Persistent ocular tremors appear to be associated with Parkinson's disease

Persistent ocular tremors that prevent eye stability during fixation appear to be common among patients with Parkinson disease (PD) suggesting that precise oculomotor testing could provide an early physiological biomarker for diagnosing PD, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Neurology.

"Although a number of studies describe various oculomotor abnormalities in subjects with PD, conflicts about the specific deficits remain," writes George T. Gitchel, M.S., of the Southeast Parkinson's Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Center, Richmond, Va., and colleagues.

The authors compared oculomotor function between 112 with Parkinson disease and 60 age-matched controls during fixation and while tracking a randomly displaced target on a PC monitor.

"The major finding of the present study was that using modern eye movement tracking, oscillatory fixation instability was universally seen in a large cohort of 112 patients with PD," the authors write. "The fact that this behavior was universally observed in every tested patient with PD, including unmedicated patients, suggests that ocular tremor is a function of the disease process and not induced by medication."

The authors found that all 112 patients with PD showed persistent ocular instability while fixating on a target, compared with only two of the 60 control patients. Additionally, the authors found no differences in oculomotor parameters between medicated and unmedicated patients with PD.

"All patients with PD exhibited persistent ocular tremor that prevented stability during fixation," the authors conclude. "The pervasiveness and specificity of this feature suggest that modern, precise oculomotor testing could provide a valuable early physiological for diagnosing PD."

More information: Arch Neurol. Published online April 9, 2012. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2012.70

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Innovative new strategy to treat Parkinson's disease

Dec 19, 2011

Stabilizing the cell's power-generating center protects against Parkinson's disease (PD) in a rat model, according to a report published online this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

In Taiwan, diabetes linked to increased Parkinson's risk

Apr 02, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Individuals with diabetes in Taiwan have a significantly increased risk of Parkinson's disease (PD), which is robust across most age and gender stratifications, according to a study published ...

Recommended for you

Parkinson's disease reverted at a experimental stage

20 hours ago

Mexican scientists demonstrated experimentally, with adult rats, that mobility can be restored in patients with Parkinson's disease, the major degenerative disease of the motor system worldwide. The experiments ...

EU team launches clinical trial of Parkinson's vaccine

Dec 09, 2014

Today the EU-consortium SYMPATH starts recruitment for a Phase I study of a Parkinson's vaccine candidate called AFFITOPE PD03A. This vaccine is one out of a designated pool of promising vaccine candidates based on AFFiRiS' ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.