Are there physical differences in patients suffering from Parkinson's disease?
Yes. In Parkinson's disease, an area in the brain called the basal ganglia degenerates. This area is also responsible for motor output, which explains the shaking at the beginning and then the progressive inability to move, to the point where the patient becomes paralyzed. Many years ago, we considered Parkinson's disease to be exclusively a disease of motor dysfunction. Today, researchers are asking patients with Parkinson's disease, “Do you have memory deficits and, if so, what are they?” We're finding that they do have profound memory deficits, particularly as the disease progresses.
-Joseph Rochford, PhD, Mini-Psych School 2006