Visual dysfunction can be caused by several abnormalities, including dysfunctions in the visual cortex and retina. Our aim was to investigate changes in visual evoked brain responses in the primary visual cortex associated with Parkinson's disease (PD). Sixteen healthy control subjects and ten patients with PD participated in this study. We assessed the visual evoked magnetic field (VEF) using magnetoencephalography (MEG). Checkerboard pattern reversal (CPR) and monotonous grating pattern (MGP) stimulations were used. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed to analyze brain volume and generate a tractogram. Cognitive and olfactory function, and Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores were evaluated in patients with PD. Four components of the VEF (1M, 2M, 3M, 4M) were observed following stimulation. For both stimuli, results from the 1M and 2M components were significantly greater and the latency of the 1M component was increased markedly in the PD group compared with the healthy control group. In the PD group, 1M latency correlated with the UPDRS score of 1 for both stimuli, and a correlation was observed between olfactory function and the UPDRS score of 3 for the CPR stimulation alone. We suggest that the conduction delay observed following visual stimulation occurs peripherally rather than in the primary visual cortex. Degeneration of selective elements of the visual system in the retina, possibly midget cells, may be involved.
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