Alzheimer's could be detected by eye movements

Alzheimer's disease could be detected earlier using eye movement tests, researchers from Lancaster University believe.

Alzheimer's: eye movement test can help detect disease
Alzheimer's: eye movement test can help detect disease

Dr Trevor Crawford and colleagues from Lancaster University’s centre for aging research examined errors in the ‘gap-overlap paradigm’ eye-tracking task.

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.’

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