Visual fixation and smooth pursuit eye movement abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia and their relatives.
ABSTRACT Increasing evidence suggests that smooth pursuit eye movement (SPEM) dysfunction may serve as an endophenotype or genetic marker of schizophrenia. The authors tested SPEM and visual fixation (VF) in 31 patients with schizophrenia, 33 of their first-degree relatives, and 24 patients with major depressive disorder. A high rate of abnormal VF was found in schizophrenic patients and their first-degree relatives, but not in affective disorder patients with or without psychotic features. Rate of VF abnormality distinguished schizophrenic patients from acutely depressed mood disorder patients; SPEM did not. VF and SPEM performance correlated only moderately, suggesting that the pathophysiologies of these two eye movement abnormalities may be partially independent. Implications for identifying a schizophrenia endophenotype are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: Smooth pursuit eye movement dysfunction is considered to be a valid schizophrenia endophenotype. Recent studies have tried to refine the phenotype in order to identify the specific neurophysiological deficits associated with schizophrenia. We used a variation of the smooth eye pursuit paradigm, during which the moving target is occluded for a short period of time and subjects are asked to continue tracking. This is designed to isolate the predictive processes that drive the extraretinal signal, a process previously reported to be defective in schizophrenia patients as well as their healthy relatives. In the current study, we investigated the relationship between predictive pursuit performance indices and age, education, non-verbal IQ, schizotypy and state anxiety, depression in 795 young Greek military conscripts. State anxiety was related to better predictive pursuit performance (increase in residual pursuit gain), while disorganized schizotypy was related to deficient predictive pursuit performance (decreased residual gain). This effect was independent of the effect of disorganized schizotypy on other oculomotor functions supporting the hypothesis that predictive pursuit might be specifically affected in schizophrenia spectrum disorders and could be considered as a distinct oculomotor endophenotype.Experimental Brain Research 12/2011; 215(3-4):219-26. DOI:10.1007/s00221-011-2888-4 · 2.17 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Measures of eye movement dysfunction have been considered as candidate endophenotypes for the study of genetic liability in schizophrenia. In this respect it is crucial to confirm a clinical state independentce of these measures. Twenty people with DSM-IV schizophrenia were assessed using a battery of oculomotor tasks in the acute phase of their disorder without being treated with antipsychotic medication and then again in the remission phase under treatment with antipsychotic medication. The saccade latency in the saccade task, the error rate and antisaccade latency in the antisaccade task, and the frequency of unwanted saccades in the active fixation task were stable in time both at the group level and within each individual, showing no relation to the significant improvement in different psychopathological dimensions of these patients. The root mean square error, gain and saccade frequency in the pursuit task were not stable over time, although again this instability was not related to the changes in psychopathological status of these patients. Finally, the saccade frequency in the active fixation task with distracters was not stable in time and was correlated with changes in specific dimensions of psychopathology. These results provide further evidence that saccade and smooth eye pursuit dysfunction measures are not affected by the substantial change in the clinical state of schizophrenia from the acute phase to remission, and strengthen the current view that they can be used as endophenotypes. On the other hand, active fixation might be state-dependent adding to the evidence against its use as a candidate endophenotype in schizophrenia.European Psychiatry 11/2008; 24(1):17-26. DOI:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2008.08.003 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia has been associated with deficits in visual perception and processing, but there is little information about their temporal development and stability. We assessed visual form perception using the Rorschach Comprehensive System (RCS) in 23 individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis, 15 individuals with recent onset schizophrenia (< or =2 years since onset), and 34 with chronic schizophrenia (> or =3 years since onset). All three groups demonstrated reduced conventional form perception (X+%), as compared with published norms, but did not differ significantly from one another. In contrast, the high-risk group had significantly better performance on an index of clarity of conceptual thinking (WSUM6) compared to the chronic schizophrenia patients, with the recent onset group scoring intermediate to the high-risk and chronic schizophrenia groups. The results suggest that individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis display substantial deficits in visual form perception prior to the onset of psychosis and that these deficits are comparable in severity to those observed in individuals with schizophrenia. Therefore, visual form perception deficits may constitute a trait-like risk factor for psychosis in high-risk individuals and may potentially serve as an endophenotype of risk for development of psychosis. Clarity of conceptual thinking was relatively preserved among high-risk patients, consistent with a relationship to disease expression, not risk. These deficits are discussed in the context of the putative neurobiological underpinnings of visual deficits and the developmental pathophysiology of psychosis in schizophrenia.Schizophrenia Research 01/2008; 97(1-3):25-34. DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2007.08.022 · 4.43 Impact Factor