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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 22;8(7):e69522. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069522. Print 2013.

Ocular-motor profile and effects of memantine in a familial form of adult cerebellar ataxia with slow saccades and square wave saccadic intrusions.

Author information

1
Eye tracking and Visual Application Lab (EVA Lab), Medical, Surgical and Neurological Sciences, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.

Abstract

Fixation instability due to saccadic intrusions is a feature of autosomal recessive spinocerebellar ataxias, and includes square wave intrusions (SWI) and macrosaccadic oscillations (MSO). A recent report suggested that the non-competitive antagonist of NMDA receptors, memantine, could decrease MSO and improve fixation in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia with saccadic intrusions (SCASI). We similarly tested two sisters, respectively of 58 and 60 years, with an unrecognized form of recessive, adult-onset cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy and slow saccades, who showed prominent SWI and also complained with difficulty in reading. We tested horizontal visually guided saccades (10°-18°) and three minutes of steady fixation in each patient and in thirty healthy controls. Both patients showed a significant reduction of peak and mean velocity compared with control subjects. Large SWI interrupting steady fixation were prominent during steady fixation and especially following visually guided saccades. Eye movements were recorded before and during the treatment with memantine, 20 mg/daily for 6 months. The treatment with memantine reduced both the magnitude and frequency of SWI (the former significantly), but did not modified neurological conditions or saccade parameters. Thus, our report suggests that memantine may have some general suppressive effect on saccadic intrusions, including both SWI and MSO, thereby restoring the capacity of reading and visual attention in these and in other recessive forms of ataxia, including Friedreich's, in which saccadic intrusions are prominent.

PMID:
23894498
PMCID:
PMC3718679
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0069522
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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