Indexed on: 14 Oct '06Published on: 14 Oct '06Published in: Journal of Neural Transmission - Parkinson's Disease and Dementia Section
Few studies exist on ERPs and patients with subcortical vascular cognitive impairment (SVCI). This latter is a quite homogeneous subtype of vascular dementia whose cognitive profile is quite different from that of Alzheimer disease (AD).The present study aims at comparing the ERPs profile both in patients with SVCI and in patients with AD.ERPs and psychometric tests were collected from 39 healthy elderly controls, 51 patients with SVCI and 43 patients with AD. Subjects mentally count high pitched target tones that were randomly intermixed with low pitched frequent tones. We measured ERPs latencies (N1, P2, N2 and P3), and interpeak latencies (N1-P3, N1-P2, N1-N2).Grand averaged potentials in SVCI showed a significant increase of P3 latency. AD patients showed a prolongation of N1, P2, N2, P3 latencies. As far as interpeak latencies are concerned, SVCI patients showed a significant prolongation of N1-P3, AD patients had a significant increase of N1-N2, and N1-P3 intervals. When all patients were considered as a single group, correlation of neuropsychological tests scores showed a significant negative relationship between P300 latency and, respectively, Mini Mental Status Examination, auditive and visual span forward. In both groups, ERPs latency sensitivity, was low, whilst specificity values were quite high.Our finding suggest that these two dementing diseases have different electrophysiologic features that may be related to their specific underlying pathogenetic mechanism; in particular, we hypothesise that, differently from AD, P300 latency prolongation characterizes the early stage of SVCI. So, this ERPs approach could be helpful to detect early alterations of the attentional/working-memory functions in patients with subcortical ischaemic vascular disease.