We compared saccadic eye movements in 21 patients with Huntington's disease (HD) and 21 normal subjects. In a predictive tracking task, HD patients were unable to anticipate normally the timing and location of a visual target that alternated its position predictably (±10°, 0.5 Hz; mean latency of +170 msec in HD and -78 msec in normal subjects). HD patients and normal subjects, however, showed comparable decreases in saccade latency (110 msec in HD, 124 msec in normal subjects) when the fixation target was turned off 200 msec before (gap task) versus 200 msec after (overlap task) the appearance of an unexpected peripheral stimulus. Taken together, these findings support the idea that HD patients show greater defects in initiating internally generated than in initiating externally triggered saccades. This dichotomy is likely due to involvement of frontal lobe-basal ganglia structures in HD, with relative sparing of parietal-superior collicular pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology