They examined performance on the task by 18 people with probable Alzheimer’s disease, 25 people with Parkinson’s disease and 35 healthy people, of whom 17 were young people and 18 older people.
The researchers found that people with probable Alzheimer’s disease were more likely to make uncorrected errors when moving eyes away from visual stimuli.
Dr Crawford and his team said the findings suggested that people with Alzheimer’s disease ‘have great difficulty in generating a corrective eye movement, after the eyes have automatically moved in the wrong direction’. They said the errors were strongly correlated with individual’s degree of impairment to spatial working memory.
They concluded: ‘These findings have potentially important implications in terms of expanding the future options for the early detection and monitoring of people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.’