Abnormal-pursuit eye movements in schizophrenia. Evidence for a genetic indicator.

Archives of General Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 13.75). 08/1977; 34(7):802-5.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Disordered smooth-pursuit eye movements occur in a high percentage of schizophrenic patients and their first-degree relatives. A Test of the hypothesis that these disorders represent a genetic indicator of schizophrenia was undertaken by testing pursuit eye movements in a sample of monozygotic and dizygotic twins discordant for clinical schizophrenia. Deviant eye tracking is significantly concordant within monozygotic twin pairs, and less so with dizygotic twin pairs discordant for schizophrenia. A genetic interpretation is consistent with these results.

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    ABSTRACT: Eye tracking dysfunction (ETD) is one of the most widely replicated behavioral deficits in schizophrenia and is over-represented in clinically unaffected first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients. Here, we provide an overview of research relevant to the characterization and pathophysiology of this impairment. Deficits are most robust in the maintenance phase of pursuit, particularly during the tracking of predictable target movement. Impairments are also found in pursuit initiation and correlate with performance on tests of motion processing, implicating early sensory processing of motion signals. Taken together, the evidence suggests that ETD involves higher-order structures, including the frontal eye fields, which adjust the gain of the pursuit response to visual and anticipated target movement, as well as early parts of the pursuit pathway, including motion areas (the middle temporal area and the adjacent medial superior temporal area). Broader application of localizing behavioral paradigms in patient and family studies would be advantageous for refining the eye tracking phenotype for genetic studies.
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