Journal Article

Predominant cortical dysfunction in Guadeloupean parkinsonism

Emmanuelle Apartis, Bertrand Gaymard, Stéphane Verhaeghe, Emmanuel Roze, Marie Vidailhet and Annie Lannuzel

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 131, issue 10, pages 2701-2709
Published in print October 2008 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online October 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI:
Predominant cortical dysfunction in Guadeloupean parkinsonism

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Atypical parkinsonism is extremely frequent in Guadeloupe and may have an environmental cause. One-half of the patients with this tauopathy have dopa-resistant parkinsonism, tremor, subcortical dementia and abnormal eye movements suggestive of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). They also have hallucinations, dysautonomia, which are not characteristic of PSP. Furthermore, the oculomotor abnormalities and the tremor, which is jerky, differ from what is observed in classical PSP patients. We therefore undertook an electrophysiological study to characterize these features in greater detail. Nine representative Guadeloupean PSP-like (Gd-PSP) patients were selected for electro-oculographic recordings of horizontal eye movements [visually guided saccades (VGS), antisaccades (AS) and smooth pursuit], clinical evaluation of vertical saccade velocity and electrophysiological analysis of abnormal limb movements [electromyographic polygraphy, EEG jerk-locked-back-averaging (JLBA) and long-loop C-reflex]. Vertical saccade velocity was reduced in five patients. The velocity of horizontal VGS was normal, although the latencies were increased and horizontal smooth pursuit (HSP) was mostly saccadic. The AS error rate was above 70% in most patients. Myoclonus was detected in 89% of the Gd-PSP patients. It was mainly small amplitude rest and action myoclonus in the upper limbs, characterized by short arrhythmic 24–76 ms bursts and was of cortical origin, as confirmed by JLBA in five patients. In conclusion, Gd-PSP patients have cortical myoclonus and cortical oculomotor impairments, but only minor signs of brainstem oculomotor dysfunction, suggesting that cortical dysfunction predominates over brainstem impairments. This electrophysiological study, added to previous clinical, neuropsychological and neuroradiological studies, has enriched the characterization of Guadeloupean atypical parkinsonism, which thus appears to be a new clinical entity.

Keywords: myoclonus; eye movements; Guadeloupean parkinsonism; taupathy; PSP

Journal Article.  5736 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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