Visual fixation and smooth pursuit eye movement abnormalities in schizophrenics and their relatives
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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