Specific saccade deficits in patients with Alzheimer’s disease at mild to moderate stage and in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment
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Saccadic impairment in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was found in horizontal saccades. The present study extends investigation to vertical saccades in a large number of subjects, including AD and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). We examined both horizontal and vertical saccades in 30 healthy elderly, 18 aMCI, and 25 AD. Two tasks were used: gap (fixation target extinguishes prior to target onset) and overlap (fixation stays on after target onset). Eye movements were recorded with the Eyeseecam system. (1) Robust gap effect (shorter latencies in gap than in overlap) exists for AD and aMCI patients as for healthy elderly; (2) abnormal long latency of saccades in gap and overlap tasks for AD relative to healthy elderly and aMCI patients; (3) longer latency for aMCI patients than for healthy elderly for the overlap task; (4) significant correlation between scores of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and latencies of saccades considering the AD group only; (5) higher coefficient of variation in latency for AD patients than for healthy elderly and for aMCI patients; (6) variability of accuracy and speed is abnormally higher in AD patients than in aMCI and healthy elderly. Abnormalities of latency and latency–accuracy–speed variability reflect deficits of cerebral areas involved in the triggering and execution of saccades; latency of saccades can be used as follow-up test for aMCI and AD patients with its significant correlation with the changes of MMSE scores.
KeywordsAlzheimer’s disease aMCI Saccades Gap Overlap Variability
Experimental design and methods were conceived and developed by the IRIS group (Z Kapoula); support by the PICS CNRS (no: 4197). Case recruitment was supported by grant from China Ministry of Science and Technology (no: 2009BAI77B03).
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