News Release

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Media Contact: Elizabeth Laur, (414) 276-2145,
MDS Press Room: Convention Centre Dublin, Wicklow Meeting Room 2b, Level 2

Note to media: See abstract 759

Visual erotic cues correspond to neural activity in Parkinson's disease patients with hypersexuality

DUBLIN – A study titled “Neural correlates of hypersexuality in Parkinson’s disease” investigating exposure to common erotic cues and brain activity linked to sexual motivation in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients with hypersexuality (HS) was presented today at The Movement Disorder Society’s 16th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.

The study, led by Marios Politis, MD, of London, UK, explores the pathophysiology of hypersexuality in PD receiving dopamine (DA) drugs and the correlation of erotic cues can affect the brain and the resulting behavior in individuals. A group of 12 PD patients with HS were studied using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) block design exposing patients to both rewarding and neutral visual cues. This group was compared to a control group of 12 PD patients without HS or other impulse control disorders.

The fMRI showed that exposure to common erotic cues significantly increased sexual desire and motivation linked to activity changes in cortical brain regions known to be associated with emotional, cognitive, autonomic, motivational and visual processing in PD patients with HS. Government restrictions were suggested to help reduce the effect of erotic cues in mass media to reduce the onset of of pathological sexual behavior in PD patients with HS.

David Eidelberg, MD, of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, states, “The occurrence of impulsive control disorders (ICD) such as pathologic gambling and hypersexuality in PD patients on chronic dopaminergic therapy, and their sometimes devastating individual consequences, is increasingly recognized. Although recent functional imaging studies have improved the understanding of the pathophysiology underlying these troubling side-effects, their specific neuronal correlates remain to be elucidated. Politis and colleagues provide valuable insights into the neuronal basis of hypersexuality in PD. The identification of altered neuronal function related to ICD is potentially useful in the evaluation of novel dopaminergic agents in this regard.

Moreover, the findings demonstrate the potential impact of visual sexual stimuli on this group of patients. On these lines, the authors discuss the possible implications on the handling of sexual content in the mass media. However, it remains questionable whether legal restrictions are the appropriate way to protect ICD patients from self-harming or offending behavior.”

About the 16th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders
Meeting attendees are gathered to learn the latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options in Movement Disorders, including Parkinson's disease. More than 4,500 physicians and medical professionals from 80 countries will be able to view over 1,600 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from around the world.

About The Movement Disorder Society
The Movement Disorder Society, an international society of over 3,500 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about The Movement Disorder Society, visit