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VISUAL DYSFUNCTION IN PARKINSON'S DISEASE
LOSS IN SPATIOTEMPORAL CONTRAST SENSITIVITY

IVAN BODIS-WOLLNER, MARCIA S. MARX, SUNANDA MITRA, PHYLLIS BOBAK, LELAND MYLIN, MELVIN YAHR
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/110.6.1675 1675-1698 First published online: 1 December 1987

Summary

Flicker sensitivity and spatial contrast sensitivity (CS) were examined in a total of 99 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). All patients were undergoing treatment with dopaminergic agents. Specific losses in sensitivity observed in PD were (1) a loss in flicker sensitivity which was most pronounced around the peak of the function (8 Hz) and (2) a loss near the peak of the spatial CS curve, often with no noticeable low frequency attenuation. Several PD patients affected by the ‘on-off ’ syndrome were tested in both ‘on’ and ‘off’ phases, and the results show that the CS function switches in parallel with motor symptoms of the disease. These data suggest that not only is the visual system affected in PD, but that dopamine may have an essential role in receptive field organization in human vision.

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