OBJECTIVE: The event-related potential (ERP) evoked by the auditory oddball paradigm has been investigated mainly in patients with Alzheimer's disease and in patients with different causes of subcortical dementia. Subcortical ischemic vascular disease (SIVD) seems to be an important cause of vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) frequently not fulfilling the criteria for dementia. Recognition of VCI is needed in order to provide adequate care and therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic value of the different elements of this response (N(1), N(2) complex and P(3) latencies) in a group of elderly patients with VCI caused by SIVD.
METHODS: The study population consisted of patients with a clinical and neuropsychological diagnosis of VCI caused by SIVD (n = 38) and healthy control subjects (n = 53) aged 60 years or older. The mean Mini Mental State Examination score of both groups was 27.6, and the mean HIV Dementia Scale score was 6.1 in the patient group and 12.3 in the control group. In all subjects, the ERP was recorded under standardized conditions, and the latencies and amplitudes of N(1), N(2) and P(3) were analyzed by two clinical neurophysiologists in consensus. Both were blinded to the diagnosis.
RESULTS: The N(2) latency was significantly longer in patients with VCI than in age-matched controls, whereas the latencies of the P(3) and N(1) were not significantly different. The peak-to-peak amplitude of the N(2) complex to the P(3) wave was significantly lower in the patient group. White matter abnormalities on MRI were not significantly correlated with the N(2) latency.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the latency of the N(2) complex is prolonged and the peak-to-peak amplitude of the N(2) complex to the P(3) wave is lowered in patients with VCI caused by SIVD.