Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: Video-Oculography Useful for Diagnosis in Study

In a study published on, an investigation of 100 patients living with progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare disorder, has helped to confirm the usefulness of a diagnostic approach called video-oculography. A common feature in this disease is oculomotor impairment, or difficulty controlling eye movement. Oculomotor impairment is part of the Movement Disorder Society’s diagnostic criteria for the disease. 

About Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

Progressive supranuclear palsy is a type of neurodegenerative disease which is most characterized by the deterioration and death of certain areas of the brain over time. Males and females appear to be affected at equal rates. There is not much known about progressive supranuclear palsy; the cause of the illness remains unknown. There is only limited evidence of genes playing a role, and current research is focusing on the role of environmental factors. Symptoms include falling, bumping into other objects, a distinctive lunging movement when walking begins, difficulty controlling eye movement, slowing of movements, vision problems, cognitive impairment, and dystonia affecting the neck. There is no cure, and treatment is primarily supportive; management includes physical therapy to delay loss of mobility. In some cases, the Parkinson’s drug levodopa can be effective. Average survival from onset is seven years, but this varies considerably. To learn more about progressive supranuclear palsy, click here.

About The Study

The researchers hoped to determine if certain video-oculographic parameters could be effective as diagnostic markers for progressive supranuclear palsy. The study utilized video-oculographic recordings from 49 healthy controls and 100 people that were living with the disease. The control group was age-matched to the patient group. A variety of parameters were evaluated by the scientists, who found that saccadic intrusions and vertical saccade velocity could accurately classify patients in 56 percent and 70 percent of cases, respectively. 

With these two parameters combined, around 80 percent of the patients could be classified. Vertical velocity asymmetry was also identified in 34 percent of the patients. This low percentage led the researchers to determine that this parameter was not useful for the classification of patients. However, saccadic intrusions and vertical saccade velocity, particularly when combined, were found to be useable for diagnostic purposes.

Check out the original study, published in the Journal of Neurology, here.

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