Background. Parkinson's disease (PD) patients are at increased risk for central auditory processing (CAP) deficits and cognitive dysfunction. However, behavioral assessments of CAP and cognitive processing used in a previous study by our research team found few significant differences in performance between early-stage PD patients and age-matched control subjects. The objective of this study is to use auditory event-related potentials (AERPs) to compare CAP and cognitive functions in a population of PD patients with a group of age-matched control subjects. Methods. AERPs in response to tonal and speech stimuli were recorded from 35 adults who had a medical diagnosis of PD (23 males and 12 females; mean age=66.9±s.d.11.2 years), and 35 age-matched control subjects who did not have PD or any other neurological disorders (31 males and 4 females; mean age=65.4±s.d.12.3 years). Auditory stimuli included pure tones (500 and 1000 Hz) to elicit the P300 response and a dichotic digits paradigm to elicit the N200 processing negativity. Results. Compared to control subjects, PD patients exhibited significantly longer latencies of P300 and N200 components and smaller amplitude N200 components. Latency and amplitude of the N200 component were significantly correlated with participants' age. N200 amplitude was correlated with results from the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) of cognitive ability. Latency of the P300 and amplitude of the N200 components were significantly correlated with results from the Spatial Release From Masking (SRM) behavioral CAP assessment. Conclusions. AERP assessments used in this study appear to be sensitive indicators of CAP and cognitive deficits exhibited by early-stage PD patients. While few significant differences in performance on behavioral CAP and cognitive tests were previously observed between this population of PD patients and age-matched control subjects, N200 and P300 components recorded in the present study revealed impaired neural processing by the PD group.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)