An Electrophysiological Study of Visual Processing in Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 2 (SCA2)
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Reports of visual functional impairment in spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) have been studied previously using pattern reversal visually evoked potentials (VEPs) with contradictory results. To provide additional evidence to this area, visual functions were studied using VEPs and event-related potentials (ERPs) in a group of ten patients with genetically verified SCA2. The electrophysiological examination included pattern reversal and motion-onset VEPs as well as visually driven oddball ERPs with an evaluation of a target and a pre-attentive response. In six patients, we found abnormal visual/cognitive processing that differed from normal values in latency, but not in the amplitude of the dominant VEP/ERP peaks. Among the VEPs/ERPs used, the motion-onset VEPs exhibited the highest sensitivity and showed a strong Spearman correlation to SCA2 duration (from r = 0.82 to r = 0.90, p < 0.001) and clinical state assessed by Brief Ataxia Rating Scale (from r = 0.71 (p = 0.022) to r = 0.80 (p < 0.001)). None of the VEP/ERP latencies showed a correlation to the triplet repeats of the SCA2 gene. In three patients, we did not find any visual/cognitive pathology, and one subject showed only a single subtle prolongation of the VEP peak. The observed visual/cognitive deficit was related to the subjects’ clinical state and the illness duration, but no relationship to the genetic marker of SCA2 was found. From the VEP/ERP types used, the motion-onset VEPs seems to be the most promising candidate for clinical state monitoring rather than a tool for early diagnostic use.
KeywordsSpinocerebellar ataxia type 2 Visual evoked potentials Event-related potentials Motion processing
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