Cristina Nombela


Tomás y Valiente fellow


Understanding Parkinson’s disease: how integral cognition models are plotting a new roadmap



Cristina Nombela Otero is a Cognitive Psychologist, where she has been working for more than 15 years on understanding cognitive alterations in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson’s disease. His work has encompassed two main lines of research: i) Cognition: description of features representing cognitive alterations in Parkinson’s disease and healthy controls; and ii) Treatment: evaluation of non-pharmacological tools in cognition (cognitive training and surgical treatment).

She has worked in France (Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris from 2007 to 2008), Italy (Università degli Studi La Sapienza di Roma in 2010), UK (University of Cambridge from 2010 to 2014) and Spain (University of Murcia 2004-2009, Hospital Clínico San Carlos de Madrid from 2014 to 2018). Future research aims to explore new cognitive paradigms by combining neuropsychology and neuroimaging, focusing on cognitive and clinical profiles in patients with Parkinson’s disease.


Projet de recherche

Research project 

Europe is ageing. Ageing is the main risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonian patients start with motor symptoms, but 8 out of 10 patients present with cognitive impairment that may eventually progress to dementia.

Clinical and cognitive features progress at different rates, creating varied profiles of the same disease. Each of these profiles is characterised by specific key cognitive disturbances, high or low intensity depressive or anxious moods, variable motor patterns, different perceptions of quality of life or expectations, etc. All these aspects condition the type of patients, being very relevant to assess the treatment that best suits each patient. In this context, “treatment” brings together both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches (i.e. training, behavioural therapy, group dynamics, among others).

The aim of my project is to integrate a comprehensive model of cognition in Parkinson’s disease.


Sélection de publications

Selected publications

- 2003. “Directional DBS of the fornix in Alzheimer’s disease reaches long-term benefits: a case report”, Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience, 80997.

- 2021. “Fibromyalgia Detection Based on EEG Connectivity Patterns”, Journal of Clinical Medicine, 32772019. “The Women Neuroscientists in the Cajal School”, Frontiers in
Neuroanatomy, 72.

- 2014. “Genetic impact on cognition and brain function in newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease: ICICLE-Parkinson’s disease Study”, Brain: A Journal of Neurology, 2743-58.

- 2014. "Impulsivity in Parkinson’s disease: A multidimensional conceptualization", PLoS One 9(1):e85747. Q1, IF: 3.234.

- 2013. Into the Groove: can rhythm influence Parkinson’s disease? Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2564-70.




29/05/2018 - 31min 23s - Anglais