Forty-seven Japanese patients with multiple sclerosis, 29 probable (clinically definite) and 18 possible, were studied by black-and-white checkerboard pattern reversal visual evoked potential and were compared with a control group of 20 healthy young adults. The major positive peak (P100) was found to be abnormal in 70% of all cases, 90% of probable cases and 39% of possible cases. P100 was delayed in 38% of all cases and was absent in 23% of all cases. None of the eyes showing a flat pattern response was in the acute stage of optic neuritis. The percentage of cases with no response (23% of all cases) was greater than any of the previously reported series from Western countries, substantiating the previously reported clinical features of oriental multiple sclerosis. The pattern response was absent only when testing eyes with severe visual impairment, whereas delayed latency of P100 was seen regardless of the severity of visual impairment, suggesting the usefulness of P100 latency for detecting subclinical optic nerve lesions.
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