Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-21-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Toshikazu Ikuta

Second Advisor

Hyejin Park

Third Advisor

Alberto Del Arco

Relational Format



This study sought to explore the relationship between Parkinson’s Disease (PD), the amygdala, and the plethora of non-motor symptoms that plague individuals with PD. Previous research gave insights about the amygdala’s function as the emotional center of the brain, its role in depression, and its participation in the non-motor symptoms of PD. The research proved to still be inconclusive on its own because of a variety of limitations. The methods of this study consist of the analysis of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans from 93 individuals with PD and 18 individuals without PD while in a resting state. The analysis showed that the amygdalae experienced decreased functional connectivity (FC) to the right posterior areas of the superior frontal gyrus (SFG). Because this depletion of FC is similar to the neurological effects of Major Depression Disorder (MDD), it is suggested that depression in PD is caused by the amygdala’s inability to communicate effectively with the right posterior SFG.

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