A Potential VEP Biomarker for Mild Cognitive Impairment: Evidence from Selective Visual Deficit of Higher-Level Dorsal Pathway

Takao Yamasaki, Shizuka Horie, Yasumasa Ohyagi, Eri Tanaka, Norimichi Nakamura, Yoshinobu Goto, Shigenobu Kanba, Jun Ichi Kira, Shozo Tobimatsu, Pravat Mandal

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Visual dysfunctions are common in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Our aim was to establish a neurophysiological biomarker for amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) were recorded in aMCI patients who later developed AD (n=15) and in healthy older (n=15) and younger controls (n=15). Visual stimuli were optimized to separately activate lower and higher levels of the ventral and dorsal streams. We compared VEP parameters across the three groups of participants and conducted a linear correlation analysis between VEPs and data from neuropsychological tests. We then used a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis to discriminate those with aMCI from those who were healthy older adults. The latency and phase of VEPs to lower-level stimuli (chromatic and achromatic gratings) were significantly affected by age but not by cognitive decline. Conversely, VEP latencies for higher-ventral (faces and kanji-words) and dorsal (kana-words and optic flow motion) stimuli were not affected by age, but they were significantly prolonged in aMCI patients. Interestingly, VEPs for higher-dorsal stimuli were related to outcomes of neuropsychological tests. Furthermore, the ROC analysis showed that the highest areas under the curve were obtained for VEP latencies in response to higher-dorsal stimuli. These results suggest aMCI-related functional impairment specific to higher-level visual processing. Further, dysfunction in the higher-level of the dorsal stream could be an early indicator of cognitive decline. Therefore, we conclude that VEPs associated with higher-level dorsal stream activity can be a sensitive biomarker for early detection of aMCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-676
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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