An Israeli neurologist compiled studies on patients who suddenly started drawing, sculpting or writing while on dopamine-stimulating drugs.

Parkinson’s treatment may boost creativity

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- Guest Column By Israel21c  Wednesday, January 2, 2013
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Israeli neurologist Dr. Rivka Inzelberg noticed for years that patients taking dopamine-stimulating medication to control symptoms of Parkinson’s disease didn’t bring her the customary box of chocolates at holiday time. Instead they brought drawings, sculptures or poems they’d created despite never having been artistically inclined before.

“I saw it was becoming such a phenomenon, and I looked in the literature to see if anyone ever worked on this,” she tells ISRAEL21c. “I found many articles about patients who have become artists in the context of being Parkinsonian.”

Inzelberg has now written her own article, soon to be published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, which reviews and summarizes all the knowledge thus far accumulated about this phenomenon. In the article, she also brings up related questions about the role of dopamine – a brain neurotransmitter that is lacking in people with Parkinson’s – on human creativity.

Inzelberg, who treats patients at the Joseph Sagol Neuroscience Center at Sheba Medical Center and teaches at the medical school of Tel Aviv University, says the connection between dopamine and artistic tendencies has been observed for years.

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