INTRODUCTION: Clinical cohort studies suggest that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is common in early Parkinson's disease (PD). The objectives of this paper were to describe cognitive function in a large clinical trial of early treated PD patients at baseline and over time using two brief cognitive screening tests. METHODS: In total 1741 participants were enrolled in the NINDS Exploratory Trials in Parkinson's disease (NET-PD) Long-term Study-1 (LS-1). The Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) was collected annually. The SCales for Outcomes in PArkinson's disease-COGnition (SCOPA-COG) was collected at baseline and at year 5. The trial was stopped early based on a planned interim analysis after half the cohort completed 5 years of follow-up. The median length of follow-up was 4 years (range 3-6 years). Predictors of cognitive change were examined using cross sectional (baseline) and longitudinal multivariable linear regression. RESULTS: The mean (SD) change from baseline to 5 years was -1.9 (5.1) for the SCOPA-COG and -2.1 (11.1) for the SDMT. Age and baseline UPDRS motor scores were associated with a more rapid decline in SDMT scores and 5 year SCOPA-COG scores. Male gender was associated with more rapid decline in SDMT. Self-reported income was a novel predictor of baseline cognitive function, even adjusted for educational status, although not significantly associated with change over time. CONCLUSION: This large prospective cohort study demonstrated mild cognitive decline in early treated Parkinson's disease. The study identified income level as a novel predictor of cognitive function.