Aim: To investigate the sensory functions of the peripheral to central pathways in infants with Down syndrome (DS) by sensory evoked potentials.
Methods: Fifty-five infants, 30 DS infants and 25 controls, were examined by multimodal evoked potentials, including brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP), visual evoked potentials (VEP) and short-latency somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP).
Results: No obvious difference was found in the peak latencies between the two groups for BAEP. Nine children with DS showed abnormal BAEP; six had hearing loss and three had prolonged wave I latencies. For VEP, the peak latencies of P2 and N2 were significantly longer and the amplitudes were smaller in the DS group than in the control group. Of the 30 infants with DS, five had significantly prolonged P2 latencies and two had lower amplitudes. In SSEP, the mean latencies of N20 and the interpeak latencies of N13-N20 of the infants with DS showed apparent prolongation compared to the controls. Seven of 30 (23.3%) DS patients had prolonged N20 latencies.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that various sensory deficits occur in patients with DS during the first year of life.