NoGo test that targets impulse inhibition was performed with 59 individuals, including heathy controls, patients with PD, and patients with PD diagnosed with ICD. A low-cost LEGO-like EEG headset was used to record concurrent EEG signals. The event-related potential (ERP) analytical framework was then used to explore ICD-related EEG abnormalities after DA treatment.
Only PD patients with ICD exhibited a tendency for N2 and P3 amplitude deterioration at the fronto-central regions (i.e., Fz, FCz, and Cz); in particular, the P3 counterpart reached statistical significance (p<0.05). Neither PD patients nor healthy controls (without DA) replicated such findings. Furthermore, N2 amplitude deterioration was found to be related to ICD severity at Fz (r=-0.28, p=0.04).
A low-cost LEGO-like EEG headset successfully captured ERP neuromarkers for the objective assessment of ICD in PD patients undergoing DA treatment. The present objective neuro-evidence could provide complementary information to conventional clinical scales used to diagnose the ICD adverse effect.