Study on Schizophrenia and eye movements
In a recent study, researchers Dr. Philip Benson and Dr. David St. Clair have discovered that people can be distinguished with and without schizophrenia by using tests of eye movements simple with more than 98% accuracy. The reason is that deterioration of eye movements is associated with schizophrenia.
"It has been known for more than a hundred years that people with psychotic diseases have a variety of abnormal eye movements, but until this study, using a new battery of tests, no one thought the abnormalities were sensitive enough to be used as potential Clinical diagnostic biomarkers, "say the study authors.
The series of tests they performed included tracking objects with slow eye movements, and gaze fixing tasks.
In slow tracking, people with schizophrenia have difficulty following slow moving objects even if they have no eye problems. His eye movements tend to lose that object and then recover it using a rapid and sudden movement of the eyes.
In the vision free test people with schizophrenia follow an abnormal pattern compared to the general population.
In the task of fixation, the person is asked to keep their eyes fixed on a single motionless target, and this seems to be difficult for people with schizophrenia.
In each of the eye exams performed, the performance of individuals with schizophrenia was abnormal compared to the group of healthy volunteers. Then, the researchers used several methods to model the data. The combination of all the data, achieves one of the models with 98.3% accuracy.
"We now have interesting data that show that abnormal eye movement patterns are specific to different psychiatric subgroups, another key requirement for diagnostic biomarkers," the researchers say. And they move forward. "The next thing we want to know is whether Abnormalities are detected earlier and can be used as disease markers for early intervention studies in major mental illnesses. "" We are also willing to explore the best way in which our results can be developed for use in routine clinical practice. "they add.
Typical neuropsychological evaluations take a long time, are expensive and require highly trained professionals to administer the tests, while these eye exams are simple, cheap, and take only a few minutes to complete.
For this reason, “a predictive model with such precision could be used in clinics and hospitals to help doctors complement other diagnostic criteria based on symptoms,” they conclude.