Usefulness of p300 in subjective memory complaints: a prospective study

Author(s): Gironell A, García-Sánchez C, Estévez-González A, Boltes A, Kulisevsky J


The existing studies about the utility of P300 latency for diagnostically classifying patients in preclinical stages of dementia are cross-sectional rather than longitudinal in design, and their results are inconclusive. The authors investigated the P300 value in a series of patients with subjective memory complaints using a prospective design. The study was performed in a consecutive series of 116 outpatients with subjective memory complaints as the predominant symptom. P300 (auditory oddball task) was performed immediately after the first clinical evaluation, and at 12 and 24 months. Final cognitive syndrome diagnosis (mean follow-up period, 27.7 months) was then made by a neurologist who was blinded to the neurophysiologic results. Diagnosis at the end of follow-up was 30 cases of normal cognition, 30 cases of mild cognitive impairment, 28 cases of dementia of Alzheimer's type (DAT), five cases of vascular dementia, and one case of frontotemporal dementia; 22 patients were lost to follow-up. P300 latency was significantly higher for the DAT group (analysis of variance: P=0.023) throughout the study. The diagnostic value of P300 latency at baseline examination for DAT had a sensitivity of 52.9% and a specificity of 76.9%; the odds ratio was 3.75 (95% confidence interval, 1.23-11.41). Findings from the present study suggest that assessment of evoked related potentials may contribute to the early detection of DAT.

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