Differential Patterns of Planning Impairments in Parkinson’s Disease and Sub-Clinical Signs of Dementia? A Latent-Class Model-Based Approach
by Lena Köstering, Audrey McKinlay, Christoph Stahl, Christoph P. Kaller
Planning impairments mark a well-documented consequence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). Recently, using the Tower of London task we demonstrated that, rather than being generally impaired, PD patients selectively fail when planning requires flexible in-breadth search strategies. For a better understanding of the interindividual patterns underlying specific planning impairments, here we performed an explorative re-analysis of the original data using a latent-class model-based approach. Data-driven classification according to subjects’ performance was based on a multinomial processing tree (MPT) model accommodating the impact of increased breadth versus depth of looking ahead during planning. In order to assess interindividual variability in coping with these different task demands, an extension of MPT models was used in which sample-immanent heterogeneity is accounted for by identifying different latent classes of individuals. Two latent classes were identified that differed considerably in performance for problems placing high demands on the depth of anticipatory search processes. In addition, these impairments were independent of PD diagnosis. However, latent-class mediated search depth-related deficits in planning performance were associated with poorer outcomes in dementia screenings, albeit sub-clinical. PD patients exhibited additional deficits related to the breadth of searching ahead. Taken together, results revealed dissociable impairments in specific planning processes within a single task of visuospatial problem solving. Present analyses put forward the hypothesis that cognitive sequelae of PD and sub-clinical signs of dementia may be related to differential patterns of planning impairments.
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