Saccadometry: A novel diagnostic tool in covert hepatic encephalo | 48478

Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology

ISSN - 2155-9562

Saccadometry: A novel diagnostic tool in covert hepatic encephalopathy

4th International Conference and Exhibition on Neurology & Therapeutics

July 27-29, 2015 Rome, Italy

Nicholas Cunniffe

Scientific Tracks Abstracts: J Neurol Neurophysiol

Abstract :

The study of saccadic latency, the variable time between presentation of a peripheral stimulus and foveation of the target,
has provided important insights into the neural mechanisms underlying reaction times and decision. It has emerged
as a powerful tool to quantify neurological impairment in a wide range of conditions. Patients with Huntington’s disease
and Frontotemporal dementia, for example, generate saccades with significantly increased latency. In Parkinson’s disease
meanwhile, saccadometry demonstrates how neural function is affected by the disease and its treatment, for example deep
brain stimulation.
Our latest work has shown measurement of saccadic latency distributions in patients with liver cirrhosis can accurately
detect Covert Hepatic Encephalopathy (CHE). This cognitive defect, found in 30-70% of cirrhosis patients, has been linked to
poor quality of life and increased mortality, while early detection and appropriate treatment may reverse the deficit. Despite its
clinical significance, diagnosis relies on psychometric tests that have proved unsuitable for clinical use.
Our study diagnosed CHE in a subset among 36 cirrhosis patients by subjecting them to the World Congress of
Gastroenterology standard of psychometric tests. We then used a portable saccadometer to measure their saccadic eye
movements. We found those with CHE (16) had significantly prolonged saccadic latencies when compared with those without
(20). There was in fact a spectrum of cognitive impairment among cirrhosis patients, with those defined as having CHE by
psychometric testing having slower reaction times.
Saccadometry therefore represents an opportunity for accurate and early diagnosis of CHE, better informing treatment in
these patients. (250 words)

Biography :

Nicholas Cunniffe graduated from Cambridge University with degrees in neuroscience and medicine. After completing junior years in Cambridge, he is now
undertaking specialist training in London, while lecturing neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and continuing to conduct research with Professor Carpenter
who was originally invited to this meeting, but prevented from travelling by a medical condition: Nicholas Cunniffe is representing him. Roger Carpenter is Emeritus
Professor of Oculomotor Physiology at Cambridge, and directed medical studies for many years at Gonville and Caius College. Well known as the author of the
classic Movements of the Eyes, he has published many papers using eye movements to study decision mechanisms of the brain (the LATER model) and their
clinical applications. He is also the author of the highly successful Neurophysiology, now in its fifth edition.