Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




MacDonald, Penny A.


Patients with Parkinson disease are prescribed dopamine agonists such as pramipexole to improve motor symptoms. Several studies have found that patients taking dopaminergic medication develop impulse control disorders. In contrast, other studies suggest that some behaviors become less impulsive with pramipexole. We evaluated the performance of 20 young, healthy participants who received pramipexole (0.5 mg) and 20 participants who received placebo, on the Go/No-Go, the Stop Signal Task, and the Balloon Analogue Risk Task. We found that the pramipexole group had more timed out Go trials on the Go/No-Go task than the placebo group, suggesting reduced motor impulsivity. There were no differences between the two groups’ performance on the other impulsivity tasks. This pattern of results is in line with the theory that impulsivity consists of a motor and a cognitive aspect, and that pramipexole might decrease motor, but not cognitive impulsivity.