Zangemeister WH, Heesen C, Röhr D, Gold SM.

Fatigue is a major complaint in MS. Up to now no objective assessment tools have been established which hampers any treatment approach. Previous work has indicated an association of fatigue with cognitive measures of attention. Oculomotor tests have been established in healthy individuals as a read-out of fatigue, and to some extent in MS patients. Based on these observations we compared two groups of MS patients, one with fatigue (n=28) and one without fatigue (n=21) and a group of healthy subjects (n=15) with a standardised computerised measure of alertness and an oculomotor stress test. Patients with fatigue showed highly significant changes of their saccade dynamics as defined by the Main Sequence and Phase Plane plots: They showed slowing of saccades, the characteristical fatigue double peak, and an asymmetrical phase plane. Oculomotor tests differentiated significantly between fatigue and fatigabiliy in our MS patients. They also showed significantly worse performance in the alertness test as well as in the oculomotor task. Significantly slower reaction times were observed for tonic alertness in 2 series without a cue (p=.025 and p=.037) but not in phasic alertness with a cue (p=.24 and p=.34). Performance was influenced by disability as well as by affective state. We conclude, when controlling for disability and depression, saccadic stress tests and alertness tests could be used as an objective read-out for fatigability and fatigue in MS patients.

J Eye Mov Res. 2020 Sep 13;13(4)

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