Somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold in Parkinson's disease parallels disease severity and duration

Antonella Conte, Giorgio Leodori, Gina Ferrazzano, Maria I. De Bartolo, Nicoletta Manzo, Giovanni Fabbrini, Alfredo Berardelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To investigate whether the somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold (STDT) is already altered at the clinical onset of Parkinson's disease (PD) and whether STDT abnormalities correlate with disease progression we tested STDT values in patients with different severity of disease. Methods We prospectively and consecutively enrolled 63 PD patients: 26 drug-naive PD patients with symptom onset no longer than two years prior to inclusion in the study (early-phase), 37 PD patients with varying degrees of disease severity and 51 age-matched healthy subjects. The STDT was tested on the index finger of both hands, and on both sides of the face. Twelve out of 26 early phase PD patients were re-tested two years after the initial diagnosis. Results PD patients as a whole displayed higher STDT values than healthy subjects. STDT values did not significantly differ between early-phase PD patients and healthy subjects, whereas they were significantly higher in patients with mild/moderate and advanced PD. In early-phase PD patients STDT values at the two years-follow up assessment did not statistically differ from those obtained at baseline. Considering the whole group of PD patients STDT abnormalities significantly correlated with duration and severity of the disease. Conclusions STDT increases as disease progresses. In early-phase PD patients STDT values are still statistically similar to those of healthy subjects, thus implying that dopaminergic depletion alone may not be sufficient to cause STDT abnormalities. Significance Our study gives new insight into the sensory abnormalities in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2985-2989
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Disease progression
  • Early-phase
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Somatosensory temporal discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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