Saccadic latency in Parkinson's disease correlates with executive function and brain atrophy, but not motor severity

Neurobiol Dis. 2011 Jul;43(1):79-85. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2011.01.032. Epub 2011 Feb 17.


Brain regions related to saccadic control are affected by Parkinson's disease (PD) pathology and a relationship between abnormal saccades and cognitive features of PD has been suggested. We measured the latency of visually-evoked saccades, and correlated best-fit parameters in a LATER neuronal decision model μ and σ (mean and SD of the distribution of reciprocal latency, i.e. speed of response), and σ(E) (SD of the early component) with motor function, cognition and grey matter volume in 18 patients with PD and 17 controls. There was a negative correlation between verbal fluency and σ; no correlation was found between motor function and any of the latency parameters. Higher μ (shorter latency) positively correlated with grey matter volume in the prefrontal cortex, the cerebellar vermis, and the fusiform gyrus. There was a negative correlation between σ and grey matter volume in the frontal and parietal eye fields, the premotor cortex, and the lateral prefrontal cortex. σ(E) negatively correlated with grey matter volume in the frontal eye fields and the middle frontal gyrus. Our behavioural and imaging findings point to an association between saccade latency, executive function and the structural integrity within a well-defined oculomotor network.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / pathology
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index