New Found Creativity in PD Patients

April 25, 2014

A new skill in painting, creating sculpture or woodworking is a wonderful artistic outlet to explore and refine during retirement years.  What’s more amazing is that many Parkinson’s Disease patients find that they have a new talent in painting, sculpting, writing and other creative outlets.

Creativity may be sparked in Parkinson's Disease patients

Creativity may be sparked in Parkinson’s Disease patients

Nurturing creativity in Parkinson’s Disease patients is a bright spot on the horizon in a family’s journey.  While coping with decreased motor skills and tremors, some Parkinson’s Disease patients may find that their dopamine-enhancing drugs may be contributing to their newly-acquired artistic skills. Researchers such a Tel Aviv University’s Professor Rivka Inzelberg believe that diminished impulse-control due to dopamine-enhancing drugs may allow patients to explore a latent creative outlet.  On the other hand, patients and researchers have reported that dopamine-enhancing drugs may be attributed to other impulse-control disorders such as gambling and other addictions.

Another leading conclusion by healthcare professionals and researchers on the topic of creativity is that dopamine is involved in the brain’s “reward system” and that Parkinson’s Disease patients exhibit reward-seeking behavior through repetitive and creative outlets.  Therefore, the satisfaction that a patient receives in creating an artistic piece may fulfill the need to be rewarded for their accomplishments.

In addition to contributing to the artistic world some patients report that while they are following their creative pursuit, they find that some of their Parkinson’s Disease symptoms are temporarily relieved.  Some researchers believe that this temporary relief is because external stimulation can bypass motor issues and foster normal movement.

If you would like to learn more about studies on creativity in Parkinson’s you may read Prof. Inzelberg’s study in Behavioral Neuroscience Journal and you can view art created by Parkinson’s Disease patients on the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation website.

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