, Volume 258, Issue 12, pp 2276-2277
Date: 11 May 2011

Vagus nerve somatosensory evoked potentials in Parkinson’s disease

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Dear Sirs,

Recent studies have emphasized that the pathology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) extends beyond the nigrostriatal system [1, 2]. According to the work of Braak [3], it may start in deep brain stem nuclei including the glossopharyngeal/vagus nerve complex. A method of vagus nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (VN-SEP) for the assessment of vagus nerve function has recently been developed by Fallgatter et al. [4]. In this pilot study, we tested the hypothesis that VN-SEP may be affected in PD patients.

In a prospective observational study approved by the local ethics committee and performed in accordance with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki, 21 patients [7 females, age 66.7 ± 10.0 years (mean ± SD), range 45–79 years, mean disease duration 6.5 ± 4.1 years] with a clinical diagnosis of PD according to the British brain bank criteria [5] and 21 healthy age- and sex-matched controls (age 70.0 ± 10.2 years, range 49–81 years) were recruited after giving informed consent. All patient